Psalm 56

Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life.

On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations. Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll – are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

If you’re goal is to help advance the Kingdom through personal ministry, you’ll get resistance, especially at the beginning. Peter, someone who had more cause to understand this than most everyone else, said that the devil is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) The folks he’s most interested in are those who’re giving him the worst time. If he can frustrate and torment them enough, he hopes they’ll give up and go away.

Usually we’re the most vulnerable to this kind of attack it the early stages of our ministry (and remember, according to 2 Cor. 1:3-5 we’re all called into ministry ). At the beginning we might not be as secure in our calling, and are more likely to misinterpret resistance by Satan as disapproval by God.

“Does God really want me to do this?” we ask. “Maybe I’ve read the signs wrong.” We forget that the Egyptians’ initial reaction to Moses’ arrival on the scene was to make the plight of the Israelites worse, turning them against Moses even as he labored to deliver them.

Ask any number of influential ministries about the early days and you’ll hear the same story over and over again. At the beginning there were huge battles that ended in small victories. As time went by the battles became smaller and the victories larger. While the variations on this theme are as numerous as are the ministries involved, there are two constants in all their stories. There were always battles and there were always victories. The faith of those involved was being tested by the enemy and in the process strengthened by the Lord so they’d be ready for the greater opportunities He had prepared in advance for them.

Let’s hear from Peter again: For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

How long does this testing period last? Only as long as it takes to prepare you for the blessing the Lord has in store for you. It seems like the greater your eventual blessing, the greater your initial battles. But two things are certain; it won’t be forever and the victory is already ours. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James tells us (James 4:7). Once Satan is convinced you’re not going away, then he will.  He has better things to do than fight a losing battle.

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