I have shared before that I am going through a really challenging season right now that is like nothing I have ever experienced. Some things this past week just really threatened to steal my victory and send me packing. When things get tough I often have two extremes that I revert back to…I either throw myself into a lot of work and become really busy or withdraw from the world…either way, I try to shove down my hurt and ignore the pain, hoping that it will go away on its own. These old habits die hard.
Unfortunately, the enemy doesn’t work that way…I guess I should say, the enemy does work that way – he tries to convince us if we ignore it that it will disappear and everything will be fine, but all the while we have a wound festering, becoming infected, and (please excuse this very vulgar but also very realistic metaphor) like real constipation, emotional constipation gives you the “squirts” as well…it will come out at some inopportune time.
Several nights this week I could hear God calling me, asking me to get out of bed and come to Him (nighttime is often the best time because my family is asleep and I am uninterrupted). I literally told Him, “God, please not right now. I just want to sleep. I don’t want to think about this right now.” The enemy threatened to make me feel guilty for not talking to God, but God reminded me that even though I did not get up and allow Him to help me, I didn’t stop talking to Him. I told Him that I was hurting and that I was afraid of opening the dam of emotions, and that is a great place to start, but then we have to allow the Healer to do His work.
This morning Pastor Joe (www.celebrationchurchtx.com) shared a message that God sent straight to my heart, and I’d like to share some of that with you. We are in a series entitled “GENESIS: It’s not over. It’s only the beginning.” This morning Pastor Joe began talking about “the fall”, meaning the fall of mankind, and he asked us to look at these signs and consider them in reflection of “the fall” in our own life. If we can see them, we can be aware and stop them.
SIGNS OF THE FALL:
1. The Beginning of the Fall… has a Beginner
• Eve is the beginner, right, she bit the apple first…wrong. Satan is the beginner, he initiated the entire scenario…satan is the enemy, not man or woman.
• When Jesus was tempted after fasting for 40 days, he didn’t even glance at the “thing” satan offered…that would be allowing the enemy to redirect his focus. Jesus looked through what satan presented and saw the enemy behind it. Jesus did not focus on the bait…he saw the hook.
• Satan, “the beginner”, wants to distract us from what God is doing
“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” -1 Peter 5:8 (AMP)
“Put on God’s whole armor…that you may be able to successfully stand against the strategies and deceits of the devil” –Ephesians 6:11 (AMP)…BE PREPARED! Did you know that Marines literally sleep with their weapons? They are never caught off guard or unprepared…believe me, I know, my husband is a Marine (in a family of them).
2 Corinthians 2:11 says that we are taken advantage of when we are ignorant.
2. The Beginning of a Fall…Starts with Weakness
• Satan came to tempt Jesus after he had fasted for 40 days.
• We must recognize that when we are weak we are susceptible to temptation.
• When we are spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally tired (because we are constantly go-go-go, adrenaline junkies in a fast paced world)…then we become susceptible to a fall. (And being physically and emotionally drained with no fuel station in sight left me very susceptible this week).
“ And when the devil had ended every temptation he [temporarily] left Him [that is, he stood off from Him] until another more opportune and favorable time.” –Luke 4:13…the devil loves to lull us into a false sense of security, but he lies in wait for our moments of weakness to pounce.
We must keep standing…be vigilant.
3. The Beginning of a Fall…Takes Place in the Mind.
(side note: Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” is an EXCELLENT resource to help understand and fend of attack in this area; also, Beth Moore’s book, “Praying God’s Word” is a helpful resource.)
• Before you fall with your eyes, you fall in your mind
• 2 Corinthians 4: 4 says that satan works by blinding hearts.
4. The Beginning of the Fall…Ignores the Warnings
WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
• ISOLATION – satan is like a pirate who attacks lonely ships
• CONVERSATION – women especially, we are often moved by conversation…but it is not just women, men too…(consider in the area of infidelity, men don’t always choose the most physically attractive woman, there is an emotional connection forged through conversation that was not stopped when it should have been)
• RATIONALIZATION – be aware when you start to rationalize your decision in your mind or even finding yourself trying to convince others of the motives and choices
DO NOT TOUCH WHAT GOD SAYS DO NOT TOUCH! For me personally, a strong area of struggle is relationships with hurting people or especially their hurts or issues. My heart longs to nurture other hearts and help them through, but I need to recognize that God has not called me to get in everyone’s business that way and instead of helping to heal them I will only damage myself. I know well that my sin not only affects me but my husband and our children, and I know that I must heed God’s warnings and do not touch what God says “no” to…satan knows the Word, friends, and he has no qualms about distorting the Word of God to guilt you into doing something that is what God said not to do…satan distorted God’s words in the garden to convince Eve that God did not have the best intentions toward her….which brings us to our final point…
5. The Beginning of a Fall…Believes a Lie
• When Adam and Eve believed the lie they lost their innocence, their life, their freedom, their love and affections; they lost their tender hearts and were filled with shame and fear.
• Jesus came to give us back our freedom, to show us wholeness.
• Gen. 3:21 – God didn’t just pronounce judgment on Adam and Eve either. He still had grace on them and made them tunics of skin to protect their bodies that they were now painfully aware of, but this required sacrifice, it required blood. God loved them so much He did not leave them naked, and He does not leave us naked either.