Every Man’s Best Friend Part 2
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’ ” Luke 22:31-32.
Last week in Part One of this devotional, I revealed how my past history as every man’s best friend resulted in my losing a friend I card for deeply and the devastation I felt. Since then, I have encountered a similar situation with a new “friend” although my approach was different. By looking at the past, I question if I was repeating situations because God wanted me to learn a lesson or was the devil using his same strategy of attack on me over and over again? I believe it is BOTH.
The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy us as sheep. He wants to separate us from Christ so that we will be lost. We all know he has a strategy, but sometimes the issue is in recognizing how that strategy affects you. The devil went to the Lord twice in the bible to ask for permission to sift and test people, Job and Peter, and in both situations the Lord allowed it. But it wasn’t until yesterday as I watched an online speech about leadership by a renowned pastor that it became clear that in Peter’s situation, Jesus prayed FOR Peter to withstand that test, not that He would deliver Him from the situation! My God! I have read that scripture repeatedly for years, but in the context of this past week and the sermon I heard last week, it took on a whole new meaning. For years, I have repeated the same test and suffered the same attack of the enemy. Oh, but when your opponent understands your playbook and sees how you have been using their weakness to gain a foothold, that play will never be successful again.
The devil has attacked my finances before and that didn’t stop my worship; he attacked my body all the mornings I could barely get out the bed because my hip and back was locked in pain, but I still kneeled and prayed through it. Yet when the devil used my relationships with men and my heart as a weapon against me, I would stop praising, I found it harder to pray, and my worship became less than genuine. During these periods of attack I found it harder to write devotionals, minister to others or even commune with God. That one mode of attack always crippled me and affected my mind and emotions. Each time doubt, fear, and low self esteem literally threatened to overtake me. I would spiral into a “woe is me” mindset and wonder why these men couldn’t “see” me. I doubted me, my ability to be loved, and God’s word to me. Time and time again, I responded the exact same way…until recently. This time, as I fell for someone that was a friend, I noticed two things. First, I honestly do not know why I fell for this guy – good and godly man that he is. With my former male best friend, I understood why I liked him. My feelings were based on years of interactions and him being a great friend to me. With this guy, we are friends, but we haven’t built a great friendship. Secondly, I noticed that I was responding to the situation as if there was a great and enduring friendship.
I responded. It was always about how I responded.
That is my lesson and my response is what gave the enemy his strategy.ALL of us at one point have had the EXACT same test. Your circumstance and situation may be different, but we are taking the same test. God wants to grow us into spiritual maturity where our responses are different. Do we rely on Him? Do we complain in the test? Do we praise in spite of the test? Yet, as my Pastor pointed out last Sunday, why would the enemy change his strategy if he beat you with it before? If “Hail Mary” passes results in a touchdown every time, why do something differently? And let me tell you, the devil had been winning every time with me.
That’s had been winning. Going forward the devil is going to have to try a different attack. He used the same play on a changed woman. He didn’t know the hours God and I have spent talking about my mistakes, he didn’t know how I have prayed Psalm 139 over and over and over again, he didn’t know how I was training off the field. As the enemy tries to destroy, Jesus is standing with us on and off the field intercerceding on our behalf, praying and encouraging us to stand, to learn, and to go to the next level. I am every man’s best friend and I am finally ok with that. It does not mean that those men do not “see” me; it means that they are seeing some of the best in me.
My prayer is to anyone reading this, please recognize how the enemy is seeking to kill you, destroy you, or steal what God has intended for you. Break whatever cycle or pattern you find yourself in so that you may live life more abundantly as Christ has ALWAYS intended.