Have you ever noticed that just when things start to go well, we seem to get smacked from behind with the force of a Peterbilt going well over 100 mph? And even then we're always taken by surprise--even though we're well aware of the patterns in life by now. And if you're a growing Christian, you've probably noticed "the surprise" just after some point of growth.
Lately, I've been having dreams that are less than rosy. They have on many days left me feeling punched in the face. As I tried desperately to put them out of my mind, I'd get thoughts of terrible things that only COULD happen, but haven't yet. So I prayed. I asked God to help me through what I knew to be an attack by Satan, because I am far too guilty of succumbing to Satan's pressure by giving up for a while simply because of attacks that mirror this one to a "T".
Just as I thought I was going to slide by easily this time, a situation arose between two people I love. I was keenly aware that I had be a source of light (for a change) instead of a source of discontentment. Each time I face a situation with this one family member, some of my hearts first pains begin to creep back in and discourage me. I begin to struggle with pain that I thought I'd buried from what I perceive to be my unworthiness. My pain of unworthiness stems from the things most girls get early on in life, yet I have lacked but craved all these years. My pains from this relationship, or lack thereof, have me looking inward at this point.
But He reminds me that I was made for more than just this.
I am aware that Satan is at work--trying to discourage me because he doesn't want me to grow. He wants me to be stale and he uses the same patterns over and over because they've worked thus far. He creates a battle in the mind for me based upon my weaknesses. Satan's been watching me my whole life to know my weaknesses and our strengths just as any spy for an army would do the opposition enemy. He has much more experience at battle than we do and because of that he studies us.
Let's face it, without Christ we don't stand a chance. As believers, we have the ultimate champion fighting on our behalf because we were made for more than this--we were made for victory. He's already given us His Holy Spirit for that very reason.
The Bible tells us to put on our spiritual armor in order to avoid being caught in Satan's snares. Let's face it, we underestimate Satan and his determination to paralyze us in our journey. Even though Satan is at work, he can only do so much to a believer. God is still in control and will only allow Satan to go so far. Far too often, Satan thinks he is winning over on us when what's really happening is that God is really using Satan to sift us--to make us better.
We need to see the gaps in our fortress walls. There is no more effective way to learn the importance of spiritual armor than to fall into the enemy's trap. God's intent is to show us the gaps in our fortress walls, whether they be from strongholds or ignorance, in order to help us grow. Strongholds are those things we just won't let go of, even if they aren't in alignment with God's word. He offers the lesson to help us to see the things in ourselves that need to change, but we have to be willing to do our part. First this means we have to acceptt the truth --because we have been given free will.
Yes, it's work. But what part of life isn't? And frankly I'm sick of living a meaningless life of doing things my way. It hasn't gotten me anywhere thus far. I am reminded that I was made for more than just this.
Many of us are guilty of overlooking ANY evil powers at work in our everyday life and even consider it taboo to blame Satan for anything. God tells us that there is indeed a battle between the prince of darkness and the Prince of Light. Satan is at work in our lives grasping at every opportunity to keep us from giving God the very glory He deserves. But remember, we still have free will and in that sense we have take some ownership for the decisions we make and the things we allow to reign in our minds and hearts. We were made for more than this.
My selfishness and stubbornness have only hindered my walk with the one true God. And He has allowed me to see that by allowing me to be broken by seemingly losing sometimes. If we don't see what's wrong with us, we won't change. Part of God's way of showing us the things that need to be removed is to allow us to fail. The hope is that--at some point we get tired of failing and do our part. We have to focus more, pray more and nose-up in His word if we want to be effective. His "tools" enable us to fight the good fight, and in turn He gets the glory--especially to those who know know us best because they know just how weak we'd be without Him.
We were made for more than the struggles and the pain. We were made to glorify and honor Him and be a beacon of His strength and wisdom. We haven't been defeated. God is still in control. To accept defeat would mean that God has lost, and we know better. Nothing honors Him more than our persistence despite our wounds.
During those times when I "feel" like I have lost, God has merely taken Satan's work and turned it into my benefit. Satan means to discourage me, confuse me, isolate me, scare me, make me remember my hurts. But my awesome, almighty and all knowing God is standing right next to me, offering me strength and encouragement. And when all is said and done, God wins--and I was made to celebrate His victories with Him.
Sift me Lord, for you made me for more than this.