My mind is racing and I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. I can’t fall asleep because I can’t even close my eyes! I feel a strong attack against me and can’t explain it. The attack feels supernatural and debilitating and it is overwhelming me. I am not going to get through this. I begin praying and I suddenly remember the story of when Jesus was in the wilderness with Satan tempting Him. But how did Jesus respond to Satan? How did he win?
- “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
- “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Matthew 4:7
- “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Matthew 4:10
I could not remember these verses at the time. The external forces were that strong. I could remember the story though. And I began praying fervently for God to help me withstand this attack.
I rolled over and grabbed the pilot pen that I keep on my beside, clicked on its little LED light, and scribbled this note down on the back of an envelope:
“Bible->Proverbs->Abide meditation app->nothing… Falling away is slow and hard to notice. Satan is tactful and tries to mask himself!”
How did I let my morning Holy Hour habit get so far removed from reading the Bible?
When did I start just going through the motions?
One year ago I was reading and meditating with my Bible for about twenty minutes every morning. I was at an all time high of Spiritual fullness. Then I started reading from a little Psalm/Proverb book for ten minutes and before I knew it both those books were gathering dust and I was listening to Bible meditations on the Abide app while knocking out my morning workout.
Laying there wrestling with Satan I committed to getting back on track with my Bible reading. And not my Abide app or Proverbs book, but my now dusty leather-bound Bible. This was still not enough. I started to actually feel real fear, deep down and I did not like it. There’s no way I was going to be able to fall asleep. I had to do something more dramatic.
I tossed off the warm comforter and tip toed through the cold and quiet twilight air and into the living room, I didn’t want to wake my wife… This battle is between me, God, and Satan. I quietly closed the bedroom door, flipped on a lamp, and rushed to my neglected Bible on the bottom of a pile of books and flipped to the story of Jesus in the wilderness recorded in the book of Matthew:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
The Spirit guided me to Psalm 20:
“May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!”
Next I turned to Ephesians 6, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
This was it! Read that Scripture again. It contains the battle plan for protecting yourself against hostilities. I began meditating on this verse from the above passage,
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”
This verse stood out to me. This is what I needed and was the key to winning this battle. I needed the shield of faith to block the flaming arrows that were being fired at me by Satan. I needed to have full trust in my Lord. That faith in Him would be enough.
I finally began to calm down. My heart rate steadied. I felt safe again. I sat in quiet for a bit and then went back to bed and fell sound asleep.
The next morning when I woke I said my morning prayer, came out into the living room, and grabbed my Bible and spend time with the Lord.
I have been stepping out in faith with my writing and with the These Wise Men podcast and I need to have a stronger Spiritual foundation. When I was a silent observer I was left alone. But now that I am trying to help my brothers I have a target on my back. I am grateful that my God is strong enough to protect me and keep me safe.
What about you?
Do you bring your faith into your work and out in public? Or are you like me and do you often keep it tucked away on a shelf and in your church on Sunday morning?
As highly effective Christian leaders we must not keep our faith private. We must take action and allow it to shine into every corner of our life. It must light up our hearts, our homes, our family, our office, our visits to the grocery store, the gym, and everywhere else we go.
You must take action. Today.
“The great thing is to prevent his doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance. Let the little brute wallow in it. Let him, if he has any bent that way, write a book about it; that is often an excellent way of sterilising the seeds which the Enemy plants in a human soul. Let him do anything but act.”The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis