Three Enemies!

by Cliff Ravenscraft on April 28, 2005

in Blog

Yesterday, I received an email from a friend of mine who ministers to literrally THOUSANDS of people each year. In his email he wrote… “I was going through a trial period in my life where I just felt down. I was praying one evening and Jesus spoke to me about rekindling my vision for future.”
Have you ever had one of those points in your spiritual journey, where you ‘just felt down'? I'm just coming out of one of those times myself. About eight or nine days before McKenna was born, I came home from work feeling really tired and weak. That evening, I was up all night long with 103.5 temperature. It turns out that I was down with strep throat. That entire week leading up to McKenna's birth, I was useless to my family. By this I mean, I had literally no energy to help discipline our children and I slept nearly twice as long as I was awake. When I was awake, I was lying down. It was horrible.
The Sunday just before McKenna came was about the first day I really felt like I had some energy, but still didn't feel quite myself. This was the case until about the middle of this past week. However, even though I was feeling better by then, I noticed that I just felt down myself. Not completely depressed by any means, but I just felt “down.”
I've been reading Wild At Heart by John Eldridge over the past few weeks and two days ago I read something that reminded me that I am involved in a WAR. I can't believe just how quickly I can forget that I have an enemy out there who is seeking to destroy me and my family. Who is trying to keep me from being productive at work and who is trying to keep me from being effective in my ministry.
One thing always seems to happen to me when an illness like this comes about, I tend to loose all focus on prayer and God's word and after I feel well, it takes quite some time to really get back into the swing of things. Here's the thing, I was unplugged from the power source and my battery was running low.
Two things really spoke to me, these past two days, that helped me gain back my focus on God. First, in Wild at Heart, I was reminded that… I actually fight against three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. I recognize that these three enemies conspire together and that in any battle, at least two of them are involved, but usually it will be all three. I recognize that I fight these enemies at all times over many different battlefields, including, but not limited to the terrain at home, at work, and in the Church.
The past three mornings, including today, have been different for me. I've prayed for extended periods of time. Yesterday, I placed a pocket sized “THE MESSAGE” version of the NT in my pocket. In the middle of they day I took a quick break to read just a little and God really layed one part of this on my heart. In 1 Timothy, chapter two, Paul wrote… “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know…”
The other thing I got out of Wild at Heart was this… “A warrior is cunning. He knows when to fight and when to run, he can sense a trap and never charges blindly ahead.” Also I found this quote in the book… “A warrior knows what weapons to carry and how to use them.”
It's amazing how God speaks to us. I realize that I've not been a cunning warrier. I've been unplugged from my power source and from my commanding officer. I've been blindly charging ahead in the leadership of my family, in my career, and in my ministry. I've been falling into traps that my three enemies, The World, The Flesh, and The Devil, have been setting for me and others around me.
Lately, I've been plugged back into the power source and rather than charging on blindly, I'm awaiting orders from above. I don't feel down anymore!
I find that most Christians don't consider prayer as a “Weapon.” In fact, if I had a single nickle for every time I've heard someone say “All we can do now is pray,” then I would be able to pay cash for a brand new car with all those nickles. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a litte about how many times I've heard that. But I've heard it way too many times. I bite my tongue every time I hear someone say that phrase, but inside, I want to say “maybe if you went to God in prayer first, you wouldn't be in this situation.” Why do I bite my tongue? Well because I'm guilty myself of not always going to God first in prayer.
When a huge, unexepected bill comes in the mail, I find myself getting stressed, spending hours trying to move things around in the budget, thinking of ways to make money stretch here, planning some overtime there, and working up an ulcer and burnout. Then, when the pressure gets to be too much, I turn to God in Prayer.
Why do we have such a difficult time turning to God first? Last week at Cell Group, I came across Psalm 31. From it, I shared with my cell group these words… “In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.”
If you take nothing else from this post today, take this… You have three enemies conspiring against you! The World, The Flesh, and The Devil have set a trap for you today! Are you blindly charging into your day? Or have you talked to your commanding officer and asked for his guidance to avoid that trap! Remember, the choice is yours!
In Christ,
Cliff

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