As a follower of Jesus, I believe Satan tempts me to be upset and frustrated with the convictions and biblical worldview that Jesus gives me.
Let me explain this better with a simple but real scenario. The Word of God - the Bible, teaches us that we are to give of our time, our talents, and our treasures. I believe the Bible is clear that this isn’t a buffet, where you can pick something and leave the others. As follower of Jesus we are to do ALL of these things.
Satan ever so slightly whispers in my ear, “Well if you didn’t follow Jesus you wouldn’t have to do this.” “Most of your friends don’t have to do this because they don’t take their faith serious, why don’t you be like them?”
This happens to me! It truly does. In this example, I know I don’t have to do these things. God doesn’t need my time, my talents, or my treasures to accomplish what He wants to do. If I believed that, then I would believe God had limited power, and I definitely don’t believe that. I do this as an act of worship.
So I share this to give you another real life example that recently happened to one of my friends.
Me and two other guys meet and study God’s Word. It has a been a great joy of mine to get to spend time with them, get to know them, and to study God’s Word together.
Recently one of the guys shared a situation that happened to him a couple of days before we met.
To be brief and to keep this as confidential as possible, he said that he received a phone call from someone who was not 100% sober. He said this man pretty much told my friend that he wasn’t going to let him get away with something and that if he tried he was going to ruin my friend.
When he shared this story to us, in more detail, he was frustrated because he doesn’t understand why people call him who are drunk and just hateful. He said, “they should know my character.” When my friend said this, I could sense the enemy whispering into his ear, “If you were a ‘strong’ Christian or if you were ‘actually’ living out your faith, then these people wouldn’t call you.”
I immediately shut that down!
Not because I’m more spiritual, because by no means am I, but because I had a different perspective.
I told him to shift his own perspective. I told him that maybe he was getting this call because they do know his character. Maybe this person, or other people that he has come in contact with, are coming to him in this broken, hurting, vulnerable state because they know he has been there. They know that by the grace and mercy of our heavenly Father, he got out.
This perspective allows us the ability to see these conversations and situations as a space and a place to minister to someone’s soul through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In my personal time with the Lord, I’m studying the book of Daniel. For me, this is a book that I’ve heard a lot of the stories but I’ve never study any of them in depth.
A couple of days after I heard this story, God brought me to Daniel 5.
Daniel 5 is mainly known for the story about the handwriting on the wall. Again, I’ve heard this story a bunch, but I have never studied it in depth.
As the story goes there is a king who is pretty much throwing a massive party with the most popular people left in the kingdom, while the Medo-Persian army was outside the city walls.
They acted like people act today. They knew of the danger that awaited them outside, but they tried to forget it by partying, getting busy, drinking, doing drugs, etc. - thinking this would solve the problem. In reality this did nothing to solve the problem.
Well this is exactly when the handwriting on the wall began. Obviously, this stopped the party and everyone watched. This was so appealing that it says, “Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.” (Daniel 5:6 ESV)
So... he passed out!
What this tells me, is that the consciousness of this king was active beneath what he was doing to numb the pain.
Anyway, this king did what all the other kings did before him. He called the wise men from the kingdom to come to him to interpret the message on the wall. Again, just like the kings before him, none of them could tell the king the meaning behind this incredible sign.
Then the queen remember Daniel. She recalled when he interpreted dreams for King Nebuchadnezzar. So the king then sent for Daniel.
It says, “Then Daniel was brought before the king.” (Daniel 5:13 ESV)
When I read this the first time I didn’t think anything of it, but then I sensed the Lord leading me to just sit on this verse. I had many questions!
Why wasn’t Daniel at the party? Wasn’t he high in power and command? Why wasn’t Daniel the first person they brought in to interpret the writing? He interpreted dreams before. The Lord has been with him ever since Babylon took him and his friends captive.
I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me regarding this verse and the actions around it.
When everything is seems great - the party is going non-stopped, then God and His people are mocked, neglected, and hidden away. But when the hand of heaven wrote a sobering message, they cried out for the one who had the favor of God.
I think about how this happens. Being a pastor at a church, one thing we see is lost people wanting to be cared for by the gift of presence when they lose a loved one. Again, the follower of Jesus is ridiculed and neglected but when time of crisis comes, when a loved one is lost, the follower of Jesus is called on. This is just one of many examples.
But back to my friends story. This is what is happening with him. My friends has consciously decided that he is going to make changes in his life, in his family, and that he is going to be unashamed of Jesus. People around him are noticing. The followers of Jesus around him are noticing, and the lost people who have neglected him and hurt him are noticing.
This man who called him, is just doing the same thing. This man has everything he could ever want or need, yet he is calling my friends and harming him. Everything seems good to this man right now. However, I believe there will be a day where this man has a crisis. Something will happen and he will not know what to do or who to go to.
Then he will remember my friend. He will remember the choice my friend has made to be different. He will remember my friend and that he is not perfect, but that he is chasing the perfect one. Then my friend will go from neglected, mocked, and left behind, to wise counselor, friend, and a sense of direction and purpose - all pointing to Jesus.
As followers of Jesus our perspective must change.
We must know that the Lord is good and He will provide us opportunities to share His gospel, His truth with those around us that may be close to us but are far from him.
The Lord will deliver us. The Lord will fight for us!
“The Lord will fight for you, and you only have to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14 ESV)