The Enemy is Real

Two concepts where reinforced in my experience during the last couple weeks. I think maybe it is typical that what we know to be true, is so that we can appreciate God’s comprehensive coverage of our state; regardless of what that state is.

Here are the two concepts that were at play these last couple weeks in my world:

1. God wants to be there for us.
2. The enemy is real and doesn’t want that.

The Back Story

I’m not anyone special, in my own estimation.

I’m not a powerful Theologian who knows every page of the scriptures inside and out, as well as the background behind, in history and culture.

I’m not the spiritual leader of a church.

I write a scripture commentary blog, that’s it. What I share on Selah Musings, with my Bible comments and commentary, is nothing more than the reflections of impressions, from my reading of God’s Word and application of that to my life experience. This is directed by the Holy Spirit, as I read and understand God’s Word.  That’s it!  That is the extent of my literary qualification for writing this blog.

As a result, this means that, writing this blog is a passion of mine, in which I depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is done for the Glory of Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord.

For all intent and purposes, I am an average Joe. I hold a regular job in the information technology field. I do this to pay the bills, of which there are many and to provide health care coverage for my wife and myself.

Are you under-impressed yet? Trust me, I am getting to a point here.

So, the situation is that my ‘regular job’, which provides my income and health insurance for my household, is going away.  This is something that I’ve been aware of sometime and have been seeking to remedy since becoming fully aware of this about 5-6 months ago.

I have been consistent sending out resumes and making applications for new positions during that time, with little to no response from potential employers. What little response I have seen, has been to politely inform me that I wasn’t what they were looking for.  Zero interviews (except with recurring firms who want to build you up and assure you that their firm can get you a job; just to get you included in their inventory of available their inventory of available talent.).

I really needed to be figuring out where my next source of income was coming from, is as this job I have right now is coming to an end in two months.

Placing It In God’s Hands

If you have been reading Selah Musings, then you’ve probably come across one of my articles, that stresses trusting in God for all our needs. This article focuses along the same thing but pairs it with my life experience.

It has been a little over a year ago, I felt God letting me in on the fact that, my career path was going to be taking a turn soon.  I didn’t know then and still don’t know what that meant. I only understood that my vocation was going to change. I didn’t know what job I would end up in; only that God was taking me out of my current role and had plans for installing me doing something new.

Through God’s word, I was comfortable with this because:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (CSB)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.

The Moody Bible Commentary says about these two verses:

“These verses represent the heart of the exhortations. The son is admonished to trust in the LORD with all his heart. Such trust completely believes what God says, including accepting His words of wisdom while rejecting the way of folly, obeying His commands, and embracing His promises. Trust also involves resting secure in God’s loving, protective care and relying completely on His resources. Thus the trusting one will not lean on his own understanding.”

Let me comment on the commentary for a bit.  If I wanted to paraphrase this, in my one words, it might sound something like this:

Truly trust God to direct your life, acknowledge His sovereignty over you for everything and don’t resort to trying to navigate your way based on your own knowledge and abilities; and He will make a clear path for you.

So, a little over a year ago, I turned this over to the Lord.  I placed this change of vocation in His hands and committed to walk that path he sat in front of me.

July and August, the rumors where abounding at the office, that we were facing a shutdown of operations, due to change in business.

September, those rumors, were confirmed.

October, we learned more definitive dates, but this was still sketchy.

December, we all got our unique date; the one where, ready or not, we were off on a new adventure.

My exit date was set for March 9th of this year.

Two weeks ago, the drought of interview opportunities came to an end, resulting in three companies looking at me, as a possible new hire.

Up to this time, I had managed to keep my wits about me and was relying on God to make a way forward for me.

The first opportunity never resulted in anything more than an email inquiry. I didn’t think much about it. I figured, based on phone conversations with the other two, that I might be headed for an interview with both other organizations.

The first opportunity, was something I felt confident in doing, as it had been a role, that I had fulfilled peripherally, in the past. This job would put me in that role full time and while not too thrilled with that prospect, I felt that it would be something that I would find engaging and I could grow into comfortably within the constraints of the job.

The second one was interesting to me, as it would tap into pretty much all of my 30 plus years of experience.

I still was resting, in the provisioning of the Lord, to put me where he wanted me.

Sure enough, the first company invited me for an interview the Friday before last. I was excited but still was hoping that the second company would do the same. Tuesday of last week that second company also emailed me to set up an interview as well.

The first interview was for last Thursday afternoon late. The second was slated for Friday at noon.

I went into the first interview confidant of what I was there for. I learned quickly that this was one of those situations where there has been 30 years of history, leading up to them requiring them to fill this position. The primary intent was to add extra fingers, for the dike that was threatening to burst.

As that interview ended on Thursday afternoon, I remember thinking ‘Lord, if that is the job, I’m okay with it, but it’s really doesn’t seem like there is going to be much opportunity for either you or me there. But whatever direction you point me to, I will follow’.

At the same time, I also, was still looking forward to the interview with the second employer and so I was feeling no trepidation what so ever.

Friday morning came and as I always do my morning devotions, I did them again. Still no fear. Some of the passages, of encouragement, I encountered:

Lamentations 3:22-23 (CSB)
Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!

2 Corinthians 12:9 (CSB)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

Jeremiah 17:10 (CSB)
I, the Lord, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.

It seemed that God was laying a foundation for me in my devotion.

His faithful love and mercies which never end, constantly renewed with each new day. (Lam 3:22-23)

His Grace abounding and its power demonstrated despite my weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Him taking account of my intentions and rewarding me in kind. (Jer 17:10)

I’m Prepared! Maybe?

With my devotions completed, I was feeling some excitement about the upcoming interview, which was to be conducted via video conference, at noon.

I wanted to do some last-minute research on the company, to make sure that my mind was fresh on their offerings, and their slant on their culture.

It was during this research, that the enemy came to visit me. The company’s images of young bright individuals, fulfilling their role, with the organization; as the enemy said, ‘You’re not young enough, nor do you fit the model they wish to project’.

Repeatedly, the enemy kept pounding me with the words, stating that I was not good enough for this opportunity and I was foolish to even accept the interview.

As this persisted, I became more and more nervous. I understood what was happening and who was responsible for making me feel this crushing weight of doubt.

Battling Back The Enemy

By 10AM, I was suffering from a bundle of nerves, unlike any interview, I have ever had. I had prayed and prayed. I’d read scripture. Still the voice of the enemy, insisted that I was not good enough for this, or anything else for that matter.

I felt like I needed to share this burden with some other brothers in the Lord and ask for prayer, on my behalf, in addition to the prayers I was offering.  I contacted our two pastors via text message and explained what I was facing.

Both shared words of encouragement and back that up with scripture as well.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (CSB)
For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

This reminded me that this was not my interview. The outcome was not dependent on me. The results would have everything to do with God’s will for me.  As a servant of the most High King, I had pledged my life to Him and surrendered my will to his.

I had no claim to the outcome, nor bore any responsibility, so long as I abided in His will for me.

Then following up:

Joshua 14:7-11 (HCSB)
I was 40 years old when Moses the Lord’s servant sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout the land, and I brought back an honest report. My brothers who went with me caused the people’s hearts to melt with fear, but I remained loyal to the Lord my God. On that day Moses promised me: ‘The land where you have set foot will be an inheritance for you and your descendants forever, because you have remained loyal to the Lord my God.’
“As you see, the Lord has kept me alive these 45 years as He promised, since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness. Here I am today, 85 years old. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then.

Reminded me, that age is never a factor, when paired with the will of Christ Jesus, in the lives of His people.

The devil was on the run!

James 4:7-10 (CSB)
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Victory In Jesus

Quickly after this my anxiety subsided and my nervousness was exchanged for excitement.  I was eager for the interview and no longer were the words of the enemy attempting to defeat me.  He had been run off, by the Word of God, prayers of God’s people, and the power of Jesus that dwells within every follower of Christ.

The interview went smoothly with no issues at all.  I abided in peace throughout the meeting and I was even told by the interviewers that one of my responses had been a pleasant surprise. The response was to a question, that was intended to be a “got cha’”. The interviewer said no one had been successful in answering this question, but I had ‘nailed it’.

When being told this, I tried to recall what I had shared, with them or even the question itself. But I drew a complete blank and was unable to recall it.

My thoughts flashed back to Moses who God promised to give the words for him to speak and felt so blessed because He had done the same for me.

So, Did I Get The job?

Not yet.

I don’t know, if I will or not, as of this writing. More importantly, it’s not about, if I get the job or not.

What was demonstrated to me in this, was not the determination, of the outcome. The outcome is secondary to the will of Jesus for my life. When you surrender to Him your life is not your own.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CSB)
Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.

Bought with a price. Yes, a slave of Jesus Christ, but what a loving master! And in addition to this, the outcome isn’t my obligation to be concerned about.

I have surrendered to Him that which is rightfully His (my life), so I have no claim to it, nor do I have any say so, in what he wills for me. This results in a freedom, that is impossible to achieve, without the love of Jesus living in you.

The enemy is real.

1 Peter 5:8 (CSB)
Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

Friday morning this enemy was hot on my heals, trying to get me to falter and fall. But it is the Grace of Jesus Christ that sustains.  Not by empowering me, for I have not the strength to battle him. Rather, it is through His power.  The enemy is real, but he also has already been vanquished!

The devil is real! The devil is a LIAR! The devil is a real liar.

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