One of the most gut wrenching biblical texts for me is Luke 4:13, “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him [that is, Jesus] until an opportune time.” It is quite sobering to think that even Jesus was a target for Satan. Naturally, we tend to look at Jesus as some type of super hero guy who didn’t deal with any kind of spiritual warfare, which is completely antithetical to the Scriptures and what we see in them. Why, then, would we think that we would be free from Satan’s tactics to steal, kill, and destroy? So,what can we do?
Satan has declared war on you and your family. He will do anything he can to keep you from trusting in the sovereign hand of God in your life, walking with Christ faithfully and believing that Jesus has already won the victory. I am reminded by this text that Satan is alive and well, and only leaves to come back at the opportune time.
When your day begins to look down, when your week begins to looks bleak and the month or even year begins to look dark, here are 7 reminders for you that have helped me greatly.
Talk to God.
God, the Father, wants to hear from you. He desires you and a relationship with you where you will come to Him with everything. Not because He needs to stay informed, as if He doesn’t already know your thoughts before you think them, but because He desires a relationship with you. As you begin to talk with God about your burdens, He will begin to give you clarity of mind, as well as a confidence to continue to persevere.
Remember the Sovereignty of God.
In all that is happening, there are two BIG promises to remember. God has promised that “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 ESV). In addition, He promised, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV). God didn’t miss His cue to filter this season of warfare for you. In fact, there is purpose in it. Know that God has made plans for you and that His plans cannot be thwarted. He is sovereign over whatever it is that you are going through.
Remember who Jesus is.
Satan has been defeated by and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the life that you and I cannot live, died the death that you and I deserve, and rose so that we can also be raised with Him when God calls. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV). Know that this season that you are in is light and momentary in comparison to the weight of glory. What you see now is transient, but what you cannot see is eternal.
Remember who Satan is not.
Satan is not some ethereal being, he is very real. Satan is not God. Satan is not omnipresent, despite what you may have been taught. Satan is not the victor, but he has been defeated. Satan is not in ultimate control.
Remember the Spirit.
It is completely and utterly impossible for you and me to have any type of victory over Satan and his plans to destroy us apart from the reality, presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is the Spirit of God in us that influences us to believe God, moves us to faithfulness and gives us the strength to persevere. Be confident in the fact that your success in getting through this season has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the Spirit of God in you. Even more, remember Jesus words concerning the Spirit, “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13 ESV). Joy within ourselves? We know from the context of this passage that Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God within us that gives us Joy – not better circumstances. Therefore, in the process of remembering the Spirit of God, you are reminded that Satan cannot steal your joy because your joy comes from the Spirit being within you.
You are not the only one in a trial right now. It is extremely easy to become focused on self in a trial. Remember that there are others who are much worse than you at the moment. What could possibly be worse than what you are going through? How about the 2 billion people in the world who have never heard about Jesus and are far from God. Or the 20,000 people that die each day from either starvation or preventable diseases. Don’t just remember others to make yourself feel better about your personal situation, but remember others as a motivation to stay on mission.
Remember the church.
In the midst of your trial, do not forsake the assembly. Don’t retreat from community, but allow the church to come around you to encourage you, walk with you, pray with you, and keep you accountable during this very “opportune time.”