Monday, February 15, 2016

To Stop and See...

I'm not Catholic; in fact, growing up Baptist, the well-meaning denominational jokes often made me believe that Catholics weren't even Christians. It wasn't till my college days I realized being a Christ-follower didn't exclude you from the Catholic church.
I'm not particularly liturgical: I suppose my nature is too organic to desire the ceremonial observances recited week after week. The repetition often diminishes meaning for me.
I'm not as disciplined as I'd like: Many inspired ideas get muddied in execution. I plan but don't follow through.

Even so, I do appreciate and adore the Lent season. About 10 years ago I learned what it meant to really observe Lent: it wasn't about giving up chocolate or weeping in ashes. It was about setting aside a time (40 days) to be intentionally pursuing the Lord.

By looking inward (confession and repentance) and looking upward (prayer and hopeful anticipation), I learned to pause long enough to truly see. And Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday started to carry so much more joy and depth to my spirit. 

*To see myself as I am: deficient and broken and prideful (in need of a savior)
*To see my Lord as He is: humble servant of sacrifice, Savior, Coming King,  and...
*To see myself as I am in Him: undeserving but wholly loved, forgiven, and accepted

I must confess, that last one still remains a struggle for me. But, I'm starting to see the Enemy for who he really is: and the real enemy isn't myself.

Yes, I will continue to make mistakes--lots of them--and that's hard for someone who wants to achieve purpose and...yes, maybe a little perfection in those areas of life (wife, mother, daughter, friend, Christian).

The women at my church started a study last week, on Ash Wednesday, titled The Armor of God. In it, Priscilla Shirer challenges us to observe "actionable intel" on the enemy's workings, not so we give him more honor or recognition but so that we can take a strategic defense against his techniques. For the enemy has "an intimate knowledge of who you are and the precise pressure points where you can most easily be taken down" (29). He knows where you are vulnerable.

Taken directly from the book, here are some strategies categorized by most common means of attack.

#1 Against Your Passion (He dims your desires for prayer and spiritual things)
#2 Against Your Focus (He manipulates perspective and wants to direct you to the wrong enemy)
#3 Against Your Identity (He magnifies insecurities and lead you to doubt what God says about you).
#4 Against Your Family (He disintegrates your family)
#5 Against Your Confidence (He constantly reminds you of past failures and mistakes).
#6 Against Your Calling (He amplifies fear& worry until they are the loudest voices you hear).
#7 Against Your Purity (He tempts you toward sin, diminishing the idea of consequences).
#8 Against Your Rest and Contentment (He hopes to overload your life, pushing you beyond)
#9 Against Your Heart (He stirs old wounds that generate bitterness, hurt, anger, etc.)
#10 Against Your Relationships (He creates disruption and disunity).

("Sizing Up the Enemy" The Armor of God by Shirer p 33)

Ask the Lord to show you were the enemy is gaining too much ground in your life. Is he getting a foothold...or more? Are your weapons pointed at the wrong enemy? Where are you being attacked and how do you counterattack?

During this season of Lent--of remembering--ask the Lord to restore your perspective and strengthen you to walk out in truth. Yes, we are broken and fallible, but we are also redeemed, cherished, and set apart from a special purpose.

Revelation 12
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
    and the kingdom of our God,
    and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
    who accuses them before our God day and night,
    has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.

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