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Sunday, February 12, 2017

The enemy within

Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us. (Charles Spurgeon)

I have heard many a conflicted soul tell of the battle with those enemies within - bringing them to their knees more than once. There are those who see those enemies as something we must be rid of in order to move on, but I wonder how the Apostle Paul would see that one. He prayed, evidently repeatedly, requesting some "thorn" be removed that gave him a constant battle of some sort. Allegedly, it was something that kept him from getting too high a perception of himself - keeping him humble. I wonder if some of the "enemies" within are really those types of things that help to keep us humble?

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT)


We might have been praying for deliverance from the enemies within, but as Paul indicates, it is quite possible that God's power is being revealed in the battle! Most of us think of power as deliverance - God might just see it as leaning a little more into his strength when the battle rages until we are living our way "through" the attack by the grace of God within! Kind of like a light in the darkest of rooms, God's power works best when weakness is the means by which his grace and power is most clearly revealed. 

Each time he said... 

There are probably times when we'd like a different answer from God, but "each time he says" what we probably don't want to hear, but need to hear nonetheless. God answers that he isn't going to deliver you from that rocky relationship, but that his grace will be sufficient to walk through even the most tenuous of places. God answers that he isn't going to magically fix that problem your over-spending got you into, but that his grace will teach you how to walk in wisdom where it comes to your finances as you slowly dig out. God answers he isn't going to remove that one coworker who constantly gets on your nerves, but that his grace will show you ways to bless that coworker instead.

God acts "contrary" to what we "reason" should happen in our lives many times - not because he wants us to suffer, but so he can show just how real his grace is and how powerful his presence can actually be within each of us. We may not like the "each time he said" answer we keep receiving, but it probably is the answer we need to hear the most! As with Paul, we will be able to stand in the certainty that when we lack the wisdom and strength, he stands strong to give us the wisdom which exceeds our understanding and the supernatural strength to walk through that place we'd probably rather just run from in the first place.

How is the power of Christ working through your lives today? Could it be in answering that question you see some area where an enemy within is waging battle, but in turn God's grace and power is helping you to stand stronger than the pull of that enemy's forceful efforts to bring you down? The battle doesn't always go to the strong - it goes to the ones willing to remain humble, lean in a little closer, and rely upon the grace and power of God within them to carry them through! Just sayin!