I'm reposting this blog post I made back in March of 2019. I don't remember what was going on exactly, but it was a time when I was very discouraged. It still rings true for today, and when I read it this morning, I thought it was very timely. I pray it encourages you.
Sometimes the Lord will bring a certain verse or passage into my life multiples times in just a short period of time. One day last year, I remember seeing one verse from Jeremiah THREE TIMES in about one hour's worth of time. He knew that it was a verse that I needed to see, as I was discouraged and in a bit of a spiritual rut. I wish I could remember the reference, but the gist of it was that He gives water to refresh thirsty souls. That happens to me more often than one would think. I always think that when this kind of thing happens, that is what the verse means, about the word of God is living and active.
Well, this week, I have had a conversation about the enemy several times, with several different people. I don't know if God wanted me to remember this, or if He was having me encourage them about our very real enemy, and I figure if I need this reminder, chances are someone else does as well. Not to be all doom and gloom on here, but this is something we all need to hear and be reminded of. The enemy is very real. Ephesians six talks about spiritual warfare, and how we need to be suited up in our heavenly armor to guard ourselves against the evil one. Genesis three describes him as the most cunning of all the wild animals during the days of Adam and Eve. He is no longer JUST a serpent, by the way.
First Peter 5:8 says this about him: Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.
I don't always think of him as a roaring lion, though. Sometimes I wonder if we can see him, and if we can, he probably looks like a normal person. But a very sneaky, crafty one. I doubt we can see him, but that's the way my mind works. Some things we know about him are that his days are numbered. I've read the bible through several times, and I know how it all turns out. Jesus wins. We also know that he cannot cause us to think things, and he does not know what we are thinking. Only God is omniscient, and knows our thoughts.
But. But, but, but. He knows when we are struggling, and he can certainly do what this picture above implies, and he can and will work during those times, making our struggles even more intense. He can work through people, and there is a verse in Ephesians that says, "Do not give the devil a foothold.", and I think that is what the verse means. He can work through me, if I let him get away with it, and he can work in or through other people. He can also keep us in our hard times. Meaning, if we are busy and running around like crazy and we neglect our time with the Lord each day, he can certainly keep us doing that. He can keep us busy, and he can keep us distracted. He also knows if we are sick and tired, and can somehow finagle us in consistently ignoring or neglecting bible study or quiet time or praying. He is smart, and he is excellent at his job.
We must keep our minds, and our eyes, fixed on Jesus, though. How can we do that? Remember who God is in our lives, and remember who the enemy is NOT. He is never greater or stronger than the power of God in us, and he will never be victorious. Never. The remedy to fighting him off is so simple, but can be so very difficult. It's prayer. In the Armor of God study by Priscilla Shirer, she suggests that another key component in our spiritual armor is prayer. Prayer activates all the other spiritual weapons. So pray! One thing I do when I remember, is to ask the Lord to help me know when the enemy is working. I'll give you an example.
I struggle with anxiety from time to time. I always seem to go to the worst place in my mind, if one of my boys are out driving and they won't answer the phone. If I hear sirens and they're out and not answering, you just about have to scrape me off the ceiling, I am so wound up. Or, let's say I send someone a text and they don't reply. My automatic thought is: what have I done? Are they mad at me? That is how my mind works! In my heart, sometimes, I will remember some passage of scripture I've read, about not worrying, or praying without ceasing, and it when that thought crosses my mind that I realize the enemy is at work. I never pray to the enemy, though, I thank God for showing me the enemy is at work, and I will say to the Lord, "Jesus, the enemy has NO POWER in my life." And miraculously, all those anxiety filled thoughts will disappear. They may come back later in the day, but I'll repeat that prayer, and I always try to pray some scripture, along the lines of, "Lord, greater are You that is in me, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
We are all flesh and blood, though, and as believers, as long as we are alive, we will have a battle. But our battle is not against flesh and blood, it's against evil spiritual forces in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12). Sometimes it'll be our own sinfulness and a battle over right and wrong. Sometimes we will fight our own laziness and lack of self control or motivation. The battle will always be there, in some shape or form. Just don't be idle. Come to church, if the enemy has been keeping you outside the doors, and have some like minded fellowship. Read the bible, if he has been keeping you sick or tired or distracted. Attend the bible study and force yourself to get out of the house, if he has been keeping you at home and alone. Whenever the enemy is at work the hardest, it is probably because he knows he is keeping us from a blessing from the Lord. He is after those of who belong to Jesus, more so than anyone else. He already has the unbelievers where he wants them, he is the prince of the world, Paul says in Ephesians 2:2, but he wants us as well. And I hate to say it, but sometimes he succeeds. I've seen him tearing up marriages and families lately. Don't be one of his statistics.
Submit to God in your everyday life. If you have a hard time doing that, ask Him to help you walk in submission to Him and His authority. I do that everyday when I pray, and He does always help me. I pray that, because as a believer, He is my Savior, and my Lord, and I revere (esteem, hold in high regard) Him for who He is, as those things I listed. I always want His will for my life, not my own. His ways are better than my ways, Isaiah tells us, and I believe that to be true. I am praying for you, if you're reading this. There's a reason the Lord had me write this today, I know that in my heart, and I pray God will use His word to encourage you.
Love to all.
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