When you read all the good things God has promised us in His Word, and understand that all those promises are "Yes!" and "Amen!" to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, it's normal to get kinda stirred up. You see things you can have, things you suddenly find out that it's His will for you to have (especially if it's something you really need), and your spirit and faith rise up on the inside to the level where you receive it – that is, you can actually envision yourself with it, so you take it by faith! And that's a wonderful thing, because it's exactly what we're supposed to do and how we're supposed to operate.
Have you ever noticed, though, that you almost never wake up the next morning with what you're believing for in your natural possession? But, that's okay. You knew it might not materialize in just a day or two. You're already well aware that that's specifically why we have need of 'patience' (Hebrews 6:12, 15; 10:36). It's just a fact: sometimes faith takes time.
But, have you ever noticed also – if you've thought to keep track of such things – that after you've taken your faith stand and while you're waiting (especially if it's for something you reeeally neeeed!), the circumstances you find yourself in typically get...worse?!? Here you are, exercising you faith in God's Word and truly believing that things are about to finally turn around for you...and the hole in your life not only stays there, leering at you as if in utter defiance, but it also has the unmitigated gall to get - - bigger!!
When that happens it's easy to get just a bit perplexed and think to yourself, "How the $&*# can that be?" And, oddly enough, that's about right. The hole did get bigger because of...well, hell. The sad truth is, the devil isn't likely to pack up his tent and run away screaming just because you stand up once and declare, "By faith and in the Name of Jesus, this [insert name of what you're believing for here] is mine, so you back off of it, Satan!" Following it up with a single "Hallelujah" and a quick twirl around the room waving your hands like you just don't care before heading off to get a sandwich probably isn't going to do it, either.
Now, what really makes that particular truth sad is that Satan has learned by experience that the majority of people, even after they've taken a stand of faith, are eventually going to wilt. Jesus described the process in the parable of the sower – you remember, the seed sown by the wayside and on the stony-, thorny- and good ground? (Mark 4:3-20) One way or another, for one reason or another, most don't continue in their stand; and so instead of running the devil away they end up leaving and letting him keep what's rightfully theirs.
The point is, when you stand up to enforce God's Kingdom, Jesus' victory and your rights in this heavenly regime, the devil is going to test you, period. And, that hellish testing comes in the form of affliction (which is from the Greek word thlipsis, and it literally means 'pressure,' either from people or circumstances) and/or persecution. So, yes, the hole actually did get bigger because of "$&*#." Satan has learned that the most efficient way to get you to back off of your faith stand is to turn up the heat, to put 'pressure' on you (Mark 4:5-6, 16-17). Notice it's the first tactic he uses on those who actually receive the word and try to do something with it (as opposed to the 'wayside' folks who never understood or believed it in the first place [Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:12]), because the last thing he wants is for you to become firmly rooted in a promise of God. He also knows it can have devastating effects if you're new to walking by faith (even though you may have been a Christian for years), untrained in it or have never experienced a breakthrough victory.
Now, it's true that God will try us in our faith, but He does so by watching to see what we say and do when the pressure's on – while strengthening us by His Spirit in our inner being so that we can endure to victory (Ephesians 3:16; 1 Peter 5:10). But He's not the one who sends the persecution. No, persecution actually comes because of the Word, because someone has actually received it and decided to believe and stand on it (Mark 4:17) – and Satan knows he's got to get it out of there quickly or we'll take that Word and beat him viciously about the head and shoulders with it.
That's why the Holy Spirit declared quite plainly through Paul that "all who [desire] to live godly [lives] in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). The devil will try to knock you down before you're able to become stable and entrenched in God's Word; because he knows that, once you are, he'll be the one who's leaving the scene. He's fully aware that he's lost the war and everything has already been taken from him (Ephesians 4:8; Colossians 2:15). As James 4:7: says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." It is written, and he knows it. What he's really trying to find out is how well we do.
Lester Young is a Christian writer and graphic artist in Myrtle Beach, SC. Visit his faith-based blog Just the GOOD news!
and contact him at jtgn.wordpress.com or Facebook/Just the GOOD news. Follow him on Twitter @Leka43.