We have all heard of the devil. He has been talked about, taught about, preached on, and written about. As Christians he is our #1 enemy and coming into relationship with Jesus brings his attacks into the front line of battle with us. However, he is not the only reason Christians struggle. As hard as that is to believe because the Word says that all good things come from the Lord so if it’s not good then it must be “the devils’ work”, right?
I wrote an article recently that spoke on the attacks we receive from the enemy because we chose to walk in the purpose God has for our lives. However, there are other reasons for our lives to feel heavy burdened and full of opposition. And the question is, is it our fault or is it the enemy? Now, I would say it’s both but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I would like to think that we have some say over how we live our lives.
I know a lot of people like to think that because we open our lives to the Lord that we are instantly changed for life.
And as awesome, and possible for God to do, as that would be it’s not what happens at the moment of acceptance for the vast majority.
I believe that change in our lives, in the way the Word describes it, comes with relationship and intimacy with the Lord.
Anyone who knows how relationships work knows that intimacy is something that grows with time and effort.
It is not that the Lord sees us now because we have “worked” so hard to be seen but it is that we have worked on getting to know Him and love Him in ways that you cannot come to love someone you do not know personally.
If we don’t read the Word, that talks about the One we have accepted to believe in, then we can’t really say that we are true believers of Christ. We cannot really believe and love and trust in someone who we don’t sincerely know.
So when we say that we believe in Christ with no real knowledge of Who He is, all He has already done, what He is capable of, what He promises us, what He expects from us, and what He wants us to do, then we automatically set ourselves up for opposition.
The Word says that if you are a friend to this world and everything it does and has to offer then you automatically make yourself an enemy to the Lord. (James 4:4)
Also, anyone who isn’t working with Him is actually against Him. (Luke 11:23)
This shows us that operating in anything other than the Lord’s Word is operating in cahoot with the enemy. Even as a Christian.
Does accepting Christ make us perfect? No.
Will we mess up? Daily.
Something we can be sure of, something we can hold on to as encouragement is that the closer you get to know Christ.
The more you let Him into every detail of your life.
The more you talk to Him openly about all that you feel, experience, believe and wonder.
The more that you come to truly love Him because you see that what He wants for your life is better than what you could’ve ever planned for your life.
The more you see Him as the realest and most loyal friend you will ever have.
The more you begin to see Him as the greatest Father you could have ever dreamed of.
The more you begin to realize that following Him, trusting Him, and obeying Him is not something to feel inferior over but rather it is something to embrace and express with appreciation and pride.
When all these things become the focal point of your life, your old desires, your old bad habits, those behaviors will begin to feel unfulfilling and dissatisfying.
The new desires that your relationship with the Lord will bring will be honorable, and full of goodness and gentleness.
The new creation that comes with accepting the Lord as your Savior, as Creator of all that is seen and unseen, as the Lover of your soul, comes not when we vocalize that we believe but when we demonstrate that we do.
So when we feel oppressed and heavily burdened in life there are some things to consider.
How am I living?
How are the choices I am making affecting my surroundings?
How am I treating people? Even those you don’t necessarily get along with. Sometimes I feel most especially those we don’t like because the Word says that anyone can love someone or be nice to someone who is nice to them, but the thing that sets us apart in this world as people changed by Christ are the moments when we choose to be kind and generous and forgiving to those we don’t exactly “feel” like being kind to.
What am I doing?
Am I still cursing?
Am I still judging?
Am I still holding a grudge?
Am I still using?
Am I still stealing?
Am I still quick to hating or being furiously angry?
It is not the end of it all if answers to these questions are a yes. In fact, that is a good thing. It is good to know exactly where you need help in and then head to the only One who can truly change a heart; pray.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in an area of your life.
Don’t be scared to ask for deliverance.
Don’t hold back from being completely real and honest with the One who already knows your thoughts and sees the real condition of your heart. He does not wish to judge you. His joy is to help you come out of the darkness holding you hostage and bringing you into an atmosphere of love and goodness. Yes, even if you call yourself a Christian.
Also, how is my relationship with God looking like?
Am I reading the Word?
Not to just check off a chapter read, but are we reading it to truly understand the intention and purpose of the passage?
Are we praying for God to open our eyes to the things we can find within the pages of His biography?
Are we reading to know the why for our belief?
Am I praying?
Not the “bless this food” or “while I sleep” recitation.
Are we truly talking to God constantly throughout the day about our day, our thoughts, our gratefulness, our ideas? (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)
Are we coming to Him as a friend and a loving Father?
Are we looking to Him for answers and help?
Are we believing that He hears us and cares for our daily ramblings and thoughts?
Do we believe He can when we pray? (Mark 9:23)
Do we trust He cares? (1 Peter 5:6)
The enemy will always be plotting against us. He will find every opportune time to sneak in something that he knows will throw us off course. He will never miss an opportunity to convince you to give up on living for Christ. Nothing is off-limits in his mind.
Moments of rejection.
Moments of weakness.
Situations and circumstances that appear unfair or painful.
Old habits that were once used to alleviate a trigger or emotion.
He will always try to slip into moments, conversations, problems, relationships, thoughts.
That is why the Word tells us to remain alert for his schemes because he is constantly on the prowl waiting for ANY opportunity to distract, confuse, or discourage us from God’s love and promises for us. (1 Peter 5:8-9; Luke 4:13)
So yes, it is the enemy attempting to destroy you in your situation. BUT since we have God, since we know God, we are given the choice along with the tools NOT to fall into his traps. THAT is completely our choice.