A woman feels a calling upon her life – a calling into the vocation of ministry. She submits. She responds. She seeks the path to follow. Quickly she finds herself beset by difficulties… her health, the health of her children, the lack of support in her marriage, the friends who tell her over and over that she is about to throw away her life. There is no money for seminary, no time, people need her; they need her now and she cannot let them down by being this selfish. Satan speaks over and over to her, “This life is not the life for you. You are not worthy of it. You are needed elsewhere. Turn away from this false promise.”
2 Corinthians 10 (NLT)
1By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
The wife hears the diagnosis and knows it is not good. Her husband is sick, terminal, the doctor said. She prays for help, for healing, for a miracle. The Facebook preacher declares, “You have a RIGHT to be healed! You must simply speak life and disease will be broken off of your life! (and don’t forget to hit ‘like’ and ‘share this video – oh, and things would probably go better still if you ‘sowed into this healing ministry with your financial proclamation – just comment #donate and we’ll get back to you). Desperate for that miracle, she does – she listens and prays and likes and comments and donates – but the miracle does not come. It is her fault, she is told, she does not pray the right words or believe as sincerely as she should or perhaps she has not repented of her ‘hidden sin.’ What have I done? She thinks. Satan has found fertile soil and speaks into her life, “This preacher is a fraud, and your God is a fraud. There is no Truth, there are no miracles. Turn away from your childish belief.”
The addict hears a true Gospel message and repents. He wants to be saved. He wants Jesus. He wants life. The moment is powerful and emotional and moving. Promises are made that life will now truly begin – that “all things are possible through Christ Who strengthens me.” The next day, the need for the drug returns. He prays like he was told to. He begs God for help. He begs God to make the pain and the need go away. It does not. Satan speaks into his ear, “You put your faith in a fairy tale – the only real thing in life is that drug and the need for that drug is how you know you are alive. Turn away from this false hope.”
Galatians 1:6-10 (NLT)
6I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
8Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
10Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
A young woman marries the love of her life. He is strong, funny, caring, and handsome. He is everything that she desires except a submitted follower of Christ. There is passion, there is excitement, there are children – and then the man walks away. He sees no need to stay because he sees no larger picture beyond the sex and the fun. The woman, who has been praying for his salvation, is broken. Her prayers were not answered, and she feels abandoned – by both her husband and her God. All Satan says is, “I told you so. Your God is not good. Your God is powerless. Turn away from this false relationship.”
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)
10A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12For wec are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.d16In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.e 17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
A pastor sits in his or her office weeping because they have already had three conversations that week with people who are suffering – physically, spiritually, and emotionally suffering – but the pastor can do nothing but listen. The pastor prays for help, for healing, for GOD TO DO SOMETHING FOR THESE PEOPLE! And that is the time that Satan speaks into his or her ear, “You are useless because He is useless. You can’t help these people. It is hopeless and so are you. Turn away from this calling.”
Ephesians 3:7-19 (NIV) 7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. 14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.