My verses for 2008 have been James 4:7-10. My main focus has been to submit to God. My desire has been to submit all my life to Him and to learn to walk in humility. But there is something I’ve forgotten, something I’ve overlooked. It wasn’t on purpose, but quite honestly it just didn’t come to my mind –until yesterday.
Yesterday morning I woke up and as I lay in bed a song came to mind. A song I haven’t thought of in years, but none the less it was singing along merrily in my mind. I don’t even know if the tune was right or I had the right words but here goes – “I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart, down in my heart to stay. I’m so happy, I’m so happy! I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart!” Then I sang “I’ve got the joy of Jesus down in my heart, down in my heart. I’ve got the joy of Jesus down in my heart to stay! I’m so happy! I’m so happy! I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart!”
So you would think I’d get out of bed and have a wonderful day, right? Well it seems that as soon as my feet hit the floor the song went right out of my head! As the morning went on and I spent time in the Word, in prayer, trying to do some work I became more and more downcast. So I grabbed my Bible, went to the deck and opened up the Psalms and cried out “why is my soul so downcast? I don’t understand! Lord please show me what sin is in my life, show me why my soul seems so down!”
As I cried out these are the thoughts that went through my head. “Your just like this, up one minute down the next, it’s just you, learn to live with it.” “You know there is probably sin in your life, un-confessed sin, you think you love God, but if you really did you would be more holy, more righteous. You will never be worthy.” Etc…etc…
Right in the middle of these thoughts, my phone rang. It was a friend. We talked, and I share with her how the last few days I’ve just felt somewhat discouraged. I need to begin an outline for what I’m speaking on for the retreat next month and nothing was coming -nothing. I’m even wondering if God wants me to speak. I tell her the things going through my head and we talk. Then she asked me a question, “Have you considered it might be a spiritual attack?” “Maybe the enemy is fighting against you because he knows that the topic of the retreat is a powerful one, one he’d rather we didn’t share.” I thought – out loud, “spiritual attack? Enemy? He’s trying to stop me, discourage me, and confuse me?” “How could I forget that I have an enemy?” We continued to talk truth and as I got off the phone I thought “how could I forget?”
It’s so easy for me (and I’m sure many others) to go to the place of “it is me, I’ve sinned or it’s just the way I am and I can’t do anything about it.” How easy we make it for our enemy when we fall so easily into his trap. It’s as if somewhere we believed the lie told us that it’s just a character flaw, it’s just the way we are. Or maybe we’ve resigned ourselves to believe the lie that says this is as good as it gets, in this area you can’t have victory. Most of us would say “oh those are lies!” Of course they are, but do we live as if they are true?
This morning God brought me back to my verses for the year and as I read over them again I thought “there is it!” how could I have overlooked it? Verse 7 says “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Resist the devil? I had forgotten him!! How in the world could I resist an enemy who was a "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8) when I’ve forgotten about him? How could I forget the truths of God that warn me of his devices (2 Cor 2:11) and that I should not be taken captive by him (2 Timothy 2:26)
As I read Ephesians 6:10 where it says “be strong in the Lord” I was reminded of the verse in Neh 8:10 “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” And I thought “if the enemy can steal my joy, he takes my strength.” I have an enemy, an enemy who desires to come in like a thief and steal my joy, my strength and he would love nothing better than to be able to destroy the work God wants to do in and through me. So now what? I’m going to fight! I’m going to pray! I will draw near to God and resist my enemy!
So let us not forget our enemy who seeks to destroy us. Do not let him catch you unaware as he did me. This morning I woke up with the same song singing in my head – today I will not be caught unaware of my enemy's schemes.
Oh Father I pray that you will search my heart. I pray that you will show me any sin in my life that may be keeping me from drawing near to you. Father help me to stand firm against my enemy. Help to remember to dress properly for warfare! Help me to stand firm dressed with truth and righteousness. Help me to remember to take up my shield of faith, the gospel of peace and the helmet of salvation. I need to put on the sword of the Spirit which is your Word for without this armor which you have given me I will fall prey to my enemy. Oh Father I pray in the Spirit that I would stay alert with all perseverance. Thank you Jesus, it is because of you and through you that I can have victory over my enemy. Amen.