The enemy uses our passion for being in God’s will against us. Here’s a 5-part strategy for standing up to the questions that undermine your confidence and threaten your calling.
“I’m beginning to think this was all a mistake. We weren’t really in God’s will after all,” I told my husband.
He stood firm, recounting how God had spoken through His Word and through other believers. Every detail had lined up and everywhere we turned we had seen His answer to prayer. We were where we were supposed to be. This was not a mistake.
As I listened to my husband, I was transported back two years. He was right. Back then it was exhilarating. We had a renewed sense of purpose and couldn’t wait to discover more of the “why” behind what God was clearly orchestrating.
But now things were hard. Really hard. And when things are hard, the flesh screams, “This can’t be right.”
Are we in God’s will?
The Process of Questioning: “Sometimes I wrestle with my demons; Other times we just snuggle”
Conversations like this popped up now and then, but each time we encouraged one another by retelling the story of how we got to that point.
It was all God. And if God had led us to it, He would lead us through it.
And then came the knock at my door. Well, more like the door of my heart.
I should have recognized the visitor, but I didn’t. He looked nothing like what I expected. He spoke with a soft whisper as he simply said, “Did God really say …?”
At first, my answer was, “Of course he did. It was clear as day.” And I shooed him off my sidewalk.
And then he came back. With a low voice, he questioned, “Are you certain God said …?”
I entertained the question a little longer since my recollection was a bit dimmer than before. “I think he did.” And I invited him to sit in the rocker on my porch and talk about it.
He returned later that winter. Light was in short supply during that season, but I could see his shadowy figure approaching the threshold.
“Listen,” he hissed, “You’re fooling yourself believing you moved in God’s will. We both know he didn’t really call you here. In fact, I wonder if he even cares that things are so hard.”
It was now dark outside and dark in my heart. As I stood there struggling to remember why he was wrong, he slithered in behind me.
And just like that, the crafty little beast now had full access to my home.
It took a while for me to realize he was there. Where his questions ended and my own began is fuzzy. It doesn’t really matter who asked what, I guess. The outcome was doubt. Doubt produced discouragement. And once discouragement had taken root, there was a full harvest of rotten fruit in my life.
And more questions. They seemed to breed faster than two bunnies as my youngest likes to say.
“Was I just kidding myself to think I can make a difference?”
“Who am I to think He would actually ‘call’ me to something?”
“If this is where I’m supposed to be, why is it so hard?”
From there, the days became wearisome and my sense of purpose and passion faded. I preached the truth to myself, but the artery that carried truth from my head to my heart had become clogged.
I questioned in the dark what God told us in the light.
Oh. No. You. Din’t
The process of Reclaiming: Spring cleaning and Pest control
Eventually, the Holy Spirit went on a spring-cleaning rampage.
Once the film was removed from the windows of my heart, I could see clearly. And I couldn’t believe how easily I had questioned if we were in God’s will. The snake was no match for the Spirit’s fluffy duster and he wasn’t a fan of the light, so he slithered out the back door.
Fast-forward a few years. He tried it again the other day. He knocked on my door and when I opened it, there he stood. In the shadows. Hissing at me from behind the bush. Same song, thousandth verse:
“What do you think you’re doing?
God didn’t call you to this.
Who do you think you are?
You made it all up.
This is way more than you are equipped to handle.
Come on now, Did God really say …”
But this time, I was more prepared.
Have I mentioned that my husband bought me a .380? Lock-and-load baby.
The enmity surged and I declared, “Oh. No. You. Din’t.” “You just messed with the wrong woman. I have a blog and I know how to use it.”
You see, I’ve had this post brewing on the back burner for over year.
But I kept thinking, “There’s so much written on this subject. Why would anyone need to hear my thoughts?”
Well, maybe they don’t. But what if they do?
What if revealing the enemy’s favorite tactics in my life helps someone else fight stronger, resist harder, and hold on?
Maybe that’s you, fellow soldier. If so, join me around the table and let’s talk strategy for a moment. Bring your shield.
5-part Strategy to Resist and Stand
1-Know thy enemy (Because thy enemy knows you)
I’ve learned the enemy uses our passion for being in God’s will against us. One of the things Christians value most is mission. We want (NEED) to know our obedience matters to the kingdom.
We want to be good soldiers. But since part of the deal is that we walk by faith, not by sight, we don’t get flashing arrows in the sky saying, “You are here. And this is right.” Thus, when the battle rages, we’re tempted to wonder if we wandered into a war that wasn’t necessary.
And so the first step is to recognize this vulnerability. And realize the enemy knows about it as well.
If he can cause us to doubt our calling, he can undermine our conviction to persevere and neutralize our efforts. He has perfected the art of making the believer question his purpose.
After all. He can’t steal our salvation, so the consolation prizes are our passion, our peace, and our joy at serving in the kingdom.
2-Test the questions
Some things never change. Check it out. Genesis 3. The enemy slithers up and “simply” asks a question, “Did God really say …?” You know the rest of the story. Eve took the bait and took a bite.
It’s a tale as old as time. Literally. (And I don’t mean the proverbial “literally.”) Satan’s line of questioning caused Eve to doubt God’s authority.
“But I don’t question God’s authority,” you say. Yep. That’s what I said.
I’m a Bible teacher after all. I believe in the all-sufficient, completely accurate, inspired WORD. God gets the final say on everything. Even if when I’m doing it wrong, I don’t question that it’s wrong. Because God said so.
There’s this thing called “good.” And somehow, I seem to believe that I’m a better judge of it than God. But God is not just the author of good, He is the AUTHORITY on good.
When things aren’t good according to my definition and I begin to doubt if God called me to it in the first place, then I am effectively questioning his authority to declare what is good.
It’s a sneaky sneak attack. Questions can get in the back door of our minds where frontal assaults would meet resistance.
This is because most questions ARE good. They bring clarity. And even if they don’t end in answers, we grow and develop by simply considering them.
Except when they don’t. Because sometimes they won’t. (Dr. Seuss)
Some questions are not worth my time or yours. So I’m learning to test the question before I even contemplate the answer.
If you are questioning right now, I invite you to question the question.
Why has it come up? Will answering it lead to clarity or confusion?
Is it just a strength sucker and dark rabbit hole?
And who is asking?
Remember: God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). That may help you determine the source.
3-Stay out of court
“Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil
prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.”
(1 Peter 5:8)
The word “adversary” is the Greek word for a legal opponent and “devil” means “slanderer.” Think about that combination.
What do lawyers do?
And if they are unscrupulous, they lead the witness, reframe the facts, and flat out confuse those trying to get to the truth.
And what does a slanderer do?
Tarnish your reputation and cause others to doubt your worth.
The enemy has his own kangaroo court. Here he questions our motives and argues against our qualifications. He brings up past sins as evidence for why we have no business attempting to represent God or tell His story.
“Who do you think you are?” he shouts from across the courtroom.
Peter specifically admonishes us to “be watchful.”
Don’t get served with one of those “surprise summonses.”
Recognize the charges. Have you been trying to defend yourself against accusations like this?
Don’t approach the bench for permission to step down. Just run. Out the back door.
You don’t belong in the enemy’s court. It’s nothing but a distraction.
4-Don’t be surprised
It comes down to this:
Just because you’re drawing fire doesn’t mean you’re NOT in God’s will.
In fact, it may be validation that you are defending a strategic location.
Think about all the “s’s” in Ephesians 6:11-12.
- cosmic powerS
- spiritual forceS
- in the heavenly placeS
The war is real and the enemy has plural everything: plans, powers, places. So don’t be surprised that it’s hard and that everywhere you turn there is a struggle. But above all remember:
The enemy’s plural is no match for God’s singular.
One God. Greater. Greater is HE that is in you. (1 John 4:4) And don’t you think He is big enough to lead you where He wants you?
5-Hold your position
Did you get marching orders? Did you pray, seek godly counsel, and base the decision on Scriptural truth?
And now things seem to be going nowhere. Or worse, falling apart.
Or maybe you’re just exhausted and feeling overwhelmed?
And you’re wondering if you were called to this after all?
Don’t retreat yet. Hang on a little while longer. Pray. Confess to a trusted friend or advisor your doubts. Search Scripture. Ask God for wisdom.
Until you’re certain God is calling you to something new,
keep doing the last thing He told you.
Even though it doesn’t seem good.
Even though the adversary accuses.
Even though the battle rages.
And remember you have an arsenal full of the most powerful weapons. Put them to use while you test the questions and survey the battle.
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
and take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit,
with all prayer and supplication.”
And then …
If you get a knock on the door and open to find the creature hissing at you from the shadows … Lock-and-Load, baby.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Just because you’re drawing fire doesn’t mean you are out of God’s will.” quote=”Just because you’re drawing fire doesn’t mean you are out of God’s will.”]
[clickToTweet tweet=”Until you’re certain God is calling you to something new, keep doing the last thing He told you” quote=”Until you’re certain God is calling you to something new, keep doing the last thing He told you”]
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