Sunday, May 27, 2018

STRONGER - PART 3| KNOW YOUR ENEMY

Stronger Part 3
I came across a book early this year by Havilah Cunnington titled “Stronger than the Struggle”. I strongly recommend you read it. Much of what I am blogging here is from that book and what I did with a ladies group called Coffee Chats. If you find this useful, please feel free to use this material in a study group you might be leading. The blogs in this series are reflections and a summary of what I got from this fantastic book that I recommend you to buy.. Click here for PART 2 of this blog series.

PART3 KNOW YOUR ENEMY
We need to realize that in different seasons of life we will face different challenges.  Remember Jesus has already won the war on our behalf. This struggle is not unique to you but everyone goes through it. We need to know how to fight and fight correctly – fight the right enemy. Fighting this battle well has nothing to do with who you are, your background, education, personality or culture.

In this race of life, you will face trails. Your race is not like anyone else's. How we run this race will determine our rewards. We may lose some battles but that does not define us. You are not a loser. You may have failed in some areas of your life, that does not make you a failure. Success is not the goal. We live in a world that idolizes success. That’s not it. It is about doing God’s will – that is success.

In this battle, no one can take you out. God will always remind you of your destiny and potential. The devil will always remind you of your mistakes and make you feel useless. Which voice are you listening to?

Running well in this race of life is YOUR responsibility. No one can run it for you. Its not your family ’s, pastors, spouse, parent, friend’s responsibility to make you run this race well.

In this chase for success, we are fed two lies. The first is you can be anything you want to be. This is not true is it? God has given us each a measure, shaped us in different ways with a unique gift mix, to become what He wants us to be. Therefore, we need to understand God’s plans and purposes for our lives. And the gift mix that he has given us fits that purpose for our lives like a glove.

The second lie is that we have to be the best in the World. Really? Every day there is someone’s record being broken. Someone will always be better, smarter, more talented, stronger, and faster. Therefore, it is very important to be secure in our identity in God and that our values come from knowing we belong to Him and that we are his sons and daughters. There will always be better preachers, worship leaders, doctors, accountants etc etc. I need to get my identity from who I am and not what I do.

Does this mean that it does not matter how I live? Not at all! I am responsible for being diligent and consistent. Many things will try and hinder and distract us. Jesus did not die on the cross so that you and I could get comfortable with shame, fear or failure. The Bible tells us that God has unimaginable things in store for us, that no eye has seen nor ear has heard. 1Cor. 2:9.

So how do we live this life? We live it with an active living relationship with Jesus. He died so that we could enjoy an abundant life. Hebrews 12:1 reminds us not to get entangled in sin. Its chokes us and hinders us in our spiritual journey. So remember you are running for Gold, a prize to be won in heaven.

Remember the center of the battle is your soul. Success is not something we achieve. Its something we live with on the inside, an attitude we develop. God is more concerned with HOW we are doing than WHAT we are doing. In our struggle, we need to remember that God’s intention toward us is always good. Jesus came to give us abundant life but the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy.

The focus of our lives is not the battle. God has called you for the purpose.
Our destiny in God is of prime importance. We have been saved for a purpose, to make God known to the ends of the earth. How will God’s glory reach the ends of the earth. Its as each one of us be that salt, light. That is when the earth will be filled with the knowledge and the glory of God even as the waters cover the sea. Can you use why it is so important? I hope you now understand what the devils target is. It has always been to make you ineffective, to stop you or slow you down- to keep you from you destiny. A Christian with his eyes fixed on Jesus running the race unflinchingly is the most formidable enemy of the devil. He does not mind a lukewarm Christian. He minds the ones that are on red-hot for Jesus.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

Some of us feel we have lost time in our battle or are not battling well. God is a redemptive God. He can redeem lost time and the years the locust have eaten. Colossians 4:5 tells us to make the best of every opportunity. Opportunities make come in the shape of a friend, pastor, family member telling you something you need to hear. God uses different ways to communicate with us. WE have a choice-we respond either to what God is showing us or deny the revelation that God is bringing into your situation.

Understand that the enemy does not want you to have clarity in your situation. He likes to shadow dance and confuse our minds as to what is the real issue. Recognize that diagnosis only tells you what the problem is. It is not the cure. You have to act. You have to embrace the fight.
When you do this remember as we said earlier, the devil is not equal to God. He wanted to be like God but he could never be. The war has been won and we need to partner with the truth that is in the Word of God.

KNOW THE DEVILS STRATEGIES

Winning or losing depends on how well you know your opponent. Do you know whom you are fighting and how he operates? He is a thief, killer destroyer, an accuser, an enemy of our souls. He does not play by the rules. He will strike hard especially when we are vulnerable, weak and down. However, remember he is not invincible

He is sneaky. But we have the mind of Christ and can discern his schemes. He is evil and devious but he is not all-powerful, neither does he all know. We have the truth of God ot expose him. He is not all-knowing. He cannot read our thoughts. Only God can do that. He can hear us so we need to be careful what we say. We need to be diligent in the fight. As we do this, we will get stronger. It’s like exercising our muscle. The more you exercise it the stronger you will get. We have old patterns of thinking. They have formed deep groves in our minds. Getting out of that groove will take some effort. Forming new pathways in our mind and new ways of thinking will take time but it will happen.

When I was going through my own struggles last year, I started to practice declaring truth over the situation. I kept saying each day and cultivated the practice of being thankful. Slowly I changed and so did the situation.

We need to be diligent in the fight because we have an enemy who is relentless, greedy, wicked and will stop at nothing. Comfort has dulled our spiritual senses. We have been lulled into thinking that he does not exist while he wreaks havoc in our lives.

The apostle Paul reminds us not to be ignorant of the devil's schemes. Ignorance will hurt us. Paul reminds us to be alert- for the devil prowls around like a roaring lion.
So, we need to understand that he is a real enemy who does want to destroy us. Have we been caught sleeping? 

One of the chief ways the enemy tries to get us is in our minds and emotions. He tries to drive a wedge between God and us, between other people and ourselves, our brothers our sisters. The devil will attack us in the same place of vulnerability, therefore we can never let our guard down. He knows where exactly to attack you. We need to put on the armor of God and fight. When we do this he cannot win.
We will look at three ways in which the devil tries to attack us in the next blog.  (To be continued CLICK HERE for PART 4)