From speaking with many sisters and brothers in the last month or two, as well as praying, it seems that some people have been facing a lot of trials, temptations, or a difficult “dry” season this summer. God put it on my heart today to speak into these difficulties, with a message boiled down to: “Don’t Give Up!”
Perhaps you took an internship, job, or position this past season, but it is hard, lonely, and you are not seeing the kind of fruit that you thought would be there. Perhaps you are feeling unanchored, afraid, or unsure about the next step in your life. Perhaps you are bogged down with insecurities about your progress in your walk with Christ, struggling with doubt about your relationships, your call as a child of God, or even your salvation. Perhaps it has been hard to hear from God. Perhaps you have fallen into sin and feel trapped. Perhaps you have been feeling sad or full of regret, and feel removed from God. Perhaps you are just distracted, with little time to spend in your Bible or on your knees praying. Perhaps the ways of the world have begun to feel and seem more appealing than a Christian journey. Perhaps you’ve been obedient to what you feel God has called you, but you’re feeling empty and drained, and alone.
The reminder for you today is this: whatever you’re going through is not an accident. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” –1 Peter 5:8-9.
As I prayed God urged me to pray for open eyes in this season. Even if your struggle feels weird, arbitrary, or lonely, God has already given you the inside scoop on what’s going on. In various ways– through emotional pain, through distraction, through temptation, through weariness–our adversary is *trying* to hurt, numb, and get at us. He wants to hurt us because He wants to hurt God. And we see it in the movies all the time: if you can’t get to someone, you get to someone they love. Or better yet, you make that person think that they aren’t loved, they aren’t protected, and they aren’t seen.
My first encouragement to you is this: pray for open eyes to see the strategy the enemy is trying to use against you. We must stop being surprised or tricked by the disguises the enemy takes in our lives: instead, we must learn to recognize them and then, fight back. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:11-12.
We can’t wallow in our emotions or in a sense of failure before God. That’s exactly where the enemy wants us to do! Instead, we must stand our ground and say, “Enough. God loves me. I am fully known, fully loved, beautifully and wonderfully made and created for a purpose right now, today. I’ll never stop worshipping and following God no matter what is thrown at me. I see through you and your schemes! In Jesus’ name, I rebuke you!”
My second encouragement to you is this: what the Enemy is trying to use for evil God is using for good. A few weeks ago I wrote a devotional called “Don’t Waste Your Circumstances.” This was about how God allows our circumstances for our betterment. Wherever you are now, it’s God’s desire to give you an “upgrade” through your circumstances. Perhaps it’s time for an upgrade in your understanding of your relationship with God. Perhaps it’s time for an upgrade in the fruit of the spirit. Perhaps He is allowing what you are experiencing now to upgrade your anointing in ministry for the next season.
My point is this: recognize the devil’s strategy, but DWELL and MEDITATE on God’s strategy.What is He teaching you or showing you? What upgrade does He want to give you through this circumstance? It may be hard where you are, but my challenge to you is not to dwell on your own emotions, your own failures, and your own future, but instead, God’s emotions, purpose, and victories for you in this season. If God called you to a project, purpose, or place in this season, the presence of attacks does not mean that your purpose there is not being accomplished. In fact, when God teaches us and tests us, it is often because He trusts us!
Remember that you are already saved, but the Enemy will do anything to stop you from living out and growing in your calling as a holy being set apart in Christ. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us AND called us to a holy calling…” (2 Timothy 1:8-9). We are saved, AND called to a life of “set apart” devotion for God. There is power in a set apart Christian devoted in doing good for God. There is power in YOUR walk with God.
In 2 Timothy, Paul writes from prison, assured he is close to death, to Timothy, His disciple. The book is altogether an intimate, impassioned plea to continue in the Christian journey, steadfast and immovable despite suffering, trials, and temptations. He urges Timothy to remember that He already knows all He needs to live out the call of Jesus on His life. He just needs to remain vigilant to guard and treasure the salvation He has inherited: “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1: 13-14).”
God’s word for you today is “Don’t Give up…stay on the track,” and for others, it’s “Don’t give up…let’s get back on track!” Either way, He is saying, “Let’s do this together!” I pray that we all remain faithful to guard the deposit of salvation entrusted in us this week. Amen.
-Take a few minutes to come to a quiet place and pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your vision to see the trials of your daily life right now with new eyes. Then, take a few minutes to identify some key ways you have been tempted or discouraged. Be honest with God about what you have felt, and confess as you are led.
-Thank God for revealing this to you, and now ask Him what HE wants to teach you or upgrade you in through this circumstances. Write these down and spend a few minutes worshipping God for His love and protection and provision for you in every season.
-Read Ephesians 6:1–24. Pray into every armor of the spirit and specifically ask God to armor you with them in the circumstances you are in. (For example: “God, I thank you for the helmet of salvation that I put on now in Jesus’ name to protect against thoughts of hopelessness and despair. I declare that my mind is a sanctuary for you!”)