This last Sunday, we covered Rule #3 at Second Chance Church. You can listen to the audio here. This is one of those rules that can really get fuzzy around the edges. There are many who would suggest that to acknowledge or recognize the work and the attacks of the enemy against your life is to dishonor God…that it somehow demonstrates a lack of faith.
To those who would suggest such an approach, I call foul. That’s right… I’m blowing the whistle and calling a penalty on YOU. It’s really easy to criticize the concern of another Christian who is facing difficulties in their life and accuse them of not living by faith simply because they are stating the obvious truth about the struggles they are currently facing.
But there is a VAST difference between simply acknowledging the enemy and living in fear of what your enemy can do to you.
To pretend that he is not there and he is not real is truly foolish. Our adversary is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)…that’s not an idle threat. You have a huge bullseye in the middle of your chest with a cross in the middle of that.
But acknowledging him, recognizing his tactics and respecting the fact that he is looking to take you down is NOT the same as living in fear of what he can do to you or to put it another way, living in fear of your circumstances. What’s the difference? Living in fear is having your eyes fixed only on your enemy (or your problem) and his attack. Living in faith is realizing what’s he’s doing, but reminding him or yourself that your dad is bigger….and he’s better. Faith is trusting that your Father will work with you, be with you, and sustain you during and after your trial. Fear is forgetting all about God and looking ONLY at your enemy. If you remember that your dad is bigger, and he is better, then you can deal with any challenge the enemy brings your way…and that is faith.
I realize that there is another strain in contemporary Christian teaching that would suggest that if you become a Christ-follower, life is simply going to be wonderful…all the time. In fact, you will have your best life ever. I would also call that a bunch of bologna.
Imagine you are a deer living on a preserve. You are subject to all the natural laws of life and health, but you are not in danger of being hunted. But one day, you wander off the preserve and into one of the most popular deer hunting camps in the country. Do you think life will change sooner rather than later??
Satan has no beef with you when you are living in the natural world under natural laws. But when you wander off his reservation and begin to live in the land of Jesus, it’s like walking into a hunting zone….he’s not happy with you anymore and he will come looking to take you down.
No matter how bad you think your situation may be, it’s minor compared to the story of Job…so let’s look at Job….how did Job deal with the huffing and puffing of the devil?? Read Job 1 and Job 2 and see for yourself. It was a devastating and overwhelming attack against a man the Bible declares to be the greatest man in the area as well as being hand-picked for praise by God himself. If anyone had a right to complain about such tragedy, it would be a man whose life had been completely honorable before God up to this very point. But as you read the end of chapter 1 and 2, you cannot help but be struck by his humble response.
What was the final outcome for Job…..Job 42:10-17
Lord willing, you will never face what Job faced, but you will face something…and that something will be pretty overwhelming to you. And if you stand faithful and honor God in the midst of tragedy and difficulty, your witness to the world around you will be more powerful than the trial brought against you. And God’s name will be magnified, people will be won to the Lord, and your life will be blessed.