NGBC

New Grace Baptist Church

I.O.U.

IMG_3756.JPG Has anyone ever given you an I.O.U? That's when they are unable to pay you what they owe you at a certain time, and so they give you an "I.O.U." as a promise for future payment. I choose to look at the initials in this particular blog as "Infernal Opposition Undetected." Satan is constantly writing "I.O.U.'s" and many are completely unaware that it is him. As a result of this, many Christians are defeated and discouraged because they don't know how to resist the feelings of failure and defeat that Satan is constantly hurling at them. Why don't they resist him? Because in many cases, they are completely unaware that he is involved.

Satan hates any person who lives up to their God-given potential. He is always looking to find Christians who are excited about prayer, or who are growing in Christ, or Soulwinning.

In many cases. His disdain will come out in the voices of people. I had an experience recently, while I was out knocking on doors. I received a call from someone who didn't like me very much, apparently. He said something that I feel like I've heard before. You see, for the longest time, I felt like a failure. As a pastor of almost nine years, I felt as though nothing was improving, and that my life was being spent on a ministry that wouldn't come to fruition. The voice would come--Not audibly--"You are a joke. Your ministry is a joke. You're a fake, and God will never use you."

So often I would try to dismiss that. It really bothered me.

There was a time in my ministry when I stood before a congregation of six people: my wife, my two children (at that time), and three widows who remained faithful. It seemed as though the harder I worked, the more difficult things became, and I developed an attitude of giving up. I thought many times, "What's the use of trying to improve the church when it seems that it will only get worse! What's the point of going out and praying? What's the point of handing out tracts and spending the church money on them when people are just going to throw them in the trashcan anyway. I'm a joke! My ministry is a joke!

Fear is a LiarMy friends, fear is the same thing as faith, only fear is putting your faith in a lie. I heard Paul Chappell put it this way, "Faith cancels out fear, and fear cancels out faith." Oh how true is this. Satan wants to cause us to fear, to be afraid of the unknown. He knows that when we go out on a limb that we will find fruit at the end of it, and so he will desperately try to discourage us from doing that.

So back to my story. I was so attacked by these thoughts of failure and so burdened that it seemed my spirit wasn't trusting in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." In the midst of the frustration, I remember reading a book about spiritual warfare. The author said that when Satan whispers to us, he will not speak to us in the second person (YOU won't die, go ahead and eat the apple!); rather, he speaks in the FIRST person, (I won't die! The apple looks good!) To give you a more familiar example, he will come to you and whisper, "I'm tired...it's hot...I've got to go soul-winning...but I'm tired...those teenagers that are going with me, they probably don't want to go either...I'm tired...it's hot...they won't mind if I cancel it." Have you ever had thoughts like that? Satan won't say, "You're tired...common, those teens don't want to go with you!" No, because then you'll know it's him! He's a liar, and he'll lie about himself. We all like to get credit, but sometimes, when it comes to tempting someone to do something, it's not a good idea for taking credit for something like that. In fact, Satan doesn't even lie sometimes. He'll just take one big lie, and wrap it up in a bunch of truth.

I was telling my teens on the way to soulwinning that one of the reasons why prayer is such a drudgery and actually witnessing to people versus canvassing the area with doorhangers; is because it is 100% spiritual. And it is in those times that Satan will attack the most. Little did I know what would happen. As I was out sharing the gospel with people, suddenly my phone rang, and someone left a message. I checked my voicemail to make sure that it wasn't an emergency, and I heard a voice on the message say, "Ha ha...REVEREND Barnett...what a joke...YOU are a joke. Sometimes, when he sees that his private taunts won't move you, he will work through people. And there is a passage of scripture that gives a perfect example of this.

In Job1:11 and Job 2:5, Satan swore that if God took all that Job had, and if he took his health that Job would curse God. As you see by the two separate passages, Satan was proven wrong not once, but twice. Interestingly enough, when Satan failed to make good his promise to God, notice what Job's wife said in verse 9 of chapter 2, "Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die."

Now please, I'm not at all suggesting that Job's wife was wicked and sinful for saying this. If you lost your children and all that you had, wouldn't you be a tad upset, too? My focus is not on Job's wife, but on what she said. It echoed the very words that Satan spoke to God, "He will curse Thee..." I can just see Satan after failing twice. Here sits a man devastated, having lost everything, including his health...yet retains his loyalty to God. If your goal was to see him curse God after two attempts, and he didn't, wouldn't you be mad??? And I can just imagine that rage invading the heart of Job's poor wife in her moment of greatest weakness, causing her to cry out, "CURSE GOD AND DIE!" Hate is the same as murder. Don't you think Satan hated Job? Don't you think he wanted Job to die? And the best part is that his failure is marked down in the Word throughout the ages! No wonder Satan hates the Word!

So when someone says something that hurts you, and perhaps with words that resonate the very thoughts you had of yourself; first, ask yourself if you are serving God to the best of your ability, and then recognize that Satan wants to keep that from happening.

And by the way, you don't have to put up with the devil's little onslaughts. If you suspect it is the devil, take just a quiet moment and recognize the following things:
  1. I am in Christ
  2. Christ is far above all principality and power
  3. The Bible commands me to resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9)
  4. Because I am far above the enemy in Christ, I don't have to deal with this
Then pray something like this, "Satan, if you are the reason for this unrest and evil ideas, you have no right to do it, leave now!" The reason for the "if" clause is to keep Satan from gaining a foothold. If it is not him, you will give him new ways to attack you; but the fact is, he must obey your authority that you have in Christ. And therefore, if it is the devil, he will flee from you.

So, when Satan gives you an I.O.U. (Infernal Opposition Undetected), give him an I.O.U. (I Oppose U) with Jesus' signature of approval on it!

 				
					
		

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