THIS WEEK: A Mission-Minded Person Knows their Opposition!
“Don’t let them get inside of your head!”
“You have to have the heart to win!”
“Practice. Practice. Practice.”
All three of these phrases I remember hearing many times from my basketball coaches. Along with the daily practice to hone your skills, they knew that the foundation of a successful player was their heart (motivation) and their mind (thoughts).
If a player had lost their love of the game, their intensity and commitment to practice and the team waned. If a player had a bad day at school, just broke up with their girlfriend, or got annoyed at the refs, their focus and awareness diminished. Without the heart and head engaged, the desire or effort to practice drifted as well.
To show up with your “A” game and have the greatest opportunity to win the game, individually and as a team, we needed our heart, our head, and our hands to all be in congruence.
To achieve the mission God has sent us on we need the same.
The problem is, so does Satan. He knows that if he can distract our heart, get into our head, and demotivate us from doing the actions that please God, he will prevent us from showing up with our “A” game on the court of God’s mission to reach the lost.
In the synagogue at Capernaum, we saw how the Opposition loved to intentionally or unintentionally attack the good news. As Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, a good person possessed by Satan comes in.
The irony? The demons knew who Jesus was. Listen:
Mark 1:23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
I have never experienced true demon possession. It still happens that demons physically and mentally control an individual. However, I know Satan loves to attack core aspects of my being…my heart…my head…and my hands. When any one of those loses its focus and intensity on the Lord, Satan loves to count it as a victory.
- He seeks to control my heart (trust/faith)
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
- He seeks to control my head. (thoughts)
Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; … 6 The mind of sinful man is death, …Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
- And when he influences the first two, he can control my hands (actions).
Galatians 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, …hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
Satan is not going to let up. The great news is Jesus, as the demons asked, did come to destroy the devil’s work. We will look at that tomorrow!
Apply: Where is the weak spot in your life of faith? Does Satan get your heart to love something other than God first and fully? Does Satan get in your head and convolute your thoughts with inputs and ideas that are not godly? Does Satan lead you to act in a way that is not glorifying to God?
Prayer: Lord help me to recognize Satan’s attack on my heart, head and hands. With your Spirit’s power, help me overcome and defeat him! AMEN
Passage and Prayer for the Ministry of Cross & Crown:
Wednesday – February 3 – Hebrews 11:1
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
PRAYER: Grow our faith, God. Help us see what You see, and take the next steps You lead us to take with confidence and assurance of Your wisdom.