Our enemy, satan, constantly tries to bring disappointment, heartbreak, sadness and more into the lives of people. We all experience these emotions and none of that is sin. God created emotions and they have their place. In fact, it is RIGHT to feel disappointment when disappointing things happen.
It is not right, though, to allow disappointment (or any other emotion) to control us.
The more we focus on what's wrong and what we don't have the more control it takes of our soul. That just makes the real enemy (satan) who is causing that to be delighted.
He loves when Christians worship him.
Why do I say that? Just look at what satan tried to get Jesus to do in the wilderness:
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’” (Matthew 4:8-9)
Imagine the audacity of that. Satan wants his Creator to worship him.
Look at Jesus' reply:
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.' ‘ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Matthew 4:10-11)
If satan has the audacity to try to get Jesus to worship him, why would we think he wouldn’t try it with us?
I have come to believe that whenever I become obsessed with the effects of satan’s attacks or the effects of him successfully tempting others to offend me I unwittingly begin to get dangerously close to worshiping the devil.
My definition of worship has to do with focused time, energy and effort. Obsession with what satan does to hurt us is just that – worship and I REFUSE to worship the devil.
What is the antidote? I think it has two aspects:
1) Focus on Jesus instead.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus (focus), the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him (focus) who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. “ (Hebrews 12:1-3 - NASB)
2) Praise Him and give thanks aloud to Him
“…in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
The antidote to anything satan does to get our focus is to focus instead on what God would have us dwell upon.
You know, we never seem to have any trouble compiling lists of what is wrong in our lives. The reason for that is the source of these troubles (satan) helps us build and dwell on these lists! He NEEDS that in order to control our souls.
Let’s deny him that.
It would be good for us, instead, to take time every day to catalogue all the things that are going right in our lives. Anyone who ever practices this quickly realizes that FAR more is going well than is going badly in their lives.
After we compile that list, we can go through it and systematically thank God and praise Him for these things.
After all, it is:
“He (Jesus, Who) is the radiance of His (the Father’s) glory and the exact representation of His (the Father’s) nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3a)
That’s right! Jesus literally upholds or causes all things that work well to do so. When we praise Him for this we are acknowledging
His power and His love for us.
When we praise Jesus we are worshipping Him.
So, let’s commit this day to seeing the attacks from satan for what they are: pitiful attempts to get us to worship him instead of Jesus.
Let’s commit to being wise and prepared for this.
Let’s commit to cast those thoughts down and to focus on Someone worthy of our worship: Jesus the King of Glory.
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9)
Our emotions will thank us for this.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© May 11, 2016
(for use with permission)