Next Level Living

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The late men’s ministry leader Ed Cole, once said, “Life is lived on levels and arrived at in stages.” What does that mean? It means that you are always to be moving forward, living on a higher level as you arrive at another stage in life. Today, I’m going to give you three things that will help you practice what I call, “next level living.”

1. Encourage yourself in the Lord. We all need encouragement. The best kind of encouragement is SELF-ENCOURAGEMENT! There was time when David was discouraged and facing great distress as a king and military leader of his army. So, the Bible says, “…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6, KJV) The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what he said to himself, but we can speculate that he said something like, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” or he may have said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In spite of this setback, I’m still a fearless and conquering king.” Whatever he may have said to encourage himself, strengthened him and protected him from the voices of condemnation and hopelessness. In the same way, when you encounter hindrances and hurdles, you must encourage yourself in the Lord. Tell yourself, “The Lord is my helper. What can man do to me?” or “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Personally, when I’m encouraging myself, I love to say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” I also love to say, “I’m blessed coming in and I’m blessed going out. No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” I’ll close with this quote from Stephanie Lahart, “Encourage yourself, believe in yourself, love yourself and never doubt who you are.”

2. Exalt the Lord. King David said, “You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.” (Psalm 118:28) David lived life on another level than the other kings of his day because he was a man who exalted the Lord. He gave credit to God for making Him great. His life of praise and worship towards the true and living God put him in a place of great power, wealth and influence. If you want to live life on the next level, you must also be one who exalts the Lord. He is the Lord of the breakthrough and you will advance to the next stage of life with a grateful heart and a mouth filled with praise.

3. Expect good things. The same King David who exalted the Lord and encouraged himself in the Lord, also expected to see God’s goodness played out in his life. In Psalm 27:13, David says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Some believe that David wrote this psalm when he was on the run from King Saul who was trying to kill him. David is saying had I not expected God to deliver me from the hand of Saul and bring me into my rightful inheritance as the king of Israel, I would have given up. But thank God, he didn’t give up. He rose up from the ashes of despair and trusted God. As spiritual sons and daughters of David, we must do the same thing. We must continue to expect to see God’s goodness at work in our lives. We must trust God to bring His promises to pass in our lives. As the scripture says, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5)

Maurice Johnson