2020-01-15 All Hands On Deck!

“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

Today is going to be a day that I will need God to renew my strength. Melissa and I have had a full social calendar lately that won’t stop until Sunday. We’re both short on sleep and feeling tired. It’s our own fault. We scheduled these things. I can’t think of one thing we wouldn’t want to do.

Times like these are prime for spiritual attack. I’m starting to get wiser about this. To be honest, I prayed about it for the last few days. You see, that book by Gurnall recommended praying for wisdom, that God would reveal the plans of the devil before they happen. This is a HALT situation. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired means to stop, stand firm, and go over my spiritual warfare equipment. God is answering my prayer because I’m recognizing that I’m entering battle territory before I’m actually in battle.

One of the things on my mind this morning was how to handle my gluttony this coming weekend. You see, I’ll be at a men’s retreat. I’m sure there will be lots of good food throughout the day. I want to keep my intermittent fast going, but this will be a challenge. So, I’m tossing this back and forth in the shower when I realized that I don’t HAVE to settle this matter today. In fact, I don’t even need to think about it AT ALL today. When the time comes, I can pray and ask God to guide me. Right? You see, addictions are characterized by obsessive thoughts. Sure, tremendous energy is spent on shame and guilt in the aftermath of sin, but there is also the same amount of energy spent BEFORE the orgy begins.

They say you should pick your battles, so this is a battle that I don’t need to be part of. Today. I don’t need to fight this weekend’s battle on Wednesday. I can think of something else. A couple of verses come to mind.

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I know that obsessing today about my food problem this weekend will only wear me down and most likely end in defeat if I continue. Been there, done that. Is this the will of God? Hardly.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Obsession is a stronghold of Satan’s and is against the knowledge of God. I can’t afford to entertain that kind of thinking today because I’m TIRED. It has to go. Simple as that. I need obedience, not disobedience.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, I rejoice! And what? Pray. How can I rejoice? I’m tired, and I’m worried about this weekend. Well, you know what? Sometimes you have to do things that don’t seem like they fit, like rejoicing. What would be wrong about some praise music to rejoice? I’ll bet that will change the focus of my attention, right? How about recalling all the times the Lord has been good to me? Hey, I can pray that back to God! Do you suppose I will be blessed through that? Hmmm?

Let’s finish that passage.

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Take every thought captive. Does it line up with what God says to be true? If not, chuck it – quick – and replace with what does. Folks, we need to consider that discernment is a spiritual weapon. It’s part of my armor, of my Helmet of Salvation, if you will. Discernment of my thoughts has DIVINE POWER to destroy strongholds. Do you see how all this is tied together and interconnected?

Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Today is prime for spiritual attack. One last passage lest I forget just how much is at stake.

1 Peter 5:6-11 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 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. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

I think Peter is qualified enough to give good advice, don’t you?

Father, I praise your name, the God of Comfort, who makes known your will for me so clear by writing it down that I might study and relish it over and over. Thank you for restoring and renewing my strength so that I might stand firm in my faith, resisting the devil so that he will flee. Father, I desire to share what you do for me with others. Praise be your holy name! Amen!

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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