THE ADVERSARY

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Ephesians 6:10-13

I’ve allowed that sneaky little devil to invade my mind once again! I cannot even tell you how it started or when it started. The Lord was moving me along in awesome speed, when all of sudden, I found myself feeling joyless and flat. My motivation to serve in a “godly” capacity was dwindling as each day went. I felt off and distracted. My focus was on earthly things instead of things above. I was struggling at home with mood and food and it started to come out at work.

I found myself murmuring and complaining to my coworkers. I didn’t feel that usual fulfillment and peace as I normally do when caring for others. I found it cumbersome, irritating and thankless. I felt taken advantage of by some of my residents. I just couldn’t please them. I took it personally. I wasn’t looking at their illnesses or disabilities. I was looking at myself. I was allowing negative feelings to crowd out what God had so graciously gifted me with.

I didn’t want to be there. I had thoughts of cutting my hours and maybe even looking for another job. I was searching the want ads and following a couple local senior communities that are due to open soon. Perhaps the grass would be greener on the other side. I could potentially make a little bit more money and if I did home-care, I could make my own hours. I was discontent and it was showing up in my words and in my actions.

I was trying to fill a void with a new job, a different set of hours, food, education and whatever else I could grasp that was readily available. Not only mentally deficient but also physically. I felt my body expanding, my clothes snug and my scrub pants constantly rolling down over the pot belly that the extra carbs had created. I was a mess! There was no thought to my actions. I was impulsive and greedy which led to exhaustion and lots of sleep. Only to wake up feeling a tremendous amount of guilt and shame because I’ve failed. I’ve failed God and I’ve failed me!

Isaiah 35:3,4 gives great reassurance:

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

This devious cycle is vicious and it is one that Satan uses to take me down. It hasn’t failed him yet! Each time he uses this against me, I find his attacks stronger and more difficult to get out of. My usual response to him is to yank the control back into my hands. I do this by planning for a day or two on how I’m going to gain victory over him. Meanwhile, the people around me are miserable because I’m miserable!

My defense is always a diet program. This has always been my fight. I am under the impression that I’m winning when I’m following a food plan, perfectly. I cancelled my Weight Watchers subscription several days ago. I found myself concentrating on the numbers way too much. They started to determine my day and sometimes the following day. I didn’t want this so now I’m thinking of what other plan I can implement in order to get the devil off my back! In all honesty, I cancelled because it made me feel guilty because I was constantly going over my  points. I didn’t want to be reminded! 

1 Peter 5:6-10 says this:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

I woke yesterday morning feeling heavy and shameful. Pizza and cookies the night before. Nothing outrageous but enough to send me to bed feeling miserable all over. I had many dreams but they were strange and disjointed. Nothing divine and inspirational. When I opened my eyes to a brand new day, I felt the same misery as I did before going to bed. I could have stopped it right there but I wasn’t privy to the wisdom that God blessed me with later in the day.

I listened to Charles Stanley, his radio message and his weekend message. In the back of my mind I was thinking french toast so my thoughts were not completely focused on what Charles was talking about. I was not motivated to get out of bed to take notes and I certainly wasn’t at my desk praying over his sermon nor reading God’s word.

I did end up having french toast and it was delicious. Homemade bread, lots of butter and syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar…my favorite!

I didn’t feel like writing nor having a quiet time but I did end up at my desk.

I love this scripture from Jeremiah 6:24. I relate to it perfectly in this moment!

We have heard the report of it;
Our hands fall helpless;
Anguish has taken hold of us,
Pain as of a woman in labor.

The ESV (English Standard Version) Bible says this when describing the above scripture:

Panic over the invading army will lead to physical helplessness like that of a woman in labor.

I was certainly feeling helpless and I can easily compare it to childbirth! Panic and no control over what was happening to my body. I just had to ride it out and it wasn’t pleasant. I am thankful for my daughter but bringing her into this world was frightening!

I found myself looking up “stronghold” in the Bible and I was looking for a definition. I ended up on a YouTube video and watched a four-minute message by Eric Mason, founding pastor of Epiphany Fellowship. He said that a stronghold is a pattern of wrong thinking; a mindset that hinders your growth.

Interesting! I need more!!

Creflo Dollar’s (founding pastor of World Changers Church International), “Secret to Victory in Spiritual Warfare” was up next. So I listened…

When I finished the message, my entire being had changed. I wasn’t depressed, I was hopeful. I didn’t feel heavy, I felt blessed and light. I felt saved and I was thankful that the Lord had intervened. I didn’t even ask for His saving grace. I was seeking and I wasn’t sure what it was that I was looking for. I did know that my relief would be in God but I wasn’t sure how it would be achieved. I just knew I had to look. I had faith that He was the only One that could change this foul mood that I was in.

Yes, I do believe that depression hits me from time to time. I do not take medication for it because I don’t believe it is something (at the moment) that needs to be treated. I’ve tried one in the past and I was not happy with it. It didn’t produce the effects that I would have liked. I took myself off and I’ve tried to cope in the only way that I know how when depression decides to rear its ugly head.

When I am feeling low in mood–this is Satan’s opportunity to invade. He plants all sorts of things into my mind, which is how his attacks always start. One thought and then all hell breaks loose. It’s the same pattern every single time!

I don’t have to listen to what Satan has to say. That is his goal. He wants me to look at him instead of at God. I know that Satan has lost. Our Lord and Savior is Victorious and as a believer I will rest eternally with Him. Satan will do what he can, while I am here on this earth to obliterate what God has put in me. He wants to take all the glory from God and use it to recruit other believers–to destroy us and the Good News that we share!  He does this by injecting his poison into our brains in the hopes of removing our faith and devotion to Jesus Christ. We have to take hold of Satan’s poison and turn it off as soon as it’s administered! We do this by getting with God. We are His children, He will rescue us from torment and He will save.

Creflo Dollar says that we need to rest in the Lord. That when we rest, the Lord works. When we are weak the Lord is strong.

Wait a minute!
Are you sure?
Rest?
How can that be?
I thought I had to work?

When I work, that takes the glory from God. Creflo says that there is work for me to do. I can’t just sit back with arms crossed. I have to cast out all thoughts that aren’t of God. I have to pray, praise and be thankful. I have to worship and read God’s word. This is my work. As far as taking care of Satan and His demons, the Lord will do that.

I honestly didn’t realize that I could just turn to God and He would do the rest. This makes me feel lazy and a good for nothing.

Let God do all the work?

The doors that I open for Satan need to be slammed shut!

When that first negative thought hits my mind, I need to rebuke it and give it God. Don’t listen to it. Don’t think about it. Don’t act on it. If I do, there is more to come. Quit grumbling and focusing on things that don’t come from God. Look ahead at what He has for you! Look at what He’s already done!!

We will make mistakes. We will take wrong turns. We will make decisions that aren’t in our best interest. We will fall into Satan’s traps. We aren’t alone in this war. Jesus didn’t go through such torment and pain for me to take control of things that are unseen. I don’t know how and I don’t have the strength. Jesus died to save us from hell, here on earth as well as eternally.

So when I rely on what I can do to take control back, then I’m eliminating God. When I’m working, there is no room for God to work. Let Him work. I need to remain peaceful and watch my actions. If a grumble starts to erupt…praise God. If there is complaining going on around me…praise God. If I’m complaining…praise God. If I’m low and depressed…praise God. I can be miserable and flat on my back and I can still seek God. He doesn’t expect a lengthy quiet time every morning.

He will use what we can give and when we can give more, do it!

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

***

Thank you Pastor Creflo Dollar for your message, “The Secret to Victory in Spiritual Warfare.”
Thank you Pastor Eric Mason for your message, “The Biblical Definition of Strongholds.”
Thank you Pastor Charles Stanley for always opening my heart to Jesus, first thing in the morning!

 

 

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