I’ve heard my husband preach this a million times: The Christian journey is a battleship, not a cruise ship.
Too often, we expect things to be smooth sailing after salvation. And there’s some truth to that, as you know the Captain and you know the outcome. (Spoiler alert: God wins.)
But there are also going to be battles. ESPECIALLY if you are leading others to the Lord. Satan might have lost you but he doesn’t want to lose others BECAUSE of you.
He hates you, but he isn’t necessarily going to show that. You know how it goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer?
It’s like that.
He’s going to keep you nearby, without you realizing what he’s doing at all. Remember Mean Girls? Pure sabotage, with you not realizing a thing.
And the absolute worst part?
We fall for the same things over and over.
Have you played a game like Connect Four or Chinese Checkers? You develop strategic patterns. Even Ms. Pac-Man players usually have a set pattern if you play frequently enough.
Satan does that. He may switch it up a little, but once he’s beaten you once, he tends to stick to the same pattern.
For me, it’s my health.
It’s ALWAYS my health.
I’ll be doing great and he’ll throw something on me and it knocks me down. For years, I would think “this time” I can handle pain medicine when something would happen that would require medication. (I couldn’t and it was often like an alcoholic with his first drink after being sober for awhile. ALL OVER and not serving the Lord at all.) But I’ve managed to sidestep that trap for a little while, most recently after a fall that was incredibly brutal.
So Satan tried harder.
And this time he used an area where I’d allowed him to gain ground.
It’s not like I sit around and binge on cakes and potato chips all night long. But I am from the South where our tea is made with a little water and a lot of sugar. I’m a frequent hostess which means desserts are readily available in my kitchen and I’m a huge Coca-Cola fan and that doesn’t include their diet line.
So my sugar level was dangerously high and I refused to change my habits. I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself, I justified.
But then it started affecting my ministry. How? Simple, I couldn’t write. I couldn’t counsel. I could barely stay awake through services. I was tired all the time. I was irritable and snarky. And not in my usual facetious way but a definite mean girl snark. I began bonding with Dasani water bottles multiple times throughout the night and napping throughout the day. I might not have gotten on pain medicine but wasn’t the result was the same? I wasn’t good for anything anymore.
I realized that Satan had just changed the pattern a little but still played the same old game and backed me into a corner.
The question was, what now?
I hadn’t been to a doctor in years; the Lord had healed my body and going to a doctor felt like pure defeat. It was as if I was rejecting my healing.
But didn’t I start rejecting my healing when I refused to give up the things my body was rebelling against?
It was a need for control. It was a lack of discipline.
And the Lord was calling me out.
I was Ms. Pac-Man with the goblin closing in on me. I was halfway between my utter demise and the Power Dot that comes from Above. I had a choice. Stay there and die or move.
I am not crazy about the outcome but fortunately, the doctor I found is fine with looking at this as a temporary solution until I restore my health.
Three days into a treatment that consists of jabbing myself multiple times a day (yay), I woke up this morning finally feeling like myself again. Realizing what a haze I’ve been under and admitting that I’ve allowed the devil a stronghold in my life.
Giving Satan a stronghold doesn’t always mean you’ve done “bad” things.
In fact, I think that’s how he gets us sometimes.
If you know Christ, and you are in the midst of a battle that you feel like you’re losing, look for your Power Dot. It’s there, just waiting for you to make a move.