Sometimes to be obedient is just hard!
Ever had that? Your heart intends to be obedient, but you just cannot get there. Whenever we decide to be obedient, it is the last thing the enemy wants from the children of God. You see, if you and I are obedient, we will fulfill God’s purposes for their lives and make an impact for the Kingdom of Heaven.
It goes without saying that we have an enemy that will encourage disobedience in us, so that we step out of all that God has got planned for us.
One of my favorite books is “The Screwtape Letters,” by C.S. Lewis from which I have learnt so much about spiritual warfare. In it senior demon ‘Screwtape’ writes to junior demon, ‘Wormwood,’ to give him advice about what to do with the Christian he is watching over. Speaking about dark times and obedience, Screwtape tells Wormwood:
“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
Our obedience frustrates the enemy of our souls. Lewis describes that disobedience in times of doubt and spiritual dryness is one of Satan’s great weapons, aimed at keeping the Christian in despair and away from the best our Father has for us.
Contemplating my own lack of obedience to something God had asked me to change, I identified ten ways in which the enemy hinders my obedience. Here is my list:
Ten Strategies of the Enemy for Disobedience
- He simply steals my time. Other people come into my life and say “Come spend time with me,” or “Can we meet?” Often people that I haven’t seen for a while and would love to spend time with. Or else I discover that I have more important things to do that take priority in my time planning right now, and in that perceived priority my time is stolen. The loss of time becomes my excuse for disobedience.
- He distracts me. He gets my attention on something else. Technology is a good strategy here, especially scrolling on social media. Or else, people come along with a project that sounds interesting and say “Come and join us in this project.” Before I know it, something else has become more absorbing to me than obedience.
- He will block me at the start. Making it difficult for me to find a starting point for my obedience. I cannot think of “Where to start?” or how to go forward. So I lose momentum.
- He Interrupts me. The phone or the door bell rings just as I start. Other urgent matters come up that need to be addressed; often other people’s urgencies. The unexpected always happens and then I excuse my disobedience because I was interrupted.
- He inconveniences me. Very often simple day to day matters that should have taken just a few minutes become enormous tasks that are complicated and difficult to complete.
- He makes me busy. When life looked like it had capacity and time, I suddenly find myself incredibly busy and wonder where the time goes to and how I will ever find time to do what God told me to do? I become “too busy” for the things God desires from me.
- He exhausts me. If none of the above work, he starts to work on my flesh. Making me so tired that I don’t have the energy to do what God has told me to do. My heart is willing, but “I am just so tired.”
- He appeals to the comfort of my flesh. Telling me “Rest a bit, you have worked so hard.” “Relax a little, tomorrow is another day.” “You work so hard, people will understand if you take a break.”
- He sends strife or discord into my environment. As I busy myself in dealing with this strife or discord, I find myself thinking “If there is so much trouble in my life, why would I want to take this activity of obedience on, on top of everything else.” Very often the strife and discord has it’s source in my own family and in my own attitudes.
- He frightens me. This will stop me in my tracks. He appeals to that which he knows I fear. “Who do you think you are?” or “What will people say?” or “What happens if this backfires?” The fear of the unknown, or failure rises up and paralyses me.
Unless I recognize these enemy strategies in my life, I will find myself in a place of disobedience. How do I work against the enemy? I do this in regular prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit. I ask God to reveal to me what hinders my obedience and ask Him to help me overcome and be obedient.
God longs for us to be obedient and when we call on Him, He will provide all we need in order to be obedient, for that is His desire.
Don’t let your enemy succeed in leading you to disobedience so that he frustrates God’s plan and purpose for your life. Identify which of the above strategies the enemy uses on you, especially in times of doubt and despair.
Father I long to be obedient. Please show me what strategies the enemy uses to distract me from implementing your ways in my life and doing the things you have told me to do in my heart. Give me a heart that obeys you in such a way that the enemy cannot work against it.