Two years ago I decided to reduce my sugar intake. Not so much because of the chocolate and lollies that I had a reasonable control over but it was all the fruit and juice I consumed.
May I stress I’m not saying either are bad but I simply ate and drank too much. So I chose to cut back.
I’d been consuming too much for over 20 years so my body was used to getting a lot of fructose each day. And it (my body) wasn’t going to easily give up reminding me.
I needed to prepare myself. I knew I was going to be tempted.
What did I do?
- Stopped buying a lot of fruit each week and having Fiona make me a week’s long supply of fruit salad.
- Changed my breakfast routine from a highly fruit/cereal based one to more protein and grains.
- Stocked up on nuts and extra vegetables so I could ward off the temptation when it inevitably struck.
“Be alert and of sober mind”
As I mentioned in my first post on spiritual warfare, we’re in a battle, if we like or not. And the best way to survive and thrive in this battle is to be prepared.
Clear out our pantries of unrighteous living, change unhealthy routines, habitual thought patterns and stock up our devotional lives so we’re armed in prayer and memorised Scripture.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:6-9 NIV)
Peter exhorts us to “Be alert” or in some versions it reads, “Be watchful”. I take this to mean we should understand our weaknesses and prepare ourselves for those to be targeted by the enemy. Anxiety is one of my hotspots and I know the particular triggers that can set me off. But now I’m learning to use Scripture and prayer to push back and “stand firm”.
This wouldn’t have occurred if I didn’t have a daily habit of reading and memorising scripture. We need to be armed and the word (“the sword of the Spirit” from Eph 6) is a key offensive weapon in combating the tricks the enemy plays with our minds. There have been particular instances where I’ve repeated verses like “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 46:10a) constantly for up to ten minutes. And yes, the anxiety leaves me.
“Sober mind” immediately follows being alert. This refers to not allowing the world to seduce our minds. It’s our thought life the enemy targets relentlessly. Once again, identify those triggers that set you off. I struggle with envy in relation to a couple of people I know. Before I meet with them I ask the Spirit to bind this sin from my heart and mind, before, during and after the meeting.
If it does grab me, which is more often than I’d like, I ask for forgiveness. I believe regular repentance is essential. It enables the Holy Spirit to cleanse and strengthen our souls where our natural inclinations to sin (see Mark 7:20-22) manifest.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10 NIV)
In being prepared and in striking first we can claim the victory for our life. What amazing encouragement verse 10 above is: “God will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast!”
Remember God promises to never leave us alone in the battle. Keep pressing into Him and He will help us live victoriously.
- Take a stock take of your thought-life so you understand your weak spots and their triggers,
- Bring them to the Lord repeatedly in prayer,
- Find and memorise relevant Scriptures that help you fight individual weaknesses,
- Repent when you slip up. It’s okay. God loves you so much and will help strengthen you.
I’d love to hear any thoughts on how you prepare for the enemy’s attacks.
Lots to think about in this post, Ian. We cannot possibly succeed in this warfare if we do not stop and reflect on how we are living, as you discuss in your summary.
Sometimes, with God’s help, we do well in battle. Other times, we may fail. I take comfort in Prov. 24 – “…though the righteous fall seven time, they will rise again.”
Hi Cherie, I always enjoy your reflections as they add to the post. Thanks for your wise perspective. Ian
Mission trip coming up fast now. My excited feeling is being robbed and turned into anxiety so I am so thankful I popped in here today Ian for some refreshment to my soul. Repent, pray, focus and listen! “Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world!”
1 John 4:4
MUSIC TOO! Nothing like having praise lyrics stuck in your head all day to empower you for daily battles!
Yes, yes, Joanne. Music, indeed. Gets me going most days. Keep pressing into Him, Joanne and know He never leaves your side. Thanks for popping by. Ian