For centuries, Christians have asked one question over and over again: How do I know I’m doing God’s will? Having been involved in various ministries throughout my life, I’m getting pretty good at figuring out when I’m exactly where God wants me. A pattern emerges when I look back: Whenever I’m where God wants me to be, serving Him the way He wants me to serve, I pop onto satan’s radar. Once that happens, I know I’m in the right place at the right time.
How do I know I’m on satan’s radar? Strange things start to happen:
Recently, I taught a series on Revelation to my high school Sunday School class (you know, the book that is all about how satan is defeated and Christ wins once and for all). Like clockwork, every Saturday evening or Sunday morning, I’d become either depressed or angry for no reason at all. Little things that wouldn’t have merited a second thought earlier in the week would suddenly become reasons for me to be frustrated or sad. In a word, I would feel defeated.
More recently, I’m finding myself tempted by sins I haven’t dealt with in years. And when that doesn’t work, I’m tempted by things I’ve never even considered doing before. To make matters worse, not only am I tempted, I see opportunities to give in to that temptation. And when I do give in, my accuser goes into high gear telling me that no one who did what I just did has any business serving God. Even after I confess my sin and claim forgiveness through Christ, satan still tries to bring it up at the most inopportune times and drown me in regret.
And if those two things don’t work, satan preys on my insecurities. Lately, he’s been dangling numbers in front of me: “There were fewer kids in class today. What did you do last week to drive them away?” “Your reader numbers on your blog are pretty low. Maybe you shouldn’t bother writing anymore.”
I know I’m not the only one who deals with this in ministry. I know because some of you have told me that you deal with it too. So what’s a Christian to do? How do we reclaim our God-given purpose and serve Him victoriously? Whether satan uses these three particular weapons against you or if he’s got some others that work better in your case, there are three things you can do to hit back:
- Hit your knees: Spend time with the One who gave you your mission. Give some energy to praising Him and worshipping Him for who He is and what He’s done for you. Give Him the glory for the successes, and trust Him to redeem the failures.
- Hit the Book: Ephesians 6:17 tells us that God’s Word is our sword. Just like Jesus did when satan tempted Him and tried to throw Him off His game, hit back with the Truth. Don’t just read the Bible daily, study it. Take it apart. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Like any tool, take the time to learn how to use it. God’s Word is powerful. Use it.
- Hit up your friends: If you’re embarking on a new ministry (or even if you’ve been at it for years), surround yourself with praying friends. Ask people to pray with you and for you. Remember the hedge of protection thing from a couple of weeks ago? Get some people together and pray a huge concrete-wall-topped-with-razor-wire around you, your ministry, and the people you will serve.
God has given each of us a mission. He has a purpose for each of our lives. He wants us to serve Him, to serve His people, to serve the world. So whether you’re teaching English and spreading the gospel in Russia, mothering abandoned little girls in Belize, pastoring a church in Florida, leading a Bible study or worship in New Jersey or trying to raise godly children in Texas or Tennessee, you are where God has put you for His purpose. Your life and your mission are for His glory. Don’t surrender to satan’s weapons. Fight for it. You have the power that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20). And you have this:
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith – who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destoryer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:16-17)
How does satan like to attack you in your work? What other tips do you have for hitting back?