Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beautiful Battle Book Club: Chapter 3

The Right Story: God’s Sovereignty  The Wrong Story: Our Comfort

In this chapter, Mary DeMuth states what most of us think about spiritual warfare but are usually afraid to admit out loud.
“In a book about spiritual warfare, you might expect me to talk about God wanting us all to be healthy, wealthy, and perfectly happy—with favorable circumstances awaiting us around every bend of obedience. That the goal of our ardent prayers should be happiness.
But sometimes life is plain messy. And Satan isn’t behind every annoyance. It’s simplistic to think that Satan is our only obstacle on this earth, that he throws away our money, attacks us with illnesses, and revokes our prosperity. We forget the devil’s greatest schemes, tempting us to want pleasure, stuff, and achievement more than we want God.”
Often I recognize the devil’s attacks against me, but I fail to fight his long-term goal.  If I am honest, I seek victory more than I seek God.  And I fight for peace, safety and happiness, rather than pressing into the Presence of my Heavenly Father even more!  I find myself worn out from the fight.  And usually alone.  Loneliness is the only way that I can learn what God is working into or out of my life.
“It’s being near to Him even when it looks like He’s forsaken you.
It’s discipleship.
It’s learning to have joy in pain.
That’s the kind of life that stands out in a crazy, needy world.
Not the kind of faith that guarantees benefit, but one that shines brightly even when life knocks it down.”

 Happiness Addiction

The Bible says we should welcome trials as our friends.  But instead, I have to admit that I, too, have been a happiness addict.  But happiness eludes me and I wallow in discontentment.  What do I do to break this addiction to “me”?  Mary gives these ideas:
    1. Serve somebody
    2. Addict yourself to heaven (with the reality of heaven & it’s rewards)
    3. Practice being uncomfortable
    4. Take a Kingdom risk (do something you need God to accomplish—like a missions trip)
    5. Give away your stuff
    6. Actively rejoice when something is amiss
    7. Step outside your comfort zone (do what Jesus would do even if it is hard)
    8. Practice self-denial (forgo something you crave)
    9. Study the countercultural beautitudes (upside-down kingdom)
    10. Live the American dream in reverse (save money in order to give it away)
    11. Practice contentment (learn the art of having enough)
    12. Rekindle your belief in God’s sovereignty. 
I embrace the sovereignty of God when I choose to believe the truth that everything that touches my life has His authority behind it. 

And then I worship Him.  I declare my faith and hope in the One that I cannot see.
“our praise in the midst of pain deals a blow to the Enemy of our souls.  It testifies to the angels that God is strong when we are weak and needy.  That is the crux of spiritual warfare, to declare to the Enemy and his demons that God is God and we are not.” 
By doing this, we draw closer to God and pronounce that no amount of pleasure, stuff or achievement can satisfy like Him!  And the devil runs off in defeat because He couldn’t use us to hurt God.  
And may we remember that the purpose of our suffering isn’t to have a great testimony.
No, trials and struggles and distresses simply help us become more like Jesus.
More selfless.
More giving.
More hope-filled.
More forgiving.
More abundant.”
Written by Angela Smith
WCW Director


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