Throughout my whole life I have struggled with rebuking the devil when he attacks. It is written plain as day throughout the whole Bible that it. will. happen. It tells us over and over again in scripture that he will constantly try to separate us from the love of Christ. We see it in the Old Testament in almost every story we read. And that doesn't change in the New Testament when we see people struggling with the same things WHILE JESUS IS EVEN WALKING AMONG THEM. Now, I would love to say that I would be the perfecttttt Christian if I was living in the New Testament walking around and following Jesus. I mean hellooo...he's right there. But of course, we fall short. And thank goodness we have someone there to be our strength. This morning I woke up with just this feeling that I wasn't even sure what to name. And the devil is definitely crafty in his ways because he knows that's what gets me the most - a feeling where you have no idea where it came from and you can't name what it is. Am I feeling inadequate? Why do I feel mad and sad? Why do I feel like a failure? Am I annoyed with something? WHAT IS IT. I'll tell you. It's just the devil.
There are times where I let it happen. Almost because I don't feel like fighting. (awful, right?) And then it affects everything around me - what I decide to do that day, the amount of time I put into reading the Word during my quiet time - if at all, my marriage and friendships, how I treat the check out lady at the grocery store, etc. News flash MG - THAT'S HIM. He is rejoicing in hell over the fact that he got to you that day. It's exactly what he wanted for you. He wanted to take what is good and pleasing in the Lord's eye and do the exact opposite.
This morning - I knew I had to fight it. I was tired, even EXHAUSTED of letting him win those little battles (because we know who ultimately wins the war). I do what I normally did when I needed strength. I opened my Bible. But God, where do I turn? What is it that you want me to read and absorb in your Word? So I read a couple of Psalms when David was going through trials. They are meant for you to rejoice in song, poetry, and to study people at worship. It is a collection of 150 songs and poems that express a wide variety of emotions. It's always encouraging to see how people rejoiced in their emotions of affliction. But it was almost like I needed to read about the devil's warnings and what to do when that time comes. So - I googled. Cause we can all admit that we do that often when we can't remember where these certain passages are. Be honesttttt. If you know where everything is in the Bible and can tell me exactly what book and verses I need to read for anything I'm looking for, I applaud you and would like for you to be on speed dial and be my best friend. ANYWAYS - I am not that person and took to google - "bible verses about rebuking the enemy and looking to God". Boom. 100 Passages about Rebuking Evil. Click.
It brought me to a couple of Psalms that I had already read and then what the Lord was so clearly putting on my heart to read this morning - 1 Peter 4:12 - 5:11.
Suffering as a Christian
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Shepherd the Flock of God
5 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
This passage was written to explain so many things. First off, it clearly explains that we should not be astonished when we suffer (vs 4:12). But why?? Isn't God supposed to protect us from evil and bad things happening? This is a tricky question to navigate but it is without a doubt that God uses these emotions, trials, and suffering to purify us and the church. But what are we supposed to do or look for when we are aware of these weird emotions (me today) or trials that come our way. Jump to verses 5:6-11. We are to humble ourselves so that at His own time He will exalt us. We are to cast ALL of our anxieties (big and small) on Him, because He cares. That's what God wants from us. We are also to be WATCHFUL. This one hit me. Remember how I told you earlier that sometimes I see what the evil one is doing and allow it to happen?? How wrong of me! I'm watchful of it and allowing it to happen. Paul clearly tells us to be watchful for it - he prowls around like a roaring lion, ready to attack and d e v o u r. Don't. Let. It. Happen. Paul goes on to tell us to resist him and stand firm in our faith and truth. Don't fall under what the devil wants for you. Be spiritually vigilant - watching for the attacks and acting on it by standing firm in trust in God. And then. After God uses the suffering to purify us and draw us closer to Him, the God of grace will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us. He holds the power. He won the war. Fight the battles you have on this earth while working towards the Kingdom of Heaven that has already won the war.