In our time here on this earth, we face both the good times and the bad times. There will be times where things are stable and there will be times where things are rocky. What pulls us through these times is our close bond to the Most High and our faith in Him. It is our perseverance and fortitude which helps us move forward through the hard times. It is our patience and gratitude which helps us navigate and appreciate the good times. Hard times are often said to be used to teach us lessons and to make us learn from those lessons. In truth, life as a whole is meant to make us learn as we live on. We are supposed to learn from the good and bad times. Many people don’t learn the lessons that they’re meant to learn during the good times as complacency kicks in and they get lost in their own bliss. That is when the hard times happen for them and it forces them to focus on the lesson that they’re supposed to learn.

We bring this up because this life truthfully is a series of experiences and lessons that is supposed to mold us for the better. In this life, we are constantly developing as people every moment of every day; whether for better or worse. We hit stumbling blocks and low periods of our life. We surf the tides and hit high periods of our life. This life has its highs and lows. The thing is that we are often dispirited when we are at low points of our life because we see others surfing the tide in their own lives and accomplishing their goals at a quicker rate while we’re at the bottom. We often let the progress of others cause us to have a low self-esteem because of where we may be at in life. One of the big reasons why people in society today are so depressed and dissatisfied with life or just plain angry is because they live comparatively to the rest of the world. People like that fail to understand that they are not the only person in this world. There are 7 billion other people in this world. There are people who have just made their first million dollars today while there are others who have just went homeless today. There are people who have just married today while there are others who have just divorced today. There are people who have just hit a new milestone in their recovery from drinking and have been sober for a certain amount of time while there are others who have just relapsed today. There are mothers who have just given birth to their child while there are other mothers who have just lost their child today. All of these things are taking place in the same day. We are 7 billion people that are all at different points of this journey in life. It is fruitless to live comparatively because we are not living in the same conditions nor are we at the same position in life. We are all different in that case which is what makes us all unique. Our experiences and the lessons we learn or the things we pick up in this life along the way is what shapes us into who we are. We must be focused on what it is that we have to get done in our own lives because that is the only way that we will move forward. Looking at someone’s Instagram account and seeing them in Ibiza traveling and showing off their wealth is not going to do us any good. We are not going to somehow siphon that success and become entrepreneurs that are traveling the world in that instant. We are simply seeing their best presentation of their life for the world. They could be traveling in Ibiza showing off stacks of cash and new jewelry that they bought but they could be dealing with family issues, relationship issues, mental health issues, or even all three. People think that they’re so behind in life just because other people are traveling while they’re not. Again, as many people as there are traveling, there are just as many people in your boat working or simply living in their apartment or condo or home not doing anything extravagant. This is why it is so pointless to feel bad about that because there will always be other people that are at a point in their life that you aim to have for yourself. We are all in different boats and we have to focus on the path in which our boat is heading and the state of our boat. If we try too hard to get to where we want to be, we will burn out. Things must be left to manifest itself naturally. That is the healthiest way in which you will achieve your goals. We must always exercise patience because that is the only way we will make it. So many people destroy themselves because they’re too focused on what other people are doing or what moves they’re making. When you are looking in the opposite direction of where you’re going, you will steer off the road and crash. We must keep our eyes on the road and focus on navigating it properly so that we can actually make it to our destination.

When we do not focus on ourselves and stay too focused on other people and things which truly do not matter in the long run, we end up paying for it in the end by forfeiting our favor with the Most High. People let envy and jealousy consume their hearts and they end up becoming a vessel for spirits to attack others and be a force of chaos. All of this because they didn’t take the time to step back and simply evaluate the reality that they’re in a different boat than everyone else and that not every single person is racing ahead while they’re stuck behind. Most of the time, when we are busy beating ourselves up over certain goals we haven’t met yet, there are millions of people out there who are far worse off than we are. That is not talking about merely their living situation but it is more so about their mindset, their discipline, their character, and their sense of direction in life. So we need to take a step back every now and then and understand that not everything is meant to happen now and that in due time things will be in order as long as we continue doing our part in working towards our goals. When we keep looking off into the distance at the pace in which other people are moving at, we end up crashing.

This brings us to our main point. We need to keep our eyes on the road until we make it to our destination. Our state of completion is not achieved until our judgment. We cannot get to the point where we just say that we’re ready for this and that when time comes or that we’re never going to slip up in this spiritual journey and make mistakes. We cannot have our head in the clouds and be disingenuous about where we’re at in this journey. When we think that we can do no wrong and we’re doing everything right, that makes us delusional and that will set us up for imminent failure when we’re placed in a situation to where we really have to prove ourselves to the Most High. We must be humble and admit to what we’re doing wrong and where we have to improve. It is difficult for many of us who are prideful and are unwilling to admit that we’re not on top of everything but we will thank ourselves in the end for it once we actually are in the best shape because we worked on our flaws. However, if we continue to be delusional and just sit back and think that everything will figure itself out when the time comes, we will suffer. We have to be honest and continue to work on ourselves spiritually, mentally, and physically to be the best we can possibly be as servants of the Most High and to be prepared for these last days whenever we are tested. Just because we are at this point to where we read scriptures or know some level of truth, it doesn’t make us bulletproof by any means. We must keep improving and working to be the best that we can be. We cannot declare ourselves victors when we haven’t crossed the finish line yet. No matter where we’re at in the moment and where we need to improve or work on, it is not the end. It is better for us to work on ourselves now than to just fill up our minds with bluster and we end up folding in the end because we didn’t do what we were supposed to in putting in the effort to build up our mind and our spirit. Sometimes, we pretend that we’re on top of things because if we admit that we’re not doing enough or are not at that level just yet, we end up believing that there’s no hope for us and that there’s no time to work on ourselves because of all the time that has passed. The thing is that this couldn’t be more false. There is always time to improve and to do the right thing that is needed for us to thrive in this journey. Putting our best foot forward before our test comes is better than us resting on our laurels and not doing anything.

There is a great saying that goes along with this entire theme and that is, “it is not how you start but it is how you finish.” We have to stick through and stay the course until the very end. We must keep working on ourselves to be the strongest individuals we can be. Some of us will have the mindset that we will never give in if we are tested in these last days and that we will never lose our way. However, if we do not earnestly evaluate ourselves and maintain honesty with ourselves and our spiritual and mental state, we let ourselves become vulnerable to that moment when it comes. Things that happen in the moment occur very fast; often too fast for us to evaluate what is happening and to process it in the most logical manner. We let our emotions of worry and fear in the moment overpower us. We can only remain in the spirit during a moment which tests our faith if we have trained ourselves mentally and spiritually in addition to the refinement we go through. That is the purpose of refinement which is to strengthen us and mold us to be strong enough to withstand the greatest challenges in life when our faith is tested.

A prime example of this in the scriptures where we may lose our way in the end despite our initial belief in ourselves that we won’t slip up is Peter in the book of Matthew when he affirmed to Christ that he would never deny him after Christ told Peter that he would deny him three times in Matthew Chapter 26:31-35. Peter was adamant that he would never deny him in verse 35 when he replied,

35: Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Unfortunately, we know that Peter would indeed deny the Messiah three times as was prophesied which we see in Matthew 26:69-74. Then in verse 75, Peter realizes that Christ’s prophecy had been fulfilled as the cock crew and that he had denied him three times which caused him to weep.

The lesson we can learn from this is that we are not to be so assured of ourselves that we will indeed stand up to the test during the tribulation when we have not trained our mind and our spirit to truly practice faith and have unwavering loyalty to the Most High and His Son. Not everyone is resilient to pressure or confrontation or are able to put others aside for the sake of their spiritual walk. We all have things we need to work on and we can do that by imagining ourselves in certain situations like us being persecuted or having our faith put to the test by someone saying you must deny Christ to live or you will die and envisioning ourselves resisting and sticking by our faith even through our death. We can imagine ourselves being pressured by our closest family members to listen to what the authorities say to spare our lives and to be safe and us saying no and resisting. We can imagine ourselves taking our children and protecting them when things get heavy and being calm and strong in those moments. Imagination can be a powerful tool to get rid of fears, phobias, anxieties, and traumas as we are putting ourselves in that situation again and again in our minds and doing what we know is the right thing. That with prayer can go long ways to building our faith to where we’re resilient to fear in the times of tribulation. This is especially needed for those who might not usually face physical confrontation in their lives as that can be overwhelming for someone who is not used to it. As the scriptures says though in Matthew 17:20, faith can move mountains. Our prayer is our nuclear weapon in this spiritual warfare against our enemies. Our prayer will not work however if we do not believe in our prayer and in the power of the Most High.

Getting back to Peter, it is crucial for us to not lose objectivity when it comes to evaluating ourselves. We have to take the necessary steps to do the best we can to prepare our hearts and our spirit when the time comes to where our faith faces its ultimate test. If we just continue to fill up our head with a false sense of confidence, we will fold up in the end. We must remain humble and willing to admit that we’re lacking in certain areas. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are not where you need to be because we do not become the best version of ourselves overnight. We are all a work in progress. We still need to practice what we preach and put in our best foot forward in regards to improving our mind, body, and spirit.

Completion is only achieved through our judgment. We are only guaranteed a spot in the kingdom once the Lord affirms our worthiness to enter upon our judgment. Peter thought the whole time that he was going to be the one at Yahweh’s side but he ended up distancing himself in the end. Peter had an incredible journey from the beginning as he was a holy and honorable man of the Lord but he ultimately fell short in the end because of his denial. Again, it is not how you start this journey but it is how you finish. When we keep this in mind, it should galvanize us to continue working on ourselves to be war-ready when the time comes. We must do this because as human beings, we shift and change constantly. What we say one day may not be what we practice the next day. It is because of our unstable and shifting spirit as humans that we have to lean onto the Most High and to continue to pray for strength, resilience, courage, bravery, and for the full armor of Yahweh in the face of our enemies and that the weakness of the heart may be supplanted by the strength of the Holy Spirit. The stronger our bound is built with the Most High and His Son, the better off we’ll be leading up to the times of tribulation and when that time comes.

In closing, nothing is a guarantee in this life except The Most High. We cannot become blinded by false confidence and fail to stay on course to make it past the finish line. It is not a guarantee that either one of us will make it because we do not know what is in store for us in the next day, month, year or even hour. Even Moses slipped up in Numbers 20:11 when he struck the rock with his staff when the Most High commanded him to speak to the rock and he was punished for it by not being able to see the promised land of Israel. This should call us to exert more control over our emotions because it is our emotions which will ultimately cause us to cancel out our faith if we let it go awry. Moses did not practice proper control over his emotions and he paid for it by not being able to see the promised land of his people. Peter paid for his denial through the shame and remorse that filled his heart in his last days. We must be grounded and honest with ourselves in our flaws and what we need to work on. It is okay to admit that we’re not the strongest or most resilient people out there. It is not even a matter of physical strength but it is more so of spiritual strength and mental fortitude and control over our emotions in the most serious situations which we face that will propel us past the finish line without blemish. It is only until we breathe our last breath in this realm and pass on to our judgment that we have an affirmed position with the Lord. Our crown can be lost at any moment leading up to our death. This is why we must stay humble and not get too ahead of ourselves because we will pay for it in the end if we are not diligent. It is upon us to make that change and to affirm our stance with the Lord by making it to the finish line and keeping our favor intact. Until our judgment has passed, we are not complete. We must continue to work.