Strategy for the New Year: Uncovering our Real Enemy

I believe that this will be the year–the year when I finally build a “writing life.” In my mind that involves getting up early—to pray and to read and to put down on paper the insights that I feel God reveals to me.  I started out well, getting up even without an alarm, excited and joyous about engaging this new adventure.

And I’m still excited and hopeful.  But the past several days things have gotten hard.  I haven’t been able to get myself out of bed early, and I haven’t been able to find energy to sit down and write.  I’ve been beating myself up about it—inwardly calling myself lazy and undisciplined, telling myself that I don’t love Jesus enough because I don’t want to get up early and spend time with him.  But the truth is: I’m not lazy, I’m not particularly undisciplined (though, like most, I have room to grow in that area), and I DO want to spend time with Jesus.  So, why has it been so hard to get out of bed in the mornings, so hard to sit down and start writing?

As He does, God gave me an insight.  This afternoon I started wondering how much of this battle I’m experiencing is just me and how much may be the enemy trying to thwart me.  Whether he’s trying to thwart me because he doesn’t want my writing to make an impact on the hearts and lives of others, or whether he’s trying to crush my dreams and passions in order to discourage me personally, I don’t know for sure.  I suspect it’s both.  But it certainly feels like there has been an awful lot of opposition.

It’s hard for me to even write this publicly.  I know many might say that I’m making excuses for my own laziness.  But I’m beginning to think that we who call ourselves Christ-followers have been skillfully deceived into believing that all the temptations we face originate within ourselves–that our “flesh” is responsible for all our weaknesses and failures.  But the Bible says differently: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

John and Stasi Eldredge say, in their book Love and War, “You live in a world at war.  Spiritual attack must be a category you think in or you will misunderstand more than half of what happens in your [life].”  Perhaps it is time we awaken to this reality.  If we want to pursue our passions, to see people awakened to their need for God, to see His kingdom advanced–then perhaps we need to stop beating ourselves up and turn our attention to the real enemy.

As for me and my specific battle over my writing, it takes a load off my shoulders to know that the resistance I feel is not just me being worthless.  And it encourages me to start trying out some new strategies…praying for strength to get up early–rather than just setting my alarm and giving myself a stern talking to every night that “tomorrow I’ve got to actually make it happen.”

And even if I still struggle, which I rather expect I will, I’m going to try to remember that “He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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