You have an enemy.
I haven’t been sleeping very well this past week. I would love to blame it on caffeine or my husband’s snoring, but honestly, I know that it’s due to plain old anxiety. I’ve been pretty worked up about all the changes happening in our lives.
But yesterday, finally, I worked out a few things with God. I prayed and I meditated on His Word, and I went to bed feeling calmer than I had in ages. I knew I was in for a good night’s sleep.
I did not count on the dog.
An hour into my unconscious bliss, he barked and needed to go out. Two hours later, it happened again. Then he refused to go back into the kids’ room (where he normally sleeps) and plopped himself on his bean bag in our room. And there he restlessly tossed and turned, making bean bag noises that kept me awake some more.
At one point, as I lay annoyingly awake in my bed, I thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s like there is a conspiracy against me or something!’ And then a little voice in my head said, ‘There is!’
Oh yeah. I had forgotten that there is a conspiracy against me. Not a conspiracy between my dog and my snoring husband (yes, he slept through all of this), but a conspiracy worked very deliberately by my enemy. THE enemy.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you have an enemy too. This enemy wants to steal your joy, dismantle your faith, and undermine your witness for Jesus. He is terrified of the impact you can make for the kingdom of God and he will do anything to render you ineffective. He will play dirty. He will kick you when you are down and whisper lies that sound so close to the truth that you start to believe them. You are constantly under attack, whether you are aware of it or not.
But here’s the good news: Satan is a defeated enemy.
He cannot change your eternal address and he knows it. You are a citizen of heaven. And worse, you have the power of God at your disposal. He’s hoping you’ll forget about that – or at the very least, doubt that it’s for you – but you have it nonetheless. He knows he’s doomed.
The apostle Paul knew that Believers would need to be reminded of this power that they have in Christ. He knew that the stresses and disappointments of this life would distract us and make us feel defeated. In Ephesians 1:17-20 he tells the followers of Jesus:
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”
Do you see it? Do you see that part about power? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you! Paul wanted the people of God to know about the hope to which they had been called, the amazing inheritance that was waiting for them in heaven, and the great power available to them now.
You can tell Satan to get lost. Tell him to get lost in Jesus’ name. Because you are a precious child of God and you’ve got things to do. You can’t afford to waste your time living in fear and losing sleep over anxious thoughts. You are blessed, chosen, holy and blameless, forgiven, redeemed, and lavished with grace (Eph 1:3-10)!
When you are overwhelmed, ask for His power to help you overcome. When you are discouraged, ask for His power to help you defeat your doubts. When you are tired from a sleepless night with a labradoodle, ask for His power to energize you to still love your family well. He loves prayers like that.
Nothing in your life is accidental. Each blessing is hand-picked by your heavenly Father; and every hardship is submitted to His sovereignty. And while He allows the enemy to attack you, He does not leave you defenseless. Fight back. By His power, you can win.
Now I think I’ll go take a nap…