By Jim Julien
This issue is one that affects every one of us. It determines if you are saved or lost. It determines if you grow in God or fall away. The issue can be summed up in one little word. This one word is greater than just a word; it represents everything that you will face in life. Before I tell you that word, let me tell you a story to illustrate my point.
Henry the Sweeper
There was a man named Henry who worked as the head floor sweeper for a tool and die shop. He was good at his job: tall, thin, strong and dedicated. There wasn’t anyone who loved to clean a shop like that guy. However, there was one thing that he needed to remember. He was a sweeper, making $10 an hour, but there were die makers that were a level above him. Henry’s cleaning job was important, but their job was more important. Eventually, there was something that started to drive Henry crazy. He used an old-fashioned scrubber that he pushed by hand, and had to fill up his five-gallon bucket and pour it over the entire floor. So, he didn’t like it when people walked through or drove through the water while he was sweeping. At first, he didn’t let it bother him. But it started to happen again, and again, and again. The problem was that it happened continually. One day, Henry couldn’t take it anymore. As one of the die makers drove over his floors again, Henry ran up to him, reared back his fist, and hit him. He was not upset that it happened just once; it was that it happened again and again. That is our key word: again. Oftentimes it is not the initial situation that causes problems in our life, but when these things happen over and over.
Your life is full of again situations. How you handle these will determine if you make it to the end. I want to be able to say that I stuck it out until the end. Those who endure until the end are the ones who will be saved. What you do in these times will determine how your life goes. It isn’t when temptation comes, but when it comes again. It’s not when the trouble comes, but when the trouble comes again. It’s when the same issues crop up again. There are people who have lost their way with God because they forgot how to handle the again situations. We’ve got to be ready and willing to stand until the end with Jesus. Life is challenging, but with God’s Spirit and the power of His Word, you and I are able to make it until the end. What do you do when your prayer life disappears? When the fears that haunt you come back again? You deal with these things until you conquer them. Sometimes, God may want you to learn a lesson. A situation can change when you seek God and do something different in that situation. See, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Sometimes you need to change your life in these again moments.
When the Enemy Comes Again
In 2 Samuel chapter five, David had gotten a word from the Lord and smote the enemy. In verse 22, we see that the battle isn’t over. The Bible says that the Philistines came yet again. It may seem like you have been in a war, but it’s just one battle. Your life will be a series of battles, but you have to decide that no matter how much you fight, you will fight and believe again. I knew a young man once who had a powerful walk with God. He acted like the battle was over and that he had beaten the devil once and for all. I tried to warn him that he may have dealt with one battle, but the war isn’t over. You see, the devil doesn’t die with old age. The spirits that you have faced are not the strongest out there, and you will never get to a new level without a new devil. You will have to fight during your climb up with God. I warned this young man to humble himself, but he didn’t listen. Within two weeks, he went from revival to ruin. There are going to be battles, trials and bigger devils. This may not seem encouraging, but we’re living in the end times and need to get this right, right now. It doesn’t matter how many battles you face; what matters is how much fight is left in you. I plan on fighting the good fight of faith! Life is about overcoming, persevering, getting back up, loving God, and seeking God again. For example, what will you do if God doesn’t heal you? Worst case scenario is that there will be a day when you are old and facing sickness, but someday you will get a new body. Life isn’t always about winning in this life; sometimes our greatest victory is over there. So make sure that you’re interested in God in the here and now, or you won’t ever make it over there.
1 Peter 4:12 tells us not to “think it strange” when things like this come against us. This is how some saved people end up lost. People are okay with the first battle, but not the next battle and the next one. Sometimes, the battles we face may honestly begin to get old. You may think, “God, do I really have to face this again?” But you must learn the lesson, fight and endure. What else is your option? Sometimes people just implode, like Henry did, and they walk away from God. It’s the again moments that challenge us every day. What about the besetting sins? When you fall, get back up and keep doing it again. Some people fall down and then give up on God. But the Bible says, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: for when I fall, I shall arise…” You need to get back up every time you fall! You see, it’s not about how many times you fall, but it’s your job to get back up one more time than you fall.
Once, there was a lady who got mad at God and didn’t want to get up again, so she prayed that the devil would live inside of her, and he did. One night, a preacher was praying over her and asked why the demon was doing this to her. The demon stated that demons hate the human race because they have a second chance. When the angels that followed Satan were cast out of Heaven, they were then made into evil spirits. These spirits never had an opportunity to repent and can’t stand that we get a second chance. The blood of Jesus cleanses us, and He will forgive us every time we get back up. Life will fight you but pray again, get up again, resurrect your faith again, dream again!
Relationship Versus Revival
We have a responsibility to seek the Lord. What would have happened if David tried to fight every battle the same way? It wouldn’t have worked. Instead, he learned to seek the Lord and inquire of Him again. Acts 17 says that God created us for one purpose: to seek the Lord. He did His part when He came and died on the cross for us; now it is up to us to say, “Here I am Lord, again.” If you want to be saved, it’s about how you handle the again situations. There is no shortcut in a relationship with God. Sometimes, we look for someone to bring us a revival. Once, there was group of people who followed (Evangelist) Lee Stoneking around. They thought they could make it as long as they could hear him preach. Revival is not the same as relationship. What happened to prayer? What happened to God’s purpose for your life? When the veil was torn, that signified something. In Apostolic vernacular, that means we don’t have to wait for the preacher to talk to God. You can go straight to Him yourself. Life will throw you off course again and again. You need a relationship with God to make it through. People have tried to chase after conferences and revival churches, and you know what happened to them? They lost their soul. The real answer isn’t revival but a bent knee to God and a relationship with Him. The greatest revival you will ever experience is in a relationship with God.
I learned my greatest lesson when I was 16 years old in a struggling church. Our group of young people decided that we were going to get up and worship no matter what. Then God started to deal with me, and I realized that this is more than just what I feel on a Sunday. You can have this every day if you can get the daily walk right; you need to hit your knees daily. 2 Kings 13 tells us that you can’t get your victory with a halfhearted effort. Maybe you have put your relationship with God on hold, but the will of the Lord is for you to go again.
Is there something you need to pick up again? Do you need to dream again, worship again, have a prayer life again? The enemy is going to keep challenging you, and the only way that you and I can survive and thrive is to have an again spirit. I’m going to get up again, try again, believe again, and go after it one more time. Do you know we serve an again God? What happened to Samson? He gave Delilah the secret to his strength because he loved her more than the blessing of God. Despite that mistake, the Bible says that his hair began to grow again. There was something that triggered in the mind of Samson — “God, I messed up bigger than life. But give me one more opportunity, Lord, and I will honor you.” So he defeated more in the moment of his death than in his entire life because he went to God again. Do you have some things in your life that you need to allow God to awaken again? Never let the “again moments” keep you from your relationship with God.
James and Rachelle Julien served the Bible church under the leadership of the late Bishop Tom Simison for 17 years before accepting the position of senior pastor in June 2010. They met at Indiana Bible College and were married in 1993. In the spring of that year, they began serving the Bible Church as assistant pastor and soon thereafter celebrated their graduations from IBC. They have four wonderful children who love God and are striving to find their place in His kingdom.