Illustrating a Truth of Recognize and Replace!
We have an enemy actively "seeking whom he may devour," always working to separate us from our God by weakening our trust connection or by diverting us from the path of obedience.[i] These two objectives are the point of his attacks. Like the old hymn says: "The only way to be happy in Jesus is to trust and obey." The devil wouldn't be caught dead singing it, but he sure knows what it means. Apparently, he will take advantage of everything that happens to tempt us to stop trusting and cease obeying. This not only devours our joy but left unchecked can lead to self-destruction.
To counter the disconnect, we must be ready to plug back into the Lord at a moment's notice. Whenever you start losing the peace and confidence Jesus gives, check the connection! Otherwise, you will quickly find your life embroiled in stress, anxiety, despair or other signs of captivity to the enemy. It's not that the enemy causes every unwanted thing that throws you off balance. No, we all have emotional reactions to stuff that happens. The evil ones prompt those reactions and use them to tempt us to stop trusting or cease obeying. That doesn't have to happen. Don't take this passively! You can't stop your emotions from going off, but you are in charge of how you will respond both to your emotions and to the events that set them off.[ii]
Every fresh challenge presents us with an opportunity to grow spiritually into Christ or to fall backwards into reliance upon Self-- our former graceless and unfruitful way of life.[iii] When your emotions go off, when you feel disconnected from the Lord and His peace, you still have a choice!
Remembering this, recognizing the opportunity and taking advantage of it, means that we need some principle of simplicity to ingrain the new ways. A.C.T.! fast to reconnect by 1) admitting that you need His help, 2) calling on His Name, 3) trusting your situation to at least one of His promises, 4) acting upon guidance He may give you by His Word or His Spirit, and 5) thanking Him for helping you even before the final resolution arrives. Restored peace is always His sign to you of a solid faith connection on your part.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 ESV
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 ESV
Father, thank You that I don't have to face life's challenges and temptations alone for You, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always with me! Help me learn to recognize when I am losing Your peace--that is always the sign that my faith connection is being nibbled on by the enemy. Strengthen me to fight back by calling on Your Name and by seeking a Spirit-graced promise to believe so that my trust can be restored. Then enable me to go all out in seeking You for a step of guidance that will lead me through to victory.
[i] 1 Peter 5:8-9: Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.
[ii] Deuteronomy 30:19: I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.
[iii] Throughout this book I will be capitalizing "Self" to indicate the fallen condition of living unsurrendered to Christ under the rule of our own self-will. This is the supreme "work of the flesh" which places our lives at enmity with God and His will for us. When "self" simply means ourselves as the person God created and loves, I have left it in lower case. Galatians 5:18-19: But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident.
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