Paul made it clear to us that we wrestle against demonic forces as we strive to follow Christ (Eph. 6:12). In fact, the enemy often seeks to destroy our Christian joy so that our witness for Christ loses its effectiveness. Here are some ways he seeks to rob us:
- He wants us to magnify our mistakes, dwell on them, and struggle with accepting God’s forgiveness. It’s tough to speak about grace when we’re not willing to receive it.
- He wants us to dwell on one complaint rather than see the good that God is doing through us. Some of us will focus on one complainer even if two dozen people are saved that day.
- He entices us into secret sin. The work of hiding simply drains us of inner joy, even when we can fake it on the outside as we do ministry.
- He leads us to see only the negatives about our sermons. One fumbled word. One unclear illustration. One moment of forgetfulness. One minute longer than we intended to preach. One missed Bible verse. Just one—but that one thing echoes in our mind for the rest of the day (if not longer).
- He aims his arrows at our families. The pain of spiritual attack on our loved ones is agonizing indeed—especially if we sense that the enemy is attacking because we’ve been faithful to follow God. In the weakest moments, we wonder if it’s worth it.
- He takes away our song. I’m not a singer, but I love to sing. My wife knows that something’s dominating my attention when she doesn’t hear me singing through the house. Whatever the issue is, it’s taken my joy.
- He turns our needed self-critique toward criticism of others. All of us need to evaluate our own leadership. That’s not always easy, though, as Satan has wanted us to blame others for our wrong since the Garden of Eden. Joy fades when everybody else is the problem.
- He pushes us toward isolation. For those of us who tend to be loners, the enemy delights when we fight spiritual battles by ourselves. We find ourselves in the cave like Elijah, assuming we’re the only one left who’s really following God.
- He delights in competition among pastors. We’re all on the same team, but you’d never know it by the way we protect our turf, compare our numbers, and willingly swap sheep in order to increase our growth.
- He invites us to ignore personal devotions.Then, we not only lack our time with God, but we also increase our guilt for not being faithful the first place. Frustration replaces joy.
What would you add to this list?