Updated: Aug 3
While powerwalking on the beach last week, my friend stopped, looked out over the ocean and said, “I don’t know Trey. Seems like every time things are going well. Every time I seem to get some momentum going in my life. Every time I think my walk in Christ is growing stronger, something bad happens or someone distracts me, and I get derailed and I take a step back. Why does this always happen? Ever since I accepted God’s grace through faith it often seems like I take two steps backward for every forward step I make. Do you ever notice this? Does it happen to you? I’m getting frustrated.”
I was thinking about this beach walk conversation with my friend this morning when I received the call. It was our landlord who owns the building that houses our office and podcast studio. This man so believes in our mission and the impact we are having with so many men, that he donated the offices to us for a few years. I heard the serious tone in his voice, “Trey, I have some bad news. The big storms that came through last night caused the roof of our building to collapse. Half of the building is destroyed, and the bottom floors all flooded. It was the worst rain event we have seen in 30 years. The good news is that your office is safe. It is on the opposite end from the damage. But I’m calling to inform you that you will need to move out along with the other tenants. Unfortunately, you are going to have to find another home for MPACT Men’s Ministries.”
Oh, how my heart sank with my friend’s news. Man, we’ve come so far as a ministry. The Lord has blessed us so much. We are developing men all over the world with the message of God’s grace to help them overcome and heal through their revelation of who they are in Christ. One man at a time, we have seen redemption after redemption. But you know what? It seems like so many times, when our momentum is strong, every time our walk with Christ is growing stronger, something unexpected happens, someone or something distracts us, and we get derailed, and we actually take a step back. Why do things like this happen? Ever since I started this ministry to share grace through faith it often seems like we take two steps back for every forward step. Sometimes I get so frustrated. . . (Sound familiar?)
Christian brother: the arrows are in the air. Yes, Satan’s demons lifted, drew and released their bow strings, launching those arrows, aimed directly at your mind and heart. The day you had the revelation of Jesus blood and resurrection and you confessed that He was your savior, the deceiver put his army to work. He lined his best archers up, set his target on your mind and gave the order, “Ready! . . . Aim! . . . FIRE!” Think about it. Satan failed in his effort to stop Jesus from fulfilling the promise God made in Genesis 3:14-15. Now his focus is to ensure we Christians never fully understand the power of who we are because of what Jesus did.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:10-12
How often do we identify where our setbacks come from? Paul tells us vividly in this passage of our struggles being much deeper than anything we can comprehend or see. He tells of a fight we aren’t strong enough to win through our own efforts and how we have to depend on the power of His spirit that lives in us, because our struggles are not with a person or group. It should come as no surprise to Christians that the more we walk boldly in Christ, the more we grow in our identity in HIM, the more momentum we build in our Kingdom walk; the more the deceiver thirsts to knock us off our game. The more he tries to plant doubt and the more he distracts and tries to steal our confidence and trust.
“You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. ‘For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.’ But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.” -Hebrews 10:34-39
Do you see it? Paul writes of how the setbacks of our walk with Christ are only temporary and should be expected. Think about it, for the non-believer, Satan already has them exactly where they are . . . dead. He has no need to consistently attack them. He’s not threatened at all. But his tactics with Christians, are different as he attempts is to cloud our minds, so we never understand how “dead to sin” we truly are. He will do everything possible to create doubt in who we are in Christ and cause us to question our trust in the finished work of the cross hoping we won’t grow in Christ or tell others the reason for our hope so they too may understand power of God’s grace.
Yes, Christian brother, those arrows are in the air, coming right at you, RIGHT NOW. The question is; do we confidently trust that the Lord will A) Blow those arrows off course at the right moment? or, B) Give us the mindset and inspiration to block those arrows through his might? or, C) If those arrows do happen to pierce our skin, that He will heal that wound so that we are stronger moving forward because of our trust in his grace, the most powerful gift he ever gave us through our belief in Christ?
Our ministry has the biggest fall schedule of events, groups, podcasts and retreats in our history. Should I expect anything less than Satan attacking us at MPACT? The answer is a resounding NO! He hates what we are doing with the men who contact us. He hates the fact that we identify his tactics, and we lean on the might of Jesus in order to keep our kingdom focus and persevere. He hates that we continue to walk boldly and confidently in our trust for HIS plan and will. No matter what he throws at our ministry to try and set us back, we will not turn away from God to our own destruction. We will accept these distractions through Satan’s deceit with JOY knowing he is powerless to us due to our belief in Christ and our salvation. We will move forward knowing Jesus is in the middle of everything we do and experience (even when negative) and that we will receive all that He has promised.
Our prayer is that we all look deep, know the cosmic forces we battle and have the boldness and confidence to scream loud and clear . . . “NOT TODAY SATAN! . . . NOT TODAY!”