It was Day 29 of dedicated high praise. I woke up that Saturday morning with the same overflowing joy I had testified about in previous posts. My husband and I shared a period of praise and worship together. It was good. I was glad in my heart. It was going to be a busy day. We had a number of things scheduled and he set about them promptly. Between that time and coming out of the bathroom, I found myself in a strange place. Out of the blues, a suggestion dropped into my mind, I held to it and turned it around. Before I knew it had blown out of proportion. I felt I was on a stage, scenes were being suggested to me and it was building up. They were suggestions of offenses from different persons and I was building a response to them until I was in a full scale war mode with persons who had neither offended me nor committed any of the offenses playing on my mind. It was not long before the foul thoughts began to affect my mood. No one was spared, not my husband, not my son though neither of them was at home at this time.
By the time my husband who had gone to shop for us returned, I was moody and cranky. He excitedly displayed his purchases and was met with an arctic chill. All I did was find faults with them. He must have wondered what went wrong within the short time he was away from home that he quietly left me alone. At this point I had to ask myself aloud, “Irene, what is wrong with you?” Why was I unduly critical of my husband? When he came by me again, I apologised for being moody. I told him I was feeling a bit flustered with the multitude of things I had to do. But it wasn’t just that and as soon as I was alone again, the battle continued. When my son came back a short while later, I realised that I had in my mind misjudged his intention and reacted on the basis of the suggestion made to me.
It was at this time that I realised that I was at warfare in my mind. I was receiving wrong signals and allowing them to take root. It was draining me of my energy, both emotionally and physically. I continued to struggle with this for the rest of the day. I tried hard to focus my mind on what was right, pure, of good report and worthy of praise. When I got to church later that evening I knew I could not fully participate in the praise until I had confessed all the offenses that I allowed to take root in my heart and asked God to forgive me.
Reviewing the events of that day, I remembered what I read on Laura Kramer's blog of Oct. 26th: “revisiting the place you thought you were over” http://www.laurakramersblog.blogspot.com/. For a moment I was angry with myself. How could I have allowed the enemy to rob me of almost a whole day of joy on the basis of unreal events? How did I find myself again at this place? I had serious issues with battles in my mind in the past and by the grace of God I had overcome it or so I thought. Joyce Meyer's book: "Battlefield of the mind" was my most read book at that time after my Bible. Now do note that this is the same me who had testified of experiencing irrepressible joy over the past month. How could things change so suddenly to the extent of becoming unduly critical, fault finding and moody?
I shared these with my husband and he reminded me that it was a spiritual warfare - “We wrestle not against flesh and blood …..but against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). When the enemy turned on the bad channel I need to consciously change the channel and keep changing it even when it appeared that it was automatically reverting to the bad channel. You do not actively change the channel by thinking on the Word; you do so by speaking the Word. Yes, you speak out the Word and let your ears hear the truth against the lies suggested by the enemy. With the benefit of hindsight I know I ought to have forcefully resisted the enemy and his suggestions (James 4:7a) because “the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent takes it by force” (Matt 11:12). Anyone who wants to live a victorious life must stand resolute against the enemy.
The devil does not like a worshipper and he certainly was not happy with the high praise and worship I had engaged in or the ensuing joy. He came at me at a point I thought I had overcome and I was caught off guard. But he did not have the last word. No! I will be aggressive at dealing with this whenever it happens again. I am determined not to allow the root of offense to take hold in my heart. Imagine how often our relationships are soured because we allow offenses to take root in our mind even when they are unreal and pure lies. Imagine reacting to your spouse or the people around you on the basis of offenses they had not committed but had become so real howbeit only in our minds.
I promised myself that night that by the grace of God, I will cautiously guard my heart from every suggestion of the enemy. I will resist the enemy with the Word of God and will not allow him to steal my joy. I will actively guard my relationships from the suggestions and lies of the enemy.
Friends, those who would live a victorious life will not give up their hold on it but with fervent zeal hold on until they receive their victory.