Last week I mentioned that in our You Are Loved Bible study, the week's focus was on the enemy who wants to distract, derail, and destroy us. Throughout our days we hear very loud but lying refrains in our minds: You are worthless; You are a failure; You are not enough. The enemy is always at work. Thankfully, our Lord never slumbers or sleeps and no one can snatch His own away from Him. No matter how loud the voices may be, the Truth is always Truth. We have to tune our hearts and minds to it, saturate our days with Scripture, and ask the Lord to transform our ways of thinking. As children of His kingdom, we also always have to right to tell satan where to go. We may live where he still reigns, but we do NOT belong to Him.
As I have been pondering these things, I got to wondering why the voices are so loud. How can such lies dominate us? When we were sharing in our meeting last week, it was funny how someone would say the "main" voice they hear and the rest of us would think, Really? She thinks that? I just think she's amazing and wonderful and such a good example to me. What a blessing to sit in that room, share our hearts, and be reminded that what satan is trying to feed us is poppycock! And also to be reminded of the deep love God has for us in Christ and the freedom in which we can walk because of that.
But man, it sure is frustrating that the voices are so loud! Why, why, why can't they just go away?!
The focus of this Bible study has led me to these conclusions, which I will chase with a word of hope before signing off for the day. First, the reasons these voices are so loud:
1. Satan is the ruler here - We have been rescued from sin and death by the blood of Jesus; it is such good news! But we are (clearly) not in heaven yet. This verse from our readings really struck me: We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (I John 5:19) John goes on to say how Jesus came and give us understanding so we can know God, which we need, because satan still controls the world. No wonder his voice seems so loud!
2. Our hearts are still prone to sin - We have been rescued from sin and death by the blood of Jesus; it is such good news! But we are not yet fully sanctified. It's coming! So for now, we war against our ever-present pride, lack of self-control, anger, sloth, etc., or should I say, they war against us. And when we look at our sins, away from Christ, their voices get louder and louder, until we're defining ourselves only by our failures and not our family relationship to God in Christ.
3. No Culture is out to honor God, but man - We have been rescued from sin and death by the blood of Jesus; it is such good news! But we still live in the world, a world which does not want to honor God. So we watch the news, read articles, browse magazine covers, and go to school and work, seeing and hearing mainly messages that pull our eyes from the Lord and His work and promises to ourselves and the evil at work in the world. The culture (no matter which one we're in) screams at us, This is what you need to do to be accepted and loved. Sure most of them contradict one another and leave you confused, angry, and sad, but just keep trying to be what you think people want you to be! You can do it if you just exert enough will power! The culture wants us to conform to ever-changing standards. The voices are loud. loud. LOUD.
To summarize, this side of heaven we have three things against us: the devil, the flesh, and the world. Not too hopeful, huh? Until we open up the Bible and read about the mighty God who spoke everything into being, who had a because-I-love-you rescue plan for His sinful creatures, who has never yet abandoned the world to His adversary, who puts the same power in us that rose Christ from the dead to believe in Him, who says over and over that He is slow to anger and abounding in love for His children. Then we look from the Word to our lives and see His fingerprints here and there, sometimes light touches of love, other times deep imprints of compassion or direction.
God is great. God keeps his promises.
He is also meticulous about timing.
I do not know what He's waiting for in the whole "hurling down of satan" thing, but I do know that He is trustworthy. For now, then, as the Spirit enables us - one day at at time - let's remind the voices (and ourselves!) that the Good Shepherd is our master and keep following hard after Him.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:1-2