(Originally published 8/21/13)
If you have ever tried to walk in God’s will for more than a couple of minutes, you’ll know firsthand that it is hard. I’m talking really hard. Sometimes doing what you believe God is telling you to do can feel like swimming against the tide.
My husband and I believe there is a calling on our lives to write books that glorify God. Much of our first three and a half months of marriage has been spent in front of our computers, typing away and trying to find agents and publishers. So far, we have very little to show for our work. We have even questioned whether we heard God right. I’m sure we are not alone in our almost automatic assumption that if we do not seem to prosper, it’s because we have misheard God and He is not in it with us.
But I’m actually coming to believe that trials and adversities mean the stark opposite. If we are truly walking according to God’s will and striving to glorify Him, than satan can’t be too happy about it. He won’t want us to succeed in this; he won’t want us to accomplish what the Lord has set us to accomplish and he won’t want God glorified, even a little. So it makes sense that he would send his minions to oppose us at every turn.
If you never have the opportunity to read C. S. Lewis’s ‘The Screwtape Letters,’ I highly recommend that you read even just a snippet of it. The book is about a demon who is writing letters of advice to his nephew on how to trip up and discourage the human his nephew has been ‘assigned.’ It’s a real eye-opener to the weapons of the enemy.
2 Cor. 10:3-4, 1 Pet. 5:8-9, Eph. 6:11-12, and many more verses make it clear that we are involved in spiritual warfare. The devil does not want you to walk in victory and he will hinder you and plague your every step. He will show you your faults, others’ faults, and everything that is going wrong. He will do his best to blind you to all the blessings in your life and all the little ways God is loving and encouraging you.
One of the main things he will try to belittle is your perseverance. We humans are impatient creatures and satan will use that. When we start to think we did something wrong because life isn’t adhering to our time line, the devil will pounce on that and agree with us wholeheartedly. He will grow those feelings of angst in the hopes that we will give up and leave God’s will in favor of trying things out on our own.
Satan will also try to distract us with this shiny, pretty world of his. He’ll point out all the new toys and all the rainbows we ‘should’ be chasing. He’ll try to fool us into thinking this world is it, and distract us from the truth of eternity. When we buy into these lies and chase after the things of this world it won’t take long at all for us to grow discouraged because earth’s treasures will never be enough to satisfy.
So really, hard times can be a very good sign that you are on the right track and getting under the enemy’s skin. Honestly, if we’re not ticking him off and starting a fight, we’re probably doing something wrong. We need to be vigilant during the rough patches. We need to be able to recognize the lies of satan so we can rebuke him in Jesus’ name and press on towards the goal.