1 Peter 5:8-9
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”
One morning not long ago I woke up feeling “defeated”. Well, actually…truth is, I had been spending several days “feeding” on thoughts of all my inadequacies to handle the challenges my life seemed so overwhelmed with. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I would wake up feeling the way I did. But that morning…I was feeling especially vulnerable because I had reached a troubling conclusion concerning my dreams and hopes I thought I would one day accomplish through God’s grace.
Before I even had the chance to pick up my Bible and begin my daily morning devotion time, my thoughts and heart had already decided that I was no longer up to the challenges of pursuing my desire to minister to others through writing or speaking and teaching about God’s faithfulness in all circumstances…especially affliction. After all, really what could I possibly have new to say about God’s faithfulness, love and comfort that hasn’t already been said…and said well, by so many others? There are preachers and Bible teachers who are more skilled and better educated in such matters… so really,what had I been thinking?
I did a quick mental review of my current “talents” and realized rather quickly I do not posses the same wonderful creative styles and oratory skills I have admired in others who are successful in these areas of ministry. I also firmly decided my very limited skills didn’t need to be revealed for others to discover this about me as well! So, that morning, I knew with certainly, I was not “called” to accomplish any of these desires I have felt drawn to and believed God had placed in my heart to do. I even knew that my well- meaning friends who have been encouraging me that these are my gifts have also been blindly led to the wrong conclusion as well. There just has to be something else I am supposed to be doing with my life… I now just have to wait I thought, for God to reveal what it will be.
Soooo, this very defeated soul finally sat down to read my Bible and to pray. The Scriptures I read that morning were from the Old Testament and filled with stories of conflict between God’s people living under oppressive conditions and struggling to maintain their identity in a culture ruled by pagan kings. Many had “given in” to the pagan culture around them and began to even worship idols. It seemed they were willing to ‘try” anything to escape their current situation and feelings of hopelessness…everything that is except turning to Jehovah God…
As I put my Bible aside, I spoke to God that my morning Scripture reading wasn’t exactly helping me “feel better” about myself or about my new realization that I now have absolutely no direction for my life. As I sat in my pool of pity with my eyes focused only on me and what little I will ever be able to accomplish with my life, I felt God wanted me to understand something from what I had just read… but my heart and thoughts could not seem to focus on God’s message for me. I was still allowing those overwhelming feelings of defeat crowd out any message of hope the Holy Spirit was trying to deliver. Although I continued to pray, my thoughts remained in an exhausting struggle. One moment releasing… the next grabbing back… all the things I had envisioned God was calling me to do concerning my desires in ministry. Tired from these tussling thoughts I did the only thing any good quitter would do…I stopped praying! I decided I needed to clear all these conflicting thoughts from my head and just “change the subject”. So I redirected my attention to my In-depth Bible Study lesson I still needed to complete that morning.
WOW! God gained my full attention as I turned to the first page of my study book. Praise God! I quickly thought. Now I see what You were trying to get me to understand as I laughed out loud! That morning’s lesson just happened to be titled; “Opposition to the Anointing” by Priscilla Shirer. This was the Scripture under the lesson title;
“The thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance” (John 10:10).
God knew exactly what I needed to hear and His timing for instruction as always is perfect. It is by no coincidence that this day was the day I would open my study book and be reminded I have an adversary that opposes my obedience to what God has established and also enables me to do through His power…not mine. As I worked through the day’s probing questions I began to realize that the last several days I have been looking at my life and only seeing that which I thought I could accomplish. I also saw that I had created my own image (idol) of what success would look like and feel like. Anything that looked “different” from this image I had assumed must indicate an inadequacy which will only lead to failure.
I soon realized that I was feeling defeated because I had allowed my thoughts to detach themselves from God’s lifeline of power and wisdom through the Holy Spirit who dwells within me. Satan’s lies had attempted to be my truth. Jesus saved me from this devil’s snare by revealing the real Truth found only through God’s Word.
As I set aside my completed lesson, I no longer felt defeated or distracted. In fact I was energized and excited about all God is more than able to do in and through me…abundantly!
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor.12:10b) I got down on my knees to pray.
“Thank you Jesus for you are faithful! Nothing is too difficult for You! Forgive me for not turning to you the moment doubt entered my thoughts. Help me to look only to you Lord as my help in overcoming fears and doubts. May I always keep my eyes on you and find my rest in Your Truth as you accomplish Your perfect work in my life. I love you Jesus. All glory and honor belong to You. Amen”