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Part VI

Prepare to Practice Overcoming

        It doesn't take long for devout believers in Christ to realize that the moment you start pressing in to God, all hell breaks loose. So, since we know this, let's plan for it.
          Make a list of your soft spots, soul issues, things that are easily provoked or hurt in you. Add to that list things that may still be temptations in your life. Add to that list the types of things that get you all worked up or discombobulated. And add anything else to the list where you are vulnerable. This list should comprise all the obvious ways the dark kingdom attempts to bombard us when we're trying to focus on the King. If we are mindful of the types of things the enemy will do to thwart us, we'll be prepared to not fall for it. Of course, if the enemy thinks he won't get away with the obvious because you're a step ahead of him, he will come up with a unique type of right hook to throw you off. But don't worry about this. The fact that you are in "preparation" mode keeps you on alert. So as things arise, you are not "as" shocked and you are quicker at getting your footing so that the devil's attempt is a fail. Even if you begin to falter and yield to the trap or snare, you'll be far more like to catch yourself. Now...
          Once the list is complete, here's what to do:
  • First, repent for everything in you that allows you to still be vulnerable to yield to these propensities. Don't fret over it, we all have this stuff. The idea is to face it and bring it under the blood and endeavor to truly put it behind us. But for right now, the primary thing is to repent for these tendencies. Something in you is not yet fully aligned with God, otherwise, these would not still be vulnerabilities. But for now, the first thing you can do is acknowledge them and repent. Get them under the blood of Jesus by virtue of sincerely choosing to put them behind you. 
  • After you've established that you do not want to continue being vulnerable in these ways, THANK the Father for making the way for you to be changed from these ways.
  • Now understand, that deciding these ways are behind you doesn't solve the problem, obviously. 
  • Next, ask the Lord for His mercy and protection over you in these weak areas while you are digging deeply into this program and all else that you're doing to seek Him earnestly. Ask Him to ensure that you are not challenged in any of these areas UNLESS they are an opportunity for you to practice overcoming. Now embrace this in its entirity. You know God uses situations to teach us things. Many years ago when I faced an ongoing trial of pain and was questioning God over it, He said, "Trials are so that I can Teach you, Train you, or Toughen you up". So, it's time to learn to accept the trials that God allows. HOWEVER, as you also know, there are other times when devastations or injustice and such were strictly unnecessary assaults from the enemy.  They are extra efforts to pummel you to keep you from growing closer to the Lord or get you off track. So, though you must not presume you can pray all problems away, you CAN entrust the details of your life to God, asking Him to not allow any unnecessary assaults! To deliver you from evil. And trust that He'll make sure of it. That's one thing we all have to learn - is to rest assured that if we ask for God's help with something that's His will to begin with, He WILL SURELY DO IT, NO QUESTIONS ASKED. (Perhaps you should talk to Him about your confidence levels right now if this is an issue. Because if you don't believe He'll surely do what you ask concerning this, then this gives the enemy rights!) But back to the point, in all CONFIDENCE, ask the Lord to protect you from all the devil's crap while you're trying to dig in and learn.  And He'll put a shield about you - only allowing situations to occur to give you an opportunity to practice responding according to what He is teaching you or what you're seeking to learn at that particular time. And note: If you fail, no worries, He'll give you a new situation to practice handling yourself according to His truth.
  • Next, be prepared to walk out the truths you are learning. Meaning, don't just read the Bible or a teaching and not chew on it and resolve to apply it. Make SURE to spend genuine time meditating on what you are learning. This is where we go wrong. We glaze over everything. Then when life happens, we're operating how we always have, totally unaware that we were just given new techniques to apply. So, take everything God shows you very seriously and deeply ponder and meditate upon it so you are full of it when the opportunities arise. 
  • And finally, prepare your mind and heart that it's okay to go through God permitted trials. Don't dread the songs and dances the devil does put on. It's time to be less devastated over the things of this life, even the bad! Trust me, I've been down some very painful roads. But I've learned not to get swept away by the terrible things of this life. Honestly, I can say that some terrible things have happened in my life this past couple of years that would have sent me into profound despair and hopelessness ten years ago. Because I now choose to walk in the truth of God's peace. Jesus truly is all that matters. True, the stuff of this life does matter but only to a point. ONLY to a POINT. It's all beneath Jesus. None of it is eternal. The only thing eternal is my response to it all. So please, stop being devastated by the devastations. Choose peace. Choose joy. Even despite them. Because you do, after all, still have Jesus.

          Now how can we tell the difference between God-permitted trials and an unecessary pummeling? Well, unless God reveals it, we can only suspect which is which. Sometimes you can just tell when it's just relentless and ridiculously evil. But I think when God allows trials, we sense God in the midst of them if we are abiding in Him. Bottom line, we don't know for sure. But if you'll take the approach of being prepared, all the while praying for God to protect you from the unecessary stuff, then you can be confident that whatever happens as you begin digging deep into His truths is because it's something to practice overcoming.
         You'll be surprised how taking this perspective and preparing in advance as to how you are going to deal with the devil's schemes seriously changes everything. I mean, you still have to go through it and you won't be perfect, but you'll see yourself growing in leaps and bounds! And, because you're praying, you'll see far fewer unecessary assaults!