Shut the front door! Too late! He’s already moved in. I mean, seriously, he is living in the guest room. I thought it was going to be for a brief stint. However, it seems as though he really likes this environment. I thought my praying aloud, singing my favorite “Take me the throne” songs, creating choreography for the dance ministry, blogging about the goodness of the Lord and reading the Word would have made him want to leave. Yet, the harder I go, the harder he goes. Somebody’s got to give! And then, that small, still voice reminds me that this battle was fought and won at Calvary. My house guest, the resident who has created every fiery dart imaginable may think that he has caused some major damage, and to a certain extent, I have to acknowledge his busyness. Yet everything that comes nigh my dwelling (including him) was paid by Christ on the cross. But what happens when that reminder is a bit harder to recognize and even more difficult to accept? What happens when he is still occupying that extra room? What happens when the enemy has taken residence in your guest room?
As believers we spend a great deal of time in spaces where we receive instruction and good counsel about celebrating the goodness of God, with abundant blessings and divine favor, and yet, we don’t spend as much time understanding how to remain connected to God and faithful when it feels as if the enemy has a stronghold on your life. When all hell is breaking out around you, there is an expectation or tendency to ignore it or risk the penalty given by other ride or die Christians who ostracize you for stumbling in your faith, and failing to shout on cue at the onset of adversity. The truth of the matter is, you can shout, run, fall out and speak in tongues and the same trouble you faced before your praise doesn’t always disappear. In fact, the trouble seems to have turntup! Nevertheless, we are reminded that in this life we will face trials and tribulations and God’s grace is sufficient.
In the time of trouble, I survey my history. If I’m seeking God I will usually get a heads up through the Holy Spirit. God is always speaking, but I’m not always listening. When I’m connected, I can see the attack from afar off. When I’m disconnected, I’m caught off guard and am underprepared. The enemy desires that we are underprepared. He’s betting on us forgetting the Word that was deposited in us a few hours after Sunday. He’s hoping that an email from a colleague will solicit a nasty response. He’s anxious to hear us say aloud that we’re tired, we’re weak and frustrated with our circumstances. He’s squealing to see us turn to everyone and everything except God. He’s waiting for the signs of surrender~those that are distinctively different from surrendering to God. He’s looking for that behavior that does not define us as a disciple of Christ.
As I shared with a sister-in-Christ last summer, the enemy may have me in the dugout from time to time, but I refuse to remain on his team and go to the field for him! Its in those dark times, that I must dig deep to the living water to quench my anxiety and thirst for the one who knows the plans he has for me. God is not sleeping while the enemy is rearranging the furniture in the guest room. As a matter of fact, God is landlord and when he determines that the tenant has done what is necessary to bring about the good fruit in my life and yours, he will serve the eviction notice. Until that time, I must treat the enemy like the relative who resides in the room that we don’t speak of. That means refusing to talk him up and give him credit. That means acting as though he does not exist, because in the big plan of God, he does not matter. He is a non factor in my rationale to give God glory. He can make noise, and others around may ask, “what’s that noise?” and we can respond, “what noise?” The only sound we must pay attention to is the voice of God.
All things will come to an expected end. So whether trouble shows itself in a month to month lease or what feels like a 30 year mortgage, we must hold fast to the agreement we made when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. Christ made certain by his death, burial and resurrection that we would not end up in default. How might we repay him? Well, we can never repay him, but we can offer up a sacrifice of praise every chance we get. You know, when you make enough “noise” people will get tired of being around you and choose to move someplace else. Why not give the enemy a righteous headache and send him packing? Let him abandon you. Just a vacancy, the enemy doesn’t live here anymore.