Attack or Discipline?
Oftentimes, when things go wrong in life we want to look for an answer, a source to the frustration, something to blame, and quite frequently we land on Satan. We justify this reasoning by pointing to our own good deeds. “I’m being attacked by Satan because I went to church on Sunday or read my Bible this morning or prayed for my friend or gave to the poor.“ It’s a self-praising, self-righteous way to justify any part of life we don’t like and it’s great because if it’s Satan attacking us for all the good we’re doing, then we’re not doing anything wrong and all of the frustrations aren’t our fault!
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
While we certainly do have an enemy who prowls around like a lion, we don’t read a great deal about Satan just outright attacking us when we make God-honoring choices. He certainly can, and doing what God wants is opposite to what Satan would want you to do, but we don’t read about Peter or Paul or John or even Jesus being attacked every time they acted in faith. Satan attacks us at times, this is undeniable, but there could be another reason for the frustrations we feel in life.
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?” (Hebrews 12:7-9)
Rather than only focusing on the good things you’ve done and chalking it up to an attack by Satan, don’t forget to self-examine for the sin in your life. Is it possible that the frustration you are feeling is discipline from the Lord? Sure, you walked in obedience with God by going to church and praying and reading your Bible, but did you also walk off the path to satisfy your sinful nature? Let’s not build ourselves up in undeserved ways as if we are so holy and blameles that the only reason for frustrations is Satan’s attack.
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” (Psalm 19:12-13)
“Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin.” (Job 13:23)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
It is wise to search yourself and to ask God to search you for any sin you have lurking in your heart. It may very well be that you are satisfying a sinful urge, wandering from God’s path, and the frustration and “attack” you feel in your day-to-day, is actually discipline from the Lord—and that would be a terrible thing to miss.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.