Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)
Yesterday I wrote about how easy it is for me to be led astray and get bogged down in my own selfish thoughts. Why??? Why is it so easy? And, conversely, why is it so hard to stay close to God and remember all his promises and be obedient to him?
I think the verse above says it all...we are not fighting a battle just with ourselves, but we are fighting a daily battle with the devil as well. Even though I have Jesus in my heart and KNOW that I am safe in his arms, I think the devil gets inside my head and messes with my confidence.
Ok, before some of you stop reading because you don't like the whole thought of the devil and demons and evil powers...how else can you explain how a smart woman who KNOWS what she should be doing and KNOWS she is going to heaven, can so easily forget that fact and get tangled in selfish and self-destructive actions and feelings? I read the Bible, I pray, I hang out with other Godly people, I talk about my faith with anyone who will listen. If the devil is not involved, how else could I allow myself to get down and depressed over my own unmet wants and desires?
If you believe in God and believe in his word, then you have to believe there are evil forces and a devil who is their leader. Even though God is all powerful...the devil wants to bring us down and will do everything he can to do it.
Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)
Often times, the devil uses our own thoughts to confuse us. Have you ever thought things like "You are talking too much." "You aren't talking enough, they probably think you're stupid." "Give it up, they don't like you." "You don't fit in." Do any of those statements sound familiar? We think they are our own thoughts, but why do we think such negative things about ourselves...???
There is a battle raging every day...it is hard and it takes effort to fight it. But, you are not in the battle alone. God knows you are fighting and if you look to him, lean on him, and use his resources, he will give you the tools you need to fight.
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7 NIV)
When I am daily reading the Bible and spending intentional time with God, I feel stronger to fight. God's word is full of instruction and encouragement....but the key is the first word of the James 4:7 verse above...SUBMIT. You have to be willing to let God have all of yourself and obey him before you have the tools to cause the devil to flee from you. If the devil finds even a crack in your armor, he will continue to work on you.
There are still many cracks in my armor...I have a lot more work to do before I can say I totally submit to God. I still try to take care of things myself...I still so easily slip back into bad habits. But, the difference in my life now than several years ago...I recognize that slipping feeling much quicker than I used to. I find myself picking up my Bible or saying a prayer quicker than I used to. God's tools are handier to me now. I can find them easier and fight back quicker and harder than I used to.
The devil is still trying to bring me down, but I am quicker to remember that God has already won the battle! I am a child of God and I remember my Father's promises..."You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 NIV)
God is in me and he is more powerful than the one trying to bring me down! Amen!