If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
The year of 2010 is in full swing! I am sure that each one of you has made your lists of goals and New Year’s resolutions. Isn’t it great that God, in His love, has given us the start of a brand new year and a new decade! If you decidedly “threw in the towel” on your goals for 2009, or gave in to discouragement, get back up and start over. Don’t let the devil tell you that it can’t be done! Resist the devil, and the Bible tells us that he will flee. Having been in the ministry here at North Valley for thirty-four years, I know about many people who have given up and quit on God. I also know success stories of others who have stayed in the battle, fought the devil and made the best of bad circumstances and situations. You can do the same. Start again in 2010!
We are all involved in a spiritual battle with an enemy who will never let up. Even though it is people who do evil things to us, we have to keep in mind that it is our ultimate enemy, the devil, who is behind it. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Even when we are being attacked by a person, recognizing our real enemy will be the first step in standing strong against him.
Just as God has a plan for you, so does Satan. Satan’s plan is to steal from you and destroy your life. He disguises himself so that he doesn’t look threatening, and he lulls you into thinking that you are not in any danger. He never takes a day off. He is constantly trying to see his plan for your life fulfilled. That is why you have to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)
For the most part, we are able to recognize obvious attacks of the enemy. But the more subtle ones, when we are being seduced into accepting something into our lives that will ultimately get us off track or destroy us, are harder to recognize. For example, he will attempt to make you believe you deserve every bad thing that happens to you. But deserving is not the issue with God. We didn’t deserve to have Jesus die for us. Yet he did. The point is not whether we deserve the things the devil throws our way; the point is that Jesus died so we don’t have to experience them. How then can we win this battle that we are in every day with the wicked one called Satan?
1. Be Optimistic
We all have times when we are “in season” and others when we are “out of season.” Not everyone is an optimist by nature. My husband is one of the greatest “optimists” I have ever met. I, on the other hand, have to work at it. It is easier for me to “find the bad and praise it.” This tendency is something that I have to work on all the time. If this is a weakness for you, it can be turned into a strength by the Holy Spirit.
2. Have a purpose and determination.
Incorporate these into your life every day. Purpose to learn something new each day! Read and study. Do not be a soap opera queen! That’s not real life. Neither are fashion magazines or the most popular movie star. Have a purpose to end each day; do something that will help you end it with a sense of accomplishment. Determined people are not easily discouraged. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat or with the wine which he drank. Because he had purposed to do right when the small temptations came, he was able to maintain his purpose to do right when he was faced with a bigger temptation to do wrong.
3. Don’t be afraid of a challenge.
A challenge is “something that by its nature serves as a test.” Determine to go through it and come out on the other side. It will make you a better, stronger Christian. Challenges help us learn as they motivate us to try harder. Challenge is a great deterrent to depression. Facing a challenge keeps you too busy to sit down and be depressed!
4. Strive for excellence in everything you do, but don’t be defeated when everything is not perfect.
You don’t always have to measure up to someone else’s standard. Be the best you can be even on days when you don’t feel well.
5. Have self-discipline.
Reach your goals with self-discipline so that you can help someone else reach hers. God’s timing is everything. Don’t make God fit into your vision—instead, fit yourself into God’s vision. Too many people are having visions and wanting God to get into “their plan.” Noah didn’t one day decide he was going to build an ark and then, after he was finished, ask God to do something with it that would go down in history. Noah walked with God, and God blessed him.
6. Remember that the battle is not yours; it belongs to God!
II Chronicles 20:15 tells us, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” God is not asking you to be perfect. He is asking you to allow Him to be perfect in you.
The year of 2009 is now history! Whining and complaining about all of the things we did or didn’t do is fruitless. The year of 2010 is upon us. Let’s make it the greatest year of our lives!
Happy New Year,