Today's post comes from Toya at Faith.Hope.Love - Inspiration for Life's Journey“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. ” (Luke 22:31, 32 NLT)
Simon, I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out...(Luke 22:32 MSG)
Have you ever felt that your faith was failing? That you've prayed, fasted and praised yourself into a "holy tizzy" but you still find yourself discouraged and faithless? Or that you've grown so tired of waiting on God that you no longer pray, dropped out of your bible study and would rather spend Sunday lying on the couch than going to the house of worship?
There are certain situations and times in our life where we will be discouraged. Discouragement is a tool of the enemy to get us to give up on God and get distracted from our purpose. In my own life I've seen Satan use what I refer to as the the "triple threat" to weaken my faith : Doubt, Fear and Anxiety.
Doubt: Anytime you've been believing God for something and there's been no breakthrough or change in a situation doubt can easily creep in. While you still may keep the request on your prayer list and make your petitions known to God and others, that doesn't always stop thoughts like "can God really fix it?" or "whats the point in praying?" to take over and chip away at your faith. I often hear people say "Well I believe God CAN do anything but I just don't believe he will do it for MY situation". Sound familiar, huh? I've come to learn that kind of thinking is a trick of the enemy. If not dealt with quickly, doubt can become a hindrance to the very prayer we are already "wishy washy" about.
Fear: Once Satan has planted a seed of doubt into our mind, fear is usually the next culprit to strike. Satan wants us to become fearful that our situations won't turn around and our prayers will never be answered. Having fear of what your future holds instead of hopeful expectations can be a recipe for disaster. When you operate out of fear you can begin to think the surest way to get your desired outcome is by manipulating people and situations to take control. If we are controlling a situation, this leaves no room for God to work a miracle, which is exactly what our enemy wants to happen. While fear is a common feeling we all have, we don't have to give in to our fears to the point where they hinder our faith. We have to confront our fears and fight back with an unshakeable confidence that trusts in Gods perfect plan. I love how Joyce Meyer says it: "Fear is a dead end but Faith always has a future"
Anxiety: Now that the enemy has us doubting Gods power and fearful of the future he uses feelings of anxiety to completely wear us down! The root meaning of the word anxiety is: 'to vex or trouble'; in either presence or absence of psychological stress. So even if there is no REAL danger, stress or threat anxiety can still come up on us (it's all in our mind!)
Playing out all the "what if" scenarios only lead to worry, dread, uneasiness and depression. We can getso caught up in worry about things that may or may not happen that we lose focus on what's happening in our life now!
Matthew 6:34 MSG translation says : "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Worrying about the future will not accomplish anything or make your prayers get answered faster. We have to trust God and his timing, he will give us all we need to persevere through any pain.
At some point, most of us will be hit with the "triple threat". However, isn't it encouraging to know that we have a savior who is interceding for us? The same way he did for Peter we have to believe that he can and will do the same for us. If the enemy is attacking you with doubt, fear and anxiety, I invite you to say this simple prayer:
Jesus, I come to you asking you to replace my doubts with belief (Mark 9:23, 24) and help me confront my fears with hopeful expectations that you have a perfect plan for my life (Jer 29:11). When I begin to worry and be anxious about circumstances beyond my control help me to be content with my portion and seek your peace that passes all understanding so that my faith will remain strong. (Philippians 4:6,7) Lord I trust you with my whole heart and I'm grateful that you know just what I need. Thank you for covering me in your love.