Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
There is always a price to pay for everything we desire in life. This is the mind-set of the wealthy, and they are always ready to pay the price for what they want. Even in receiving from God, we have a part to play in terms of prayers, praises/thanksgiving and steady confessions of faith concerning the petitions we present before God. But the poor mind-set loves free things, and yet nothing is free in life. Though we go through lots of troubles in this life, we know that there is a greater glory ahead waiting for us, if we do not deny the faith or curse God in our hearts (Matthew 16:24-25, Hebrews 12:1-2, Romans 8:18).
The Rivers We Must Cross For Christ
In our daily walk as Christians, there are basically seven rivers we must cross for the sake of Christ. The Lord expects us to be steadfast in each of these phases, not with murmuring, but with supplications and thanksgiving knowing that He who hath called us is able to deliver and to save. The end purpose of these phases is to make us true sons indeed, full of faith, grace, wisdom and knowledge of the ways of God and worthy to receive the price set before us.
- The valley of the shadow of death: The earth itself is the valley of the shadow of death, and we walk daily in it in the midst of the evils, perils and afflictions. But in all these, we are more than conquerors. The Lord expects us to trust in His faithfulness like David (Psalm 24:3).
- The valley of decision: We live in a realm of no mercy where the elements show no pity/mercy to anyone. He that breaketh a hedge here is instantly bitten by a serpent without pity. Its only heaven that shows us mercy. It is in this valley that we decide whether to serve and follow God or to deny Him. The Lord expects us to stand firm on His side and devote all we have unto His kingdom (Joel 3:14).
- Through mountains and hills: These are the hurdles, obstacles, hindrances, calamities and problems of life that we experience in our daily lives, but we know they shall surely come and go. The Lord expects us to use the power He deposited in our mouths to issue the scripture at those obstacles, and to keep speaking until the mountain and hills are levelled before us. (Psalm 8:2, 2nd Corinthians 4:8-18).
- Through fire and water: Fire and water are the ups and downs that we experience in life, both the favourable and unpalatable tides of life. The Lord expects us to build our faith in Him during these times, even when it seems the answers aren’t coming as quickly as we anticipated. He will surely bring us out into a wealthy place of rest, peace and plenty (Psalm 66:12).
- Through the elements, the ancient gates and the everlasting doors: These are the wicked spirits on the earth who take pleasure in making men (especially the saints of God) to suffer. They are present in any facets of life (business, marriage, ministry, health, education, etc.), ready to destroy our works but God has ordained us above them. They are the spirits behind: poverty, sickness, failure, disease, delays, disappointments, curses, spells, limitations, etc. In spiritual language, gates mean spirits, and the Lord expects us to subdue these powers and have dominion over them; we are not to appease them but to break them down and bring them under total subjugation, so that we can become true sons of God shining as light unto the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).
- Through the apostate angels: The apostate angels are the angels that fell with Lucifer and have succeeded in polluting the earth with very much evil. They existed before man was created (they include the principalities, powers, gods and goddesses of the earth), but after the fall of man, they entered into the earth to wreck terrible havoc through the operation of demonic spirit (monitoring spirits, servient spirits and familiar spirits). They are part of the cloud of witnesses and are always ready to withstand the people of God in their journey of life, but God expects us to use the weapons of our warfare to bring down their strongholds and break their yokes and bondages (Ephesians 6:12-13, 2nd Corinthians 10:4-6). We are not to worship them or appease them.
- Through the hands of wicked/evil men: There are men who have sold their souls to the devil to be used as instruments or agents of darkness against the people of God. Their work is to execute the agenda of the devil in the physical realm while the devil promises them fame and wealth. They oppose the truth about God, the gospel, the work of God, the Bible and spread lies and confusion about the kingdom of God in order to deceive and destroy mankind. The Lord expects us to break them with a rod of iron (the word of God) and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel with the instruments of death. They opposed Paul in many places and even tortured and martyred the apostles, but in our time, using the knowledge of the ordinances of heaven, we are to pass judgement of death and destruction upon them according to Psalm 109 because they have refused to repent (Psalm 7:9-16).
These rivers can come in various phases and dimensions at any point in time in our lives, so we are to live our lives knowing that no matter what we face, God is involved and always by our side. There could be a time when we are embattled by all the seven rivers at the same time; it is the time of purification and testing of faith in Christ. At this point, our only salvation is the word of testimony which is the word of God in our mouths.
The Price for the Crown
- Acquire knowledge: You are to be the best in whatever you do. You have to advance to the level of receiving inspiration for invention from the spirit realm (Job 32:8). Also, spiritual knowledge is of great value in our lives. You need the knowledge of the ordinances of heaven to excel and have dominion over the components of the seven rivers (Job 38:33).
- Determination and Vision: You are to have a clear idea of where your life is focused. That is, you must know your destiny and be focused on working towards the will of God for your life. This clarity will help you surmount all the challenges that come up along the line (Proverbs 29:18).
- Live a life full of sacrifice: Having an open hand and a charitable heart is a great tool for clearing our way from the spiritual obstacles we face in life (Hebrews 13:16).
- Self-Discipline: Living a disciplined life can help you keep yourself in check and in line with what you are supposed to be doing at the right time, no matter how unpleasant it may be (Romans 13:14).
- Endurance: A life of patience is of great value in our lives, especially when we are passing through the rivers of life (Romans 12:12).
- Diligence and Hardwork: Whatsoever God hath put in your hands, use it wisely to yield fruit and succeed (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
There is always a story to accompany every glory; this story can be favourable or unpalatable but as soldiers of Christ, we are to focus more on the price (the glory) placed ahead of us not considering the present situation or dwelling in the flesh. The devil would always want us to dwell in the things of the flesh and thereby deny God in times of trials and temptations, but we are not ignorant of the wiles of the devil and our victory is certain. Praise God!