April 9, 2019

Your Past Doesn’t Have to Define Your Present

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 9, 2019

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

God has assigned many names to the devil including Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12), god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), adversary (Job 1) accuser (Matthew 4:1) and tempter (Matthew 4:3), but I like to call him the maximizer because he likes to maximize the trouble that happens in our lives. Meaning, he takes delight in getting as much mileage as he can out of the sin we commit, the sin others commit against us, or the trials we experience.

For example, imagine a man’s wife betrays him by committing adultery. She then files for divorce and drags him into court where he is forced to pay alimony for years. The man is naturally very angry and hurt by the injustice.  

But as I mentioned, the devil is a maximizer. This means Satan doesn’t just want the man to suffer during the season when the betrayal takes place. He wants the man to get stuck in betrayal. He wants to cause as much damage in the man’s life as possible. He wants him to experience the pain of what happened for years to come, and hopefully for his entire life. He wants to maximize the sin the man’s wife committed.

He does this by tempting the man to blame God, hold a grudge, or become bitter and distrusting of women. Through these ungodly ways of responding, the tempter (Matthew 4:3) can maximize what happened so that it affects all the years of the man’s life: his past, present, and future. And, by doing so, he can also negatively affect all of the man’s relationships.

Imagine a man loses his job and is without employment for over a year. This is understandably stressful and disappointing. During this time, the man—who once felt professionally capable—embraces the lie that he is a failure. He also believes life is without hope and that all of his good days are behind him. These lies become such a part of his thinking, that even after he finds employment, the man still believes them.  

In this scenario, the devil maximizes the man’s unemployment so it doesn’t just hurt the man when it happens—but far after it happens, too.

When I was a kid, my mom used to say of someone who would take advantage of a situation, “If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.” This is also true of the devil.

The good news is that we get to choose if the devil has power over us. We get to choose how much he can use the sin, troubles, and trials against us. We can stop his work by believing God, forgiving, trusting, and embracing the truth that we are deeply loved by the Lord who knows all and sees all. Will you allow the devil to maximize what has happened to you? Choose freedom instead. The Lord wants to redeem your pain and use it for good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Prayer

Lord, please help me to believe you and not to believe the devil’s lies. He wants me to fall into his traps so that he can wound me. But you want to deliver me and set me free. Help me to trust you and believe you, Lord, and not to cooperate with the devil. Amen.


Application

Write down one truth that spoke to you most today on a note card or piece of paper and carry it with you today and meditate on it.


Related Reading

1 Peter 5:8-9; Ephesians 4:26-27; Ephesians 6:11-12


Post/Tweet today

Trust the Lord to redeem your pain as a catalyst to redeem another’s pain. #WisdomHunters #Goddefined


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5-minute video: Patty Felker: 


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