Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 17, 2009

everybody has them

As I was crossing Alligator Alley last night, I was thinking about what a long stretch of dark, desolate, lonely terrain I was navigating.  It reminded me that we all have dark stretches in our lives. Can you  remember  a time when it seemed nothing would go right?  the heavens were closed to your prayers (surely God still knew  your name), and the time of difficultly seemed to be  endless?  We can all relate to those backside of the desert and wilderness experiences.  A question of primary importance is, how will we deal with these seasons of difficulty and testing going forward?

Even the casual reader of Scripture knows about Jesus being tempted in the desert.  Think about how this dark stretch of life transpired for Him.  First, it is an undeniable truth that the Spirit lead Him into the desert  to be tempted.  None of us can truly understand the depth of the Father’s desire to let His son go through such an extended period of difficultly.  During the forty days of fasting, Mark and Luke tell us that He was tempted by the devil.  He was with the wild animals and angels attended to Him (Mark 1:13).  It doesn’t get much more dark and stretch than that!  But in the Father’s design it was needed.  We can only imagine what the days were like: fasting, temptation, wild animals, angels and I would assume some intense and powerful time of intercession with His Father.  Our dark stretches cannot relate, but they are still tough.  By way of comparison, it is very instructive to see the method of defense Christ used at the crescendo of the battle.

If you are anything like me, you have wasted some great seasons of testing.  We tend to go through dark stretches with too much emotion and too little biblical insight.  I do know the Word.  But often in my journey, I avoid using it to my advantage, as the Father desires.  The pattern for Christ at the moment of truth was to use the Word.  I don’t think that was by coincidence.  He has given us a pattern that works. Satan tempted, and Jesus defended with Scripture (view Matthew  4:1-11).  I don’t see Him debating or avoiding the issue, just using the Word of God.  If you are a church attender, you may have heard sermons on the pattern Christ used.  But often the application was left at the church doors.  In your next dark stretch, or the one you are currently facing, are you willing to use Scripture as a defense against the assault of Satan?  Note a few great verses for defense …

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer
and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with
our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every
way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach
the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Knowing the verses and using them at the moment of truth doesn’t always happen. Christ models the way, and gives us the capacity through the Spirit to use the Word and win. Don’t worry about yesterdays failures, because …

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Responses

  1. Great thoughts – Thanks for making the “dark stretches” brighter.


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