One night at the beginning of this month, I prayed and asked God to give me a verse for 2021. In my mind’s eye I saw “Joshua 23:8,” so I looked it up and read, “Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God, as you have until now.”
A few weeks later during a Saturday morning Zoom prayer meeting, I prayed and asked God to give me a verse, and again, I saw a mental picture that read, “Psalms 63:8.” I looked it up and read, “I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”
Hmmm. There’s that cling word again. Could it be a harbinger of more intense days ahead?. What was the Lord trying to tell me about 2021?
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word cling, mental images appear like Jane hanging onto Tarzan for dear life as he swings his way through the jungle. Or a child wrapped around a parent’s leg with all four limbs, desperate not to be left at school on the first day of preschool. Or skydiver as they open their parachute and cling to the ropes. I see a shipwrecked survivor clinging to his life raft.
Clinging implies emotion following a serious incident. Perhaps life-threatening situations generating a very real sense of dependence and need. In my spirit, Jesus seemed to be whispering, “cling ONLY to ME.”
You Cling to What?
We hold on to many things, some things we shouldn’t. We might cling to that job or that person, an addiction, or a justification for the bitterness we hold inside because of an injustice. Many people cling to comfort and security. Others to a sense of moral superiority and self-righteous indignation for the direction this world is headed.
It happens easily when we take our eyes off of God’s “strong right hand.” It’s easier to keep returning instead to our expectations of how things SHOULD be instead of resting in the power, sovereignty and goodness of God in every circumstance.
Clinging to God Is Better Than Letting Something Cling to You
I was reminded in a recent sermon by Kris Vallatton of the third Spiderman movie, Venom. In this film, Peter (Spiderman) allows bitterness over his uncle’s death to creep into his heart. A black gooey substance attacks his body as he sleeps, covering him with a new, black suit. He becomes someone he never expected with heightened superpowers, but from the dark side. He enjoys his new sense of power which is driven by revenge and pure evil. Later in the movie, after hearing church bells ring and looking at the steeple cross, he realizes what has happened and he makes his way inside the church to rid himself of the black suit.
Meanwhile, a man is inside the church praying. He looks up at the crucifix and asks Jesus to kill Peter (Spiderman character) because he’d been fired and humiliated at the newspaper job after Peter exposed his photoshopped photographs. Peter is up in the steeple ridding himself from the black suit when a piece of goo falls onto the bitter co-worker and finally totally consumes him. Just like a demon that seeks another habitat after being expelled from someone’s body, the black goo possesses another man who immediately attacks and tries to kill Peter.
View a YouTube video clip of this scene HERE.
The nature of the black suit in Venom progressively moves onto the person with fingerlike tentacles, even penetrating the inside of the nose and mouth, consuming them also on the inside, changing their appearance and personality.
What a prophetic movie! When we allow hatred to fester, the enemy comes while we sleep and clings to us with demonic vengeance. We are unaware at first, but it becomes obvious to others. Peter’s girlfriend exclaimed, “What happened to you?” We forget what is written in Romans 12:19, Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
I believe the “church bells” of God’s prophetic Spirit are ringing loudly, calling us back to pure hearts of devotion to Him. As we begin 2021 (post-elections, post-2020 Covid confusion, etc.) the question needs to be asked of some of us, “What happened to you?”
I believe the Spirit of the Lord is asking just one thing of us in these days. When someone is clinging to lifesaver ring with waves crashing all around them, they need to just do one thing. Hold on. They will be saved if they hold on to that rescue buoy. No need to swim. Someone will pull you in.
While praying, I saw an image of someone wasting precious energy by holding onto the life ring with one arm while using the other arm to swim in a different direction. With one arm they held tightly to the ring, yet their eyes were in a totally different direction. They struggled to go after other things that were not meant for them. They had not spent time with the Lord to hear where He wanted to take them. They were seduced by the world, and captivated more by fame / promise of wealth and other false promises of this world than they were by their Loving Rescuer.
This is a time of testing. In the days of Noah when the floodwaters came, his family climbed inside the ark against all logic. They were asked to do one thing that day. Get on board or die. Many are moving toward spiritual death in this season because they have not learned to trust the Lord and seek Him first in these days of testing, trials and even spiritual attack.
The Benefits of Clinging
Why is the answer so simple in theory, but so difficult to realize?
The simple answer is:
To be still.
Turn off my devices.
Rest in His presence.
Shut my mouth.
Turn my spiritual eyes to His beautiful face.
Open my hands.
Receive his Holy Spirit for today.
Focus my mind on His Word.
Stop my negative self-talk.
Believe what He says about me.
Let Him love me, without having to perform.
Allow my heavenly Father to correct and discipline me.
Let Him be God.
Humble myself on the floor face-down with all the angels and saints who worship Him right now around His throne.
Give up trying to swim my own way.
Smile towards heaven as He pulls me into Himself.
Let myself be embraced in His strong arms.
Decide to love and trust Him for who He is.
No. Matter. What.
Finally, we will feel secure again in His love.
“I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”