I was having a little pity party for myself the other day. It didn’t last long. Mine generally don’t. But it was a pity party nonetheless.
Do you ever feel life comes at you in cycles? On one wave you could be riding high with everything coming up roses, but then during the next, you endure one punch in quick succession after the other. Cycles.
And the cycles seem to have themes, don’t they? It’s so interesting because the situational players in one area of your life often have no idea what’s going on with the players in another, yet the parallels are often uncanny. Same stuff happening at the same time with different people.Themes.
Cycles and Themes. How does this happen? And why?
When I’m in the midst of a mental boxing match, the answer isn’t always glaringly obvious, but as the adrenaline subsides and the emotions settle, the true instigator reveals himself. Ugly, nasty, dirty old Satan.
This explains the cycles. The Devil doesn’t just inflict one quick jab. He wants to keep on poking at you over and over again, until defeat is imminent. He can be relentless.
It also sheds some light on the whole ‘themed’ approach. The Devil desires to get you where it counts, and when he’s found that sensitive, thin-skinned part of your being, he doesn’t leave it alone. Salt in an open wound.
Man, he knows just how to land those punches.
Satan can be a formidable contender; he’s got some moves for sure. But we know the very end of the story and he doesn’t win. No way, no how, not a chance. Never.
Since we have the assurance of the win, the final victory, why give up ANY points to him along the way? Don’t be the reason the Devil’s record appears triumphant, even momentarily. Appearances can be deceiving, and we shouldn’t even allow the appearance of his success.
So call each situation for what it is.
My pity party wasn’t prompted because ‘this person hurt my feelings’ or ‘that one didn’t understand my intentions or point of view’. Sure, on the surface, these circumstances may be reality, but underneath it all, Satan was looking to spar, and in a moment of weakness, I allowed him to step into the ring. Dumb! SO incredibly DUMB! Human…but dumb all the same.
Don’t give Satan ANY fight time. Shut him down before he even enters the match.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
I think the word ‘alert’ in the above passage is key. We must be aware, vigilant, watchful, observant and most of all, prepared! We can’t just respond when the devil rears his ugly head, we must stand guard and head him off at the pass. Lindon likes to say we need our ‘spiritual antennas up and tuned in’ at all times. I agree.
We can’t control the actions of those around us, but we certainly can decide how we’re going to act and react. The sooner we clue in to what’s going on beneath the surface, the more quickly we can cast the devil out and get back to the business of walking in faith and shining God’s light; the less likely that we’ll be tempted to engage.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27
So when it feels like life is handing you lemons and you feel singled out for persecution, it may well be true, but look beyond the earthly and address the underlying influence at work. Pass on the pity party and use your energy instead to ditch the devil and focus on God during times of unrest and turmoil.
Always a favorite – Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Can you relate? I would love to hear!