Spiritual adversity is something that we all face daily. We may think that it only comes to the devout, to those managing a flock or the ‘ultra-holy’- whatever that is..But in reality it is something that we all face more often than we would care to imagine.
Following on from the last episode in this Spiritual warfare series, this offering is about not only normalising that we come under attack daily and often, but moreover those things we need take into consideration when we know we need to move forward but also feel up against it. This article is about putting a face to the name and practical steps we can use when considering how to overcome Spiritual adversity and get back on track.
In the first instance we need to think about what it is that is causing us to feel blocked. Often in life as troubles come strolling along we are so bent up in trying to make a decision that we have trouble identifying just why we can’t. Not only that, but what’s on the other side of said issue often becomes obscured from our sight.
There’s an old Zen saying that seems contrary to the Christian paradigm of a faith that can move mountains (Matt 17:20) , it states –move yourself the mountain doesn’t need to move. I always regarded it as a sharp contrast that superseded the need for faith, however closer reflection tells us that perhaps its simply a matter of perspective. That is, often I think it would be really handy to be able to see around life’s corners but if instead we see things in what I call God-spective we are seeing all the possibilities from above. Those things that were in our way, blocking our view of the path forward suddenly don’t matter any more because we see the other paths around it.
We may well muse that such perspective sounds good in theory but we are not God so how can we? Luckily for us we have unfettered access to God through the Son and therefore God’s perspective on things.
often the best way to see the way forward is on our knees.
Put simply often the best way to see the way forward is on our knees. Through prayer not only do we have the ability to tackle Spiritual adversity directly but we can also see what it is and what it is not. One of the reasons we have the Holy Spirit is to help us discern the human from the Divine, good from evil and the right path from the wrong one.
Once we have established perspective from a God -driven point of view, then we need to work out which is the way forward. We need to know which path to take whether around, over, through, by removal or otherwise. It is easy to forget that sometimes things are in our way for a very good reason. When we question our path it is not necessarily due to a lack of faith or understanding, sometimes it is necessary to steer us from the wrong path. Prayers of supplication, clarification and confirmation are then very important. The bigger question is often if we recognise the answer when we receive it, even more so if we don’t particularly like the answer we receive or it comes in an unexpected manner. Often its hard to recognise that God is working all things together for good. (Rom 8:28)
I don’t know about anyone else but personally when I’m feeling snowed under hearing God’s voice can be difficult above the din. This is one of the reasons I believe Paul encourages us to test everything (1Thess 5:21) against what we know to be of God. It’s very easy to get swept up in the ideas of others and ourselves and mistake it for what we feel God is leading us to do. Test it against Scripture as a matter of course, because it if it doesn’t line up Scripturally then we need to perhaps think and pray again.
The Bible won’t tell us every single specific scenario and what to do, but it does give us God’s base-line of how to act, listen, learn, love and be in relationship with the Father and one-another. He made us of intelligent design to make our own choices, we need only look to Him as to how to best follow His example. Even Jesus could only do what He first saw the Father doing;
19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
However, when we are moving the right direction God often doesn’t seem to stop there. Knowing full well the doubting disciples we are God will bring people and events across our path that help define our destination. The most obvious example is a word of knowledge from another that we trust in our Faith. Someone whom God has revealed what we may need to hear to continue along the correct path. Sometimes it is a simple word of encouragement and other times it may be more specific, but it is what we need right there and then.
Should we accept what they have to say blindly? Certainly not, I would encourage you to test it prayerfully, with common sense (after all God gave us a brain for a reason) and against Scripture also. But on the flip side be wary of dismissing something unexpected out of hand.
Something also worthy of remembering is that confirmations can often be physical or material as well, after all the Father has promised to supply all our needs (Phil 4:19) . Sometimes those needs need to be met first to enable the bigger things He wants us to accomplish. Look for and expect the provision of God’s Grace and we are less likely to overlook His blessings when we encounter them.
More on Involving Others
With Spiritual adversity can come a lot of confusion on many different levels. Sometimes what we are trying to work out within ourselves we simply cannot do alone. Don’t be afraid to seek counsel from others such as Ministers, Leaders, Pastors, Counsellors and Teachers etc if you are feeling stuck. Each of us have our part to play in God’s Kingdom, and their part to play may well be helping you. Often it is the advice of others that helps us get back on track.
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. (Col 3:16)
back yourself because He has your back
Whatever it is that you are struggling with you are struggling with it for a reason. God has placed not only your purpose in front of you, but the resources to overcome whatever may be standing in your way in achieving that purpose. Hold tight to what He has put within you and be prepared to back yourself because He has your back. When you back yourself in Christ you also back Christ Himself as you seek to fulfil His purposes rather than our own.
Overcoming Spiritual adversity and getting back on track then you see, is more about how we engage the gifts and tools of God than anything else. When we use His design, of working with each other in Christ, of seeing things from the Father’s perspective and start our journey with prayer we are already re-aligning to the track that we thought we had lost sight of.
If you’re feeling stuck, pray hard, read lots and seek good counsel from others because you will move forward but maybe its about employing more of His tools first.
© Andrew Jewell- Wedgetail Ministries www.wedgetailministries.com