2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (ESV) - Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, (11) so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
I've quoted this verse for years. "We aren't ignorant of the Devil's devices" I would say. But I do have a fresher understanding of how our Enemy attacks. The more one strives for faithfulness to Scripture, for holiness, for God's glory in all areas of life (money, relationships, children, ministry, etc.), the more the enemy pressures your tender areas. Let me say that again. He puts pressure on your soft spots. As one sister said to me just this morning, "It isn't an attack if it means nothing to you." So true...
I've learned that this verse is true: "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted..." (2Ti 3:12 ESV). But the verses following are also true!!!!
"...while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2Ti 3:13-17 ESV)
SO..."as for" me, I'm going to "continue in what" I "have learned and have firmly believed," knowing that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness!" When pressured in my sensitive areas, I now recognize that is to be expected, and the more we advocate and push the precepts, principles, and patterns of the Word and not secular, worldy, pragmatic solutions, the more this pressure will come.
I now see with more clarity that the more Christ and His commands are placed first in life and ministry, the more the Enemy will attempt to squeeze the zeal and loving obedience out of us. If YOU are being squeezed because you are trying your best to uphold God's honor in areas of your life, I declare to you today: "Situation Normal!" :)
Here are a few verses to encourage you....
And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. "Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
(Luk 6:19-23 ESV)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Rom 12:9-21 ESV)
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
(Col 2:6-15 ESV)