I want to continue where I left off last time about how we can thrive during troubling times. We should understand, first and foremost, that God has appointed us to live a fruitful life, and that our fruit should remain (John 15:16). But we also know there’s a diabolical strategy set against us, designed to keep us from living this fruitful life.
Understand that the enemy’s tactic is against Christ’s purposes—it’s designed to dis-appoint you from Jesus’ intent to make you fruitful. His goal is always to “steal, kill, and destroy”; Jesus’ goal is always to “give us life to the full” (John 10:10).
If we’re not very clear about this distinction we’ll be confused and possibly misinterpret what’s happening to us and why when all hell breaks loose in our life.
This may surprise you but the main strategy that the enemy uses against us is worry and stress. While it may not seem to be true on the surface, worry and stress are the gateways to more debilitating issues, like depression and disillusionment.
Here’s how Peter tells us to counteract this insidious plan against us:
7 Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.
8 Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. 9 Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith. For you know that your believing brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing the same kinds of troubles you endure. 10 And then, after your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who has called you to share in his eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever. Yes, he will set you firmly in place and build you up. 11 And he has all the power needed to do this—forever! Amen. (1 Pet.5:7-11 TPT*)
The implication from the text here is that this “devouring” is directly related to when we don’t “pour out all our worries and stress upon him and leave them there.” We were never meant to carry worry and stress, which is why it’s so unhealthy for us. We were meant to learn how to release it over to God. He’s the only one capable of carrying our burdens. Peter is telling us to be alert to the enemy’s devices in this regard.
When we keep carrying our worries and stress, discouragement or depression starts to set in, which will eventually “devour” us. We become broken and dis-appointed people. This is the enemy’s main trap. And the reason it works is because we’re not alert to something that seems so “normal” to our lives.
Of course, our biggest problem with coming against the devil’s devices is our pride. That’s why Peter said right before the passage above, “If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, he will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in his hands.” (1 Pet.5:6 TPT)
So, here’s the good news and the bad news…and the good news!
The good news is, you decide what the enemy of your soul can do to you. You decide if Jesus’ intent for you is fulfilled. The bad news is, you decide what the enemy of your soul can do to you. You decide if Jesus’ intent for you is not fulfilled. But the further good news is, He has all the power needed for you to succeed…and He living in you!
Since the outcome is up to us, here are some summary points we can take away from this passage so we can make sure we turn Satan’s traps into triumphs in Christ:
- Stay humble and teachable before the Lord (vs.6). Remember, you were never meant to create your own staying power. This is Holy Spirit’s job. Your part is to keep your heart tender and open before the Lord.
- Pour out every care or concern on Him and leave it there! While we do this we’re remembering His goodness and that He is always for us (vs.7).
- Be aware that stressful circumstances have two possible outcomes. You can either grow stronger in the Lord, or end up broken, disillusioned, and shipwreck in your faith. The thing to remember here is that we choose which outcome will be our reality.
- Take a decisive stand against every attack. We do this by walking in the opposite spirit of what’s coming against us by faith. You and I must consciously and intentionally take these thoughts captive (see 2 Cor.10:5).
- Remember that God’s purpose is to make you stronger! Know that after you have endured whatever you’re going through that God will not only restore you but make you stronger in the faith because of it! (vs.10)
- Remember that God has all the power to do what He intends to do through you and for you (vs.11). He’s committed to doing everything necessary to fulfill His fruitful purpose in you. But this does require our cooperation. And it requires keeping our eyes on Him instead of our circumstances.
Awesome, Mel! Really well said. I love that “dis-appointment.” We cannot avail ourselves of all the blessings He has for us when we’re consumed by worry, stress, fear, despair. We really are “appointed” to receive His love, His peace, His goodness, and that’s just the start, the tip of the ice berg.
I also really liked this point, “Remember, you were never meant to create your own staying power.” That’s really important to remember, because everything we have comes from God. We don’t have to do anything under our own steam. We don’t have to try to generate enough faith on our own. We tend to forget, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The Holy Spirit will give you what you need.
Thanks, IB, and amen! God takes responsibility for us and our only job is to cooperate! It’s called this “entering the rest” (key word is REST!) I liked your recent post about obedience fatigue. That pretty much explains the problem. We’re always going to burn out if we’re living under our own steam.