Monday, October 27, 2008

Spiritual Warfare (part 1 of 2)

When it comes to struggles of the spiritual nature, people tend to sway from one extreme to the next... Some believe all things have spiritual "roots" (that is, their causes are good or evil, blessing or attack). Others simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of any type of supernatural powers. I'd like to suggest that somewhere in the middle is probably closest to correct.

I believe that spiritual warfare does happen. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~Ephesians 6:12

But I do not believe that every "bad thing" in our lives is caused by Satan. Sometimes, bad things occur as a result of our choices (Deuteronomy 8:5, Job 5:17). Sometimes bad things are allowed in our lives so that God can refine us (Psalm 66:10). Sometimes, though, bad things are from the enemy. I think this is especially true of those areas we struggle in, where we're weak - these are the places that it is easiest for him to come against us (and come against Christ in us).

For example, one of my greatest struggles is my desire to be accepted. (According to my personality profile, this is typical of us highly-organized, be-the-boss, OCD types.) Put simply, I want people to like me. But as a leader in ministry, there are times I need to do or say things and make certain decisions that will result in others being unhappy. And some people (particularly women, and especially during certain times of the month) can get quite bent out of shape, often questioning my leadership and attacking my character. (Don't get me wrong here, I am soooooo not perfect, and there have been times where I've done or said the WRONG thing - but I'm not talking about those times.)

In these situations, I am plagued with doubts. Am I really supposed to be leading women's ministry? This person is so hurt/angry - did I really do the right thing? If I'm really called by God to do this, shouldn't others affirm that? Maybe I'm not hearing God at all...

Over time and with experience, I have come to discover that the desire to be accepted is one of my big fleshly struggles. The enemy has picked up on this, and he tries to use it to his advantage whenever possible. He stirs up dissension, which causes me to feel like someone doesn't like me, and feelings of self-pity keep me too busy to do anything useful for God's Kingdom...

Do you have any areas of struggle like that? Ones that seem to keep cropping up, going round and round, that you never seem to be able to get out of? Chances are that the enemy is messing around, doing his darndest to keep you from the works God is calling you to.

Now, what to do when the enemy is picking and prodding at you? Coming up tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post! I have emailed it to myself so I can sit and read in my quiet time!


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