Last weekend, we spoke at a memorial for someone that had sadly passed from a bout with cancer. The turnout was amazing and all attendees listened and reacted to the word of God.
Earlier this week I received a call from the woman (let’s just call her Sue) that had asked me to speak at this memorial. She was thankful and exalted me with praise stating I was “truly a man of God and everyone can feel it!” She also mentioned how everyone in the room had felt God’s presence when I had administered last-rights in the hospice room a month or so ago.
Once my head stopped swelling, I responded “Thank you but sometimes it’s a really difficult journey.” I told her of temptations that have recently arisen and dreams where things are presented to me that I’m not even thinking about.
One example is this: I spent many years fighting (as a sport, not brawling) and a back injury had ended my “career.” In these dreams, I’m back at it full-swing. Winning, losing but just feeling good to be back in the game.
What was this? Was the devil telling me he would give this all back to me if I followed his lead? Was he promising me to return my body to good health?
Sue has been a woman of God for most of her adult life and had even served in the ministry for some time. She said she recognized this and informed me that it was simply because I was getting closer and closer to God and the devil was trying to intervene.
This all made sense to me. After all, sleep is where we are most vulnerable as we are not walking or talking with God and our hearts and minds are at rest.
Ephesians 6:16 – “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
This may simply refer, however, to the varied external and internal temptation and testing by which he seeks to control or influence our minds through what we see, read, and hear. Due to his great power and cunning, however, it could possibly go beyond this.
How can I fight these?
People always ask me this question: “How can we have faith in something we cannot see?”
Let me try and address that question.
God is Spirit
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), just like “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Even though God is spirit and we cannot see Him, we know that He exists, so we must take steps of faith every day when we pray to a God we’ve never seen.
Steps of Faith
Sometimes I have to get up in the middle of the night to uthe bathroom, and most of the time I know the way. I know by heart where the coffee table is, but sometimes my shin reminds me about where it is, so even in this world we don’t always walk by sight. We travel over bridges even though we’ve never met the engineer or inspected the bridge. We assume it’s safe because we have faith in the bridge builder, but God is infinitely more trustworthy, and so we can walk in the dark valleys of life and still know that He’s right there with us, every step of the way.
The First Step
As a teen, before I eventually chose the ministry, I actually tried to avoid it. I was fearful of taking that first step in what I knew God wanted me to do, but taking a first step on ground you’ve never walked on before is a bit scary. Eventually I took the first step and immediately felt God’s pleasure, so we don’t always have to wait for just the right moment to take that first step of faith. We might have to take that first step even when we don’t see where our foot’s going to land. It’s called faith.
Don’t fear the devil’s temptation. Recognize it, laugh at it and tell him “Thanks for the memories but get behind me now for I have chosen God’s way over yours and my faith is only getting stronger!”
The first step is the hardest, but it is also the most rewarding, because when you step out on faith, you tell God, “I trust You,” and He is very pleased with that. We know that God is spirit, and that He wants us to believe in Him even though we’ve never seen Him, and even in the darkest of nights, if we take that first step, the next step will be a bit easier, even if we don’t see the staircase.