This is the seventh and final blog on 1 Peter 5:7 about casting all our anxieties on the Lord and in this blog I want to consider one more aspect of anxiety; When we encounter a threat or a tribulation or a distress, we need to recognize that there are two different agendas that are potentially at work in that situation.
As Bible-reading believers, we must realize that threats are a part of everyman’s experience in this fallen world. Adam’s sin brought with it the guarantee of threats (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 5:12) and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself promised His disciples that they would have tribulation (John 16:33). In the book of Job we read that “man is born for trouble as the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7).” So the question is not whether we will experience trouble or not, but how we will respond when we experience troubles, distresses and threats
Or more to the point of this writing, “Whose agenda will you and I follow when life brings us threats?” Be aware that there are two competing and very different agendas at work in any perceived threat or trial, Satan’s agenda and the Lord’s agenda, and these produce radically different outcomes.
Satan’s plan is to use troubles and difficulties to create fear and anxiety within the disciple so that the disciple will DOUBT the Lord’s power and authority and love, and so that the disciple will become DISTRACTED from the Lord’s mission and purpose. Satan is the father of lies and is the one who hates Christ and hates all of Christ’s followers. As such, Satan has desires to render you and me useless for the Kingdom of God, and one of his most effective weapons is to create and encourage fear and anxiety. Thus when we begin to act with anxiety, we need to realize that we are acting according to Satan’s agenda. Satan desires to see the Lord’s chosen ones become soldiers who have lost sight of the true enemy, who have dropped their weapons, who have forgotten their mission and who are prone to retreat. This is Satan’s agenda.
But the Lord also has an agenda in the presence of tribulations and threats. As biblical Christians, we know that the Lord does all things for His glory and for our good. Since that is the case, it must be that the Lord allows or even creates threatening situations for His glory. (This is repeatedly the situation in the Bible. Consider Jesus in the storm on the lake in Mark 4:35ff or consider the death of Lazarus in John 11. Or consider again the trials of 1 Peter 1:6-9 or the extreme tribulation of the Thessalonians in 2 Thess. 2 or the suffering of the martyrs in Revelation 6:9-11. Or think of Hezekiah before the Assyrian king Sennacherib in Isaiah 36-37. How about the threat of Goliath before he was vanquished by the shepherd boy, David? All of these [and there are many more] are examples of situations where the threats appeared hopelessly overwhelming until the Lord rescued His people and thus glorified Himself. Isaiah 12:2) So what is the Lord’s agenda in threat and tribulation? The Lord’s plan in threats is to PROVE once again that He is the one true and living God and that he is trustworthy and is faithful to His people and to His promises and to remind His people of their PURPOSE, that they are to be His witnesses and are to proclaim His excellencies throughout the earth.
Satan desires to create DOUBT and to DISTRACT. The Lord desires to PROVE His faithfulness and to renew our PURPOSE. To which agenda will you conform? Decide today to refuse to submit to the enemy’s agenda
PRACTICAL TACTICS AND STRATEGIES
When you feel fear and anxiety beginning to rise, immediately take action to “resist the devil so that he will flee from you (James 4:7).” Here are some steps to take:
- Ask yourself, “What could the Lord be teaching me through this threat or trial?”
- What action should I take by faith? (Remember that the faithful in Hebrew 11 ACTED by faith. Therefore, consider if there are actions that you need to take.)
- How should I specifically pray? Dependence and trust in the Lord is demonstrated by prayer.
- What truth from Scripture can I bring to bear on this situation? Cling to the Word. Have a ready arsenal of Scripture passages for those times when you feel yourself succumbing to Satan’s agenda of doubt and distraction.
Do not submit to the enemy’s agenda! Do not give him the satisfaction of having any victory in your life. Refuse Satan’s plans! Instead, run to the Lord and the power of His might.
SDG rmb 4/20/2017