By Helen Norvell
Many Christians believe that after they have been saved the war is over. However, salvation is just the beginning of our Christian walk with the Lord. At the moment we are born again, we are babies in Christ. We are happy, so in love with our Savior. But, Satan is ready to attack. He loves to attack newborn Christians. Newborns are still drinking the milk of the Word, not yet grounded in God’s Word. They are most susceptible because they are at their weakest point in their Christian walk. Satan wants to draw them away from Christ and back into the world of sin. However, it’s not just the newborns, it is all of us. It’s not just once or twice, but for all of our life here on earth. He is the roaring lion roaming around seeking whom he can devour. That is Satan’s plan.
God has an entirely different plan. He wants to grow us in our faith, mature us in His Word, and give us the mind of Christ. He wants our obedience and our service, and to be in fellowship with Christ’s sufferings. He wants us to be complete, ready to stand at the day of His appearing.
To get where He wants us and to be what He wants us to be (complete) we must endure the spiritual trials and temptations that will surely come upon us.
Then in James 1:2 we are told to count it as all joy when we encounter various trials.
What do these trials and temptations, and did I mention persecutions, look like? What forms do they take? They are many and varied. There are lusts of the flesh, desires for worldly things that take us away from God. We may have to deal with the loss of a loved one. We may have to watch a loved one suffer and not be able to help them. There may be marital problems that seem insurmountable. We may be facing financial problems. We may suffer in pain. We may be persecuted for sharing Christ. You might have your heart broken because a loved one refuses to believe in Christ. The list goes on and on.
The question is, how do we handle these tests of our faith? Do we give in to the temptation to sin? Do we throw up our hands in defeat and give up the battle to Satan? Do we turn our backs on the Lord and go back into the world? Or, do we do as the Lord says?
I stress MIND because this is the trial I wanted to tell you about in my own life and how my Lord and Savior brought me through it. Having been saved for many years, I have endured probably all of the tests I listed above, and I’d like to say I passed all of them with flying colors but that would not be true. The more grounded you are in the Word the less likely you are to be drawn away by Satan.
Remembering that Satan can do nothing to me that God doesn’t allow, I believe the Lord threw me into this spiritual trial head first. I was unsuspecting, blindsided, by a thought that struck at the very foundation of my faith. Jesus is not who He says He is! What??? I could not believe that such a thought had just gone through my mind. Where on earth did that come from, certainly not from me? The shame I felt. I was absolutely stunned. I immediately asked God’s forgiveness. If that had been the end of it, if only, but no, it continued on for months and months. I was so ashamed, I did not tell anyone about it. For a time I was afraid to even pick up my Bible. You can be sure, that is exactly what Satan wanted. The really strange thing to me was that I did not believe one thing he was putting in my mind, it was the shame I felt for the thought going through my mind in the first place. Every time he would put a thought in my mind, I would counter with scripture. I was fleeing for my very life, yet he continued. Next he tried to get me to stop praying. I did not stop praying, but all I could pray for, was forgiveness. As I said, I stopped reading the Word, but not for long. This has always been one of my favorite scriptures. I would read it over and over to comfort my troubled mind.
There are many, many scriptures attesting to the deity of Christ. John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, for example. I knew all these and believed all these. Satan didn’t stop there. He loves to point out sins you’ve committed since you have been saved. He likes to tell you that God will not forgive you. This is another lie of the devil. Christ paid for all sin on the cross, once, for all. If I come to Him in repentance, He will forgive.
If you can imagine arguing with Satan, then picture it in your mind. I wrestled with him. For we wrestle not with flesh and blood but principalities and powers of darkness. We are no match for him. He is a liar and the author of lies. After all, he has had thousands of years to perfect his craft. We must put on the whole armor of Christ so that we will be able to stand in the face of such testing. Christ Himself was tested and tried just as we are, yet without sin. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Jesus?
Why does Satan bother with a Christian? He wants us to fall, to turn our backs on the Lord, and return to the world. He wants us to deny Christ, which I don’t believe a true believer can do. When we are saved, we are given eternal life. How long is eternal? Infinite, there is no going back to unsaved. Jesus said that all the Father had given Him, He would lose none. No one can take us from the Father’s hand.
I do not have the words to tell you how broken I was. I was broken-hearted, shredded like paper, without strength. I was trying to fight Satan by myself. I rebuked him, he persisted. What could I do? I could stay in the Word, pray, not just for forgiveness, but for help from the Lord. Here the Holy Spirit really helped me with intercessory prayer. I was so torn-up I could hardly put two words together. My heart was broken for thoughts I could not control. I refused to be drawn away by my adversary. I asked Jesus to please take control of my mind and rebuke Satan, just as Michael had told Satan, “may the Lord rebuke you”. I told the Lord I didn’t know what was happening, but I loved Him with all my heart, soul, strength, and MIND. I can’t fight him on my own, I can’t control my thoughts. Here is where I found my answer. I was not in control, God was. I asked Him to rebuke Satan, and He did. The Lord brought me through this trial. The Lord will win the war, but he wants us to be in the battle.
Put on the whole armor of Christ. Never let Satan shake your faith. Be constant in the Word, be fervent in prayer, be obedient, and in service to the Lord. Count it all joy when you fall into different trials and temptations. All of these things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (Ephesians 6:10-17 and James 1:2-12) Love Him with your entire mind.