Have you ever felt discouraged, downtrodden, perhaps even defeated in your quiet times? You’re trying to stay close to God and become stronger and dig deeper into the depths of His word but it just seems like the more you study and read the more confused or discouraged you become???
Know that you aren’t the only one with these struggles. Our enemy fights tooth and nail to prevent us from coming to the Lord. Once he loses that battle, his focus becomes keeping us from growing through whatever means necessary. I don’t want to doubt anything you may struggle with as far as the reasons behind it (undiagnosed ADD), but I believe this is more of a spiritual battle being waged against the entirety of God’s church from the beginning of time. Look at all the Old Testament examples of people who lost their focus: Adam, Eve, King Saul, David, Solomon, Moses, Samson, Jonah…the list goes on forever. Same in the New Testament: Peter, Paul (see Rom. 7), Thomas, ALL of the disciples at one point or another, John the Baptist, etc. Why do you think that was??? See 1 Peter 5:8. D.L. Moody once said, “I have learned that my enemy will do anything possible to prevent me from spending time with my Lord, even if it’s nothing more than adjusting the window shade.” Last Thursday we talked about this very thing in Bible study and one person said it was always her cats that distracted her. Another said it was the phone. Another said it was their own thoughts. When we understand what we’re battling we have a batter grasp as to how to defeat it. Eph. 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Wiles means schemings; he’s tricky, shrewd and actively seeking to deceive and distract everybody.
So, what do we do then? How do we fight this? Discipline. Determination. Devotion.
1.) Discipline – 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Rom. 12:2
2.) Determination – Phil. 3:12-14; Heb. 12:1-2
3.) Devotion – 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Peter 3:14-18
Part of spiritual maturation is coming to the full realization that this spiritual walk is not easy. It’s one thing to say that, but then when we begin to encounter it we at times are shocked or caught off guard. That’s because of our expectation of spiritual difficulty. It’s not just temptation to do or say or think things we shouldn’t; it’s also being tempted not to do the things that we should. Our enemy knows there is power in the name of Jesus (hey, that sounds like a good sermon point) so he’s going to do everything he can to distract and discourage us away from that which we need most: Jesus Himself. Our response then as believers must be to simply make up our minds that we will dig into God’s word, even when it seems dry and our soul seems to be waning. We have to continue seeking God’s face believing He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6; Deut. 4:29). It’s work in the sense of developing the mind set to, as the old Nike adage goes, “JUST DO IT!” One thing I’ve learned to do during those times of dryness we may experience in God’s word is to pray more. Sometimes I can’t focus or think straight. When that happens, I pray. Sometimes that’s all I do. Sometimes God just wants to get my undivided attention. Sometimes God is testing us to see how serious we are about following Him (Deut. 8:1-2). Sometimes the enemy is trying to discourage/distract us. Sometimes it’s all of the above. And sometimes it’s just our human flesh getting in the way b/c we’re tired, frustrated or bitter.
I encourage you; I implore you: stay the course, fight the fight, keep the faith, run your race. All for King Jesus!