I have this great trainer, Linda, who has been helping me rebuild my body after my weight loss surgery. We were working out yesterday on some specific areas that I’d really like to see improve. But while we were doing it, she pointed out that while I might not see improvement, she is seeing definition that wasn’t there before. That was encouraging. It will be especially encouraging tomorrow when the after-effects of a tough workout will be very obvious!
This morning, after a particularly tough day in our family yesterday, I had planned to read a book on my Kindle and opened the app only to find that I already had a book open. The open book was the one I really needed to read — When the Enemy Strikes: The Keys to Winning Your Spiritual Battles by Charles Stanley. I’ll share a few key things that were particularly helpful today in hopes that you will find them helpful as well:
What is a satanic attack? A satanic attack is a deliberate, willful, intentional, and well-designed act intended to bring harm to a person in any way–physical mental, economic, relational, or spiritual. (Stanley, p. 16) What are the objectives of a satanic attack? He has four:
Satan seeks to draw us away from God. That’s always his ultimate goal.
Satan seeks to thwart us in God’s purpose and plan for our lives. He seeks to get us off track and out of the will of God for our lives.
Satan seeks to deny God the glory, honor, and praise due Him as we live Godly lives of faith and trust in God.
Satan seeks to destroy us–literally and eternally. (Stanley, p. 16-17)
Whenever the devil strikes us, we can take heart that God has a purpose in allowing the devil to act. The purpose is a divine one that we may not understand but that nonetheless is for our good or the good of others. The grief, suffering or pain is for a season only. The end result, as we remain faithful to God, will bring glory to him. (Stanley, p. 28)
Three Things You Can Always Count On
You can be certain that God will help you. God is holy, omnipotent, omniscient, and immutable. The Bible tells us “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.” (Isaiah 59:1 NLT) The Lord desires to help you. He is waiting for you to ask Him!
You can rest assured that the attack will come to an end. No temptation or crisis lasts forever. A temptation may come again in another form, or come again after a period of time, but every temptation has a time limit put on it.
You can expect to be stronger in your spirit after you have resisted an attack of the enemy. (Stanley, p. 30)
I was encouraged so much after reading this this morning. And then, about an hour later, I received a text from a friend who was very discouraged. I called her and we talked about what was going on for both her and me and then things began to coalesce in my head to form an analogy for her and me.
Just as building muscle is painful, but results in definition and strength, so too are the spiritual battles we face.
I found this little gem as I was doing some research for this post: “For muscle breakdown and growth to occur you must force your muscles to adapt by creating stress that is different than the previous threshold your body has already adapted to.” (https://www.builtlean.com/2013/09/17/muscles-grow/)
This same principle is true in our spiritual growth. If we are to deepen our walk with the Lord, we must be challenged beyond where we currently stand. I’ll refer you here to John 15:1-8, 1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1:2-5.
No one likes to face spiritual battles, but if we change our perspective, perhaps we can see them in a different light. I don’t really enjoy lifting weights (I’d really hate it if it weren’t for Linda!), but I like the results. Linda says my calfs are “cut” and that she is seeing the cut of my muscles in my thighs. Personally, I see only cellulite in my thighs until she points the definition out to me.
As I face my own spiritual battles, I’ll be asking God for his perspective on them. Which spiritual muscle group are we working on developing today, God? I want to be a vine that has great strength and bears much fruit for His glory!