Summary: Victory strategies from Jesus when your faith is under attack.
We’re in the series on "Loving the Life You Live." Life isn’t always easy but there are some great strategies in the Bible for dealing with the hard times.
Today we’re going to cover what to do when your faith is under attack. What do you do to love life when you’re going through a testing of your faith, when God seems so distant that maybe you even have doubts that He cares about you? When He seems to leave you all alone? When even prayer seems difficult? When you don’t feel like keeping the faith?
Jesus said some things to one of His followers a long time ago that can help.
It was right before Christ was going to suffer and die on the cross that He spoke to His lead apostle, Simon Peter, about his faith coming under attack. If the Apostle Peter’s faith can come under attack then any of us can face such an assault.
Listen carefully to what Jesus said.
Luke 22:31 (NCV) "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to test all of you as a farmer sifts his wheat. 32 I have prayed that you will not lose your faith! Help your brothers be stronger when you come back to me." 33 But Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and even to die with you!" 34 But Jesus said, "Peter, before the rooster crows this day, you will say three times that you don’t know me."
These words from the Lord offer strategic help when your faith comes under attack.
The first thing they teach, when your faith is under attack is this:
1. Trust in Jesus more than you trust in your emotions.
Emotions are important but they are not supposed to have the final say in how you live your life. Your faith in God should always precede your feelings. Faith first: feelings follow. That’s certainly not always easy and you often have to think about it because God has given us some pretty strong emotional abilities.
There’s not anything wrong with having or showing the right kinds of emotion. You just have to work at not letting Satan use your emotions against you. You have to build yourself up with as many spiritual weapons as you can, things like worship and prayer, the Word of God, of course, and fellowship, and things like ministry to others. You have to follow your faith in God and His word.
Anytime your emotions don’t follow faith – don’t follow your emotions.
A lot of negative emotions can swell up inside you when your faith is attacked. Fear, anger, worry, anxiety, doubt… But one of the toughest emotions you face when your faith comes under attack is loneliness. You feel like no one else cares – not even God. Which is ridiculous because no one cares more about you than God! But that’s the false report your emotions send you nonetheless. "God doesn’t care! If He cared He wouldn’t let this happen to me!"
Your emotions can really play games on you sometimes. Things that aren’t real seem palpable. Things that are wrong seem right. Things that are harmful seem helpful. Your outlook can go from cheery to sour in a matter of minutes because of something you feel. Especially if you feel like you’ve been forgotten. This is a key tactic of your archenemy the devil. Divide and conquer. That’s his game plan. Get you to become so miserably certain that you are all alone that you quit the faith.
In a National Geographic article about the Portia spider, author Robert Jackson detailed the various ways it deceives its prey. Sitting still, the spider looks like a piece of dried leaf or foliage until a meal walks by. It will also crawl onto another spider’s web and tap the threads, mimicking the actions of a trapped insect. When the host spider appears, the Portia devours it. Deception is the Portia’s primary tool.
Satan is like the Portia spider in that deception is his primary weapon of choice. One of his favorite ploys is to get you so sidetracked by your emotions that you are ready prey for his attack on your faith.
Why should you trust in Jesus more than in your emotions? Why is this a good strategy when your faith is under attack?
Did you notice how Christ knew every detail about Peter’s denial? Jesus said, "Peter, before the rooster crows this day, you will say three times that you don’t know me."
Christ is aware of the attacks on your faith even before you are. You can’t possibly be going through something alone when He is aware of your circumstances. God can’t possibly be uncaring if He is concerned enough to pay attention to the details of your life. Jesus informed Simon Peter that the attack was coming. Christ’s awareness of the attack on Simon’s faith was in detail.