I have been struggling for the past few weeks. I’ve been struggling personally, professionally, financially, mentally and most of all, spiritually.
I had lunch a few days ago with two close friends, Pastor Jeff and Pastor Ben. These men are solid, go to counsel for me and they were concerned. These men wanted to talk with me, listen to me, exhort me, and reassure me. What was truly fascinating about this conversation was when they pointed out something that I know, but hadn’t considered. This current state, the afflictions, they’re satan. It’s a spiritual assault.
Pastor Ben pointed out the victory in the Lord that the three of us shared just a few weeks ago. The victory was the Lord working a sermon out for me just a couple hours before I had to deliver it. It was amazing, and it had an impact. Days later, the onslaught began.
Pastor Ben pointed to a passage in Luke 22, in which Jesus addresses Simon Peter and tells him of his impending denial of Jesus and their (the disciples) loss of heart and personal torment.
Luke 22:28-30 (NASB) You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Before Jesus tells of the anguish, He proclaims this to them, (sic) “I’m giving you a kingdom. We will live, eat, drink and judge along side one another.” What a spiritual high! These men, with Jesus at the Last Supper, have just been told by the Son of God, you will be with me, side by side for eternity! It doesn’t get much higher than that, does it?
Luke 22:31,32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Then Jesus drops this on Simon Peter, (sic) “satan asked to shake you to your core, put the screws to you. But don’t worry, I prayed that your faith may not fail you and that you’ll return full of fire, vigor and serve as my ambassadors to your brethren of this world!” What? He didn’t say, “no way! I’ll never let you mess with them!” And… just as surely as the Lord lives, that very thing happened.
You see, God knew the condition of their hearts, the depth of their faith. He had a purpose that was best served by men who’s world had been rocked, their faith tested. Why? Because He knew through the midst of it, their endurance would be witnessed and God glorified. He knew that when they came out the other side, they would be challenged, bolder, stronger, more effectual in the work He had prepared for them to do.
Does God allow satan access to His children, yes… absolutely! Scripture shows us here in Jesus’ own words. He shows us the same in Job. Paul speaks of it For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
He does so, however, knowing that He has prepared us, or He would not allow satan to war against us. These spiritual battles so very often come on the heals of a spiritual high, a victory. That makes them the even more crushing. The stronger we grow in our faith, the more effectual the work that God is able to do through us, the greater satan’s desire to have at us. As we mature in our faith and we learn to recognize these attacks for what they are, satan’s attempt to render us ineffectual, to question God and the reason’s for our Hope and faith, we can glory in them. Glory? Yes, absolutely revel and glory in them! Shout from the rooftops, “thank you Lord for empowering me and trusting me to the point that you would allow satan the opportunity!” As He matures us and develops in us the ability to discern these attacks from the outset and utilize the tools He has equipped us with, satan is rendered impotent.
I want to thank God for sending Pastor Ben and Pastor Rabe to be the tools of my rescue from these attacks. Be watchful and vigilant. Remember, when you’re under attack by the “god of this world”, it merely means that God knows He’s prepared you to glorify Him in that battle! Have a blessed weekend.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,