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Have you ever experienced a time when all of a sudden unexplainable, painful emotions wash over you?  Maybe it has been a while or maybe you are there now, but think about it.  

With these emotions there isn’t always a source and they can come out of the blue. Emotions that say, “You suck. Nobody likes (or) understands you.  You’re a failure (or) you’re going to fail.  You might as well quit.  They’re going to think you’re an idiot.  Who do you think you are…?”  

If we allow these thoughts to take root they can become completely debilitating.  But you know what? They are lies!  All of them. Praise the Lord – they are lies!

When we trace them back to their source we will see that they are direct attacks from the enemy designed to keep us stagnant.  These lies are the reason most pastors and ministry leaders battle depression and more than 40% battle suicidal thoughts.  Many in ministry even battle unexplainable health issues.  The enemy wants to cripple the army of the Lord. He will come from any angle he can, beginning with our minds.  

  • If he can make us afraid of criticism – our witness will become powerless
  • If he can cause us to become disgusted with ourselves - we will automatically assume everyone sees us with the same disgust.  
  • If the enemy can cause us to run to isolation – who can our lives effect?  

We recently posted a picture quote from Craig Groeschel that said, “If you aren’t ready to be criticized for your obedience to God, you’re not ready to be used by God.”

I would like to take that a step further, but first I need to take a tiny step back.

First of all, we can’t follow God and remain in our comfort zone.  

When we live outside of our comfort zone it triggers every lie and attack from the enemy.  Consequently, “If we’re not prepared for battle against our own self-criticism, we’re not ready to be used by God.”

The enemy speaks with: fear, insecurity, pride, jealousy and justification of sin. The Holy Spirit speaks with confidence in Him, boldness and self-denial. If our thoughts are elevating of self or destructive towards self, they are not of God. They will walk us into a pit. {Tweet This}

In Mathew 4:1-11 Jesus was led by God into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.  He spent 40 days fasting and praying.  While fasting is spiritually filling it is also emotionally exhausting.  It leaves one without energy and it can make our minds easy prey for the enemy.  

1 Peter 5:8 refers to Satan as a roaring lion seeking who he can devour.  If a lion (while seeking its prey) found an isolated animal, left hungry and exhausted it would be the equivalent of hitting up a McDonalds in the animal kingdom -“fast-food”.

So how did Christ respond to these attacks?  He knew they were coming.  He spent time with God and knew the voice of the Father so his spirit could recognize the lies of the enemy.  He fought back with truth.  

Another way for us to gain ground against the enemy is to pray the Lord will help us identify others who are in the battle, come alongside them and encourage them. We should never jump on the band wagon with the world to destroy the character of brothers and sisters in Christ.  How dare we speak into the lies they’re battling?  Instead we must pray for one another and build each other up. 

We shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t agree on every issue. Each of us are at different levels in our walk with Christ. We must pursue unity and build one another up in the Lord.  That type of heart among believers makes a strong defense against the enemy’s lies.  

© Reprinted with permission from Missional Women. Melissa Bradley is married with two small children. She is a co-founder of a City-Wide Women’s Ministry, The Well. She currently serves and assists in various churches around her community. The burden of her heart is to see the churches in her city come together to be the hands and feet of Christ. She is passionate to live every day missionally. You can also find Melissa at www.Melissa-Bradley.com.

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