Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit
Recognizing and Winning Spiritual Warfare:
Question for class discussion:
As a spiritual exercise, name a fear, state the message it is giving to you, and then ask the Holy Spirit what the truth is. What’s the opposite of the fear’s message? What is Jesus telling you about it? Whatever he says, make sure you don’t stop praying until you hear him assuring you of his love and his involvement. And then figure out: What step can you take that means doing the opposite of fear’s message?
D.A. posted her excellent testimony:
My oldest daughter and I have always had anger between us. I can truly say that I was overwhelmed by her anger, because she wouldn’t hold back on her words. It was literally something that was so hurtful that I found myself sinking into a depression that I, at the time, didn’t recognize as such. The more I prayed and asked God to help us, it seemed she was getting worse with her words of hate.
One day, I said, “God I can’t take it anymore. What do I do?” The thought of “lack of faith” and the unknown came to my mind. And in my heart, I felt I needed to stop judging her and stop answering her with anger. So, by the grace of God, I began by not answering her right away. The more I listened to her, the more I heard the struggles within her. She has severe back problems and takes pain meds on top of being a diabetic. In the last three years we came very close to losing her three different times. The more I listen now, the more I hear her fears, but now I speak more gently, and I let her vent. I discovered that the meds she’s on contribute to her anger.
God showed me it was fear of the unknown that was tearing us apart. But when I listened to God, I finally realized that everything is in His hands, because He’s the God of mercy.
C.F. answered with this:
I felt called to do the Lord’s work. But I have a fear: Is it really God calling me to this? Can I do it? Will I be able to do it? How will I cope with the new place, the language, the food, the environment? The opposite is YES, you can do this in CHRIST who strengthens you.
I keep praying and discerning, telling the Lord, “Please keep putting this thing in my mind always, like a nagging reminder – so I know it is Your will!” But – no – all day long I never think about it. It hardly keeps coming to my mind. It is only whenever I sit down to pray that I think about this and bring it up to the Lord again. So I am wondering, is this really what the Lord wants? (How I wish he could just talk me like he did with Moses and Isaiah and Elijah. Life will be so much easier Lord, I tell him constantly!!!)
Steps: I think to have total trust in HIM and perhaps wait for some loving assurance?
Response from Terry:
You described the fear that almost every good Christian experiences. We want to do the Lord’s will. We know that he knows what’s best. We’re willing but fearful of making a mistake that will displease the Lord and subsequently cause problems. It’s the fear of the Lord, really, which is the holy fear often mentioned in scripture. It’s a wholesome awareness of our smallness compared to God’s bigness, and of our desire to please God in all things.
God honors this kind of fear. But he wants you to take the next step, which you identified. This step involves moving forward in what you think is probably God’s will, based on what fills your heart during prayer. The absence of the nagging reminder during the day might only mean that you’re distracted from hearing the still, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.
The loving assurance will come when you act upon what you think might be God’s will. By choosing to take a step in total trust of God’s involvement in your life, you will gain further discernment. If you move in a direction that is not what the Lord wills, then he will gently but noticeably block you, redirect you, and/or teach you something about this misdirected effort. And if it is the Lord’s will, then he will bless your effort and make things fall into place for it (albeit in his perfect timing, which might mean more waiting).
Demons might not be causing your fear, but demons do know how to take advantage of our doubts and hesitations. So, if and when there is spiritual warfare around discernment, we are victorious when we take a step forward, trusting God to redirect us if we’re wrong about what to do. The key thing is: You really want to do God’s will. That’s what saves us from error and sin when we act upon our dreams and plans.
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