I have asked God, "why does it seem to snow every Saturday night?"
We can have a cold but bearable week, then come Saturday the snow starts to fall. And as we all prepare to gather for worship Sunday morning, either setting up microphones or dressing a herd of children, what is on our minds and hearts is snowplows rather than grace and growth. I hate to even mention it, but there is MORE snow forecast for this weekend. As the wind chill dipped to -35 last weekend I asked myself, would I go out to church first thing in the morning of a messy snow if I was not preaching? And of all the days, why does it hit every single Sunday?
In the religious tradition I grew up in we did not talk about spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is the reality, as Marissa describes, "no good deed stands unopposed". It is more than a mythical devil in a red suit trying to make you trip in life; there are real spiritual powers and principalities that are working against the good work of God in this world - from the beginning of time. We all know from experience this is true. Just when you feel you are making progress have you ever felt like something or someone went out of their way to slow you down?
Maybe you have taken some steps to follow Jesus. Prayer is more consistent. Generosity is growing. Communicating in your family is starting to actually take place in a healthier capacity. Then all of a sudden, almost out of nowhere, something happens that not only slows all that down but puts you back further than you were before. "Just when I feel I am am making progress something happens that wants to make it worse." I hear that all the time as your pastor.
Now I do not think weather is necessarily the devil incarnate (maybe ice and snow on my driveway is, but you get what I am saying). Yet, I do believe we are at a critical time in the life of our church and in the spiritual life of people who have come to faith at Big Life C.C. In ways large and small, each one of us will have something apply pressure to us, to attack us, in an attempt to move us away from Jesus, away from mission, and away from others who need us... especially in the framework of being part of a new church. That is a simple reality in the work we do. If you are moving towards Jesus, make no mistake, something is trying to and likely succeeding in moving you away from Jesus.
So what do we as believers do about it? Our solution is not to apply more of our own will power and work ethic. Our hope and strength is trusting in a God who will go to battle for us with a power bigger than our own - every day long. Will you join me in prayer this week for all the ways that good work stands opposed in your life and in the life of our church?
We pray God's courage for those confronting an ethical question at work. We pray God's words for those facing conflict or thinking of inviting someone to worship. We pray God's provision for those wanting to trust Him with their money. We pray God's energy for those who are bothered by the hassle of weather as they are trying to seek God through worship. We pray conviction for those who do not want to join the habits of gossip and putdown going on all around them. We pray tenacity for business owners who are believing the petty voices telling them their made a mistake starting this company. We pray for you in choosing to move another step closer to God through difficulty rather than to take the easier course and move back away from God.
What is it for you? Where do you need God's strength to deal with the attacks coming your way? Your struggle is real. Feel free to drop me an email and leaders in the church will take the time to lift you up before God in prayer.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.