“Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew16:23 (NIV)
Recently I found myself battling a mixture of worry, fear and discouragement over a direction I felt God leading me to take. It was like I had come to a roadblock warning me to stop and redirecting me to consider another way to go. You know how roadblocks appearing out of no where have a way of threatening your plans and upsetting your equilibrium? Especially when you are on a tight schedule and are already feeling pressed to reach your destination on time. That is how I felt.
First off, worry, fear and/or discouragement are often tip offs that a person is under spiritual attack. Our enemy the devil and his evil spirits work mightily using tactics like that to hinder us from pressing ahead into God’s will for our lives. In so doing they seek to not only thwart our plans but also to rob us of our peace and joy by undermining our faith. (Romans 15:13)
As I began to pray about what I was feeling I found the Spirit of God rising up within me to speak to the devil with the same words Jesus used – “Get behind me, Satan!” The more I prayed this, the greater the force and conviction of my words became and the more directive! I found myself moving from repeating “get behind me, Satan” to repeating phrases like “get out of my way, get out of my way” and “you are not going to block or hinder my future!” In the process I began to see with such clarity that the fear, worry and discouragement I was feeling were direct roadblocks thrown up by the enemy to try to stop me from pressing ahead into the plans and future God had for me.
When Jesus was “counseled” by Peter not to proceed with the plans God had for Him or to go to Jerusalem, it was an attempted roadblock thrown up by the enemy. To a person looking at things from an unspiritual and worldly point of view, Peter’s rationale made sense. But as Jesus had to explain to him, that natural viewpoint is limited and misleading in comparison to a spiritual view of things. (vs. 23b)
A spiritual view takes into account spiritual opposition. Are we not all, like Peter, too often fooled into looking at discouraging and anxiety producing news simply from a natural point of view? And thus we fail to see and address it as spiritual.
It is important to note that Jesus faced this demonically inspired thinking with a rebuke! And in the rebuke He told the devil, who was the instigator of this roadblock to His future, to get out of His way. And as I was reminded in my prayer, we need to do the same thing.
The Gospel of Luke tells us that as Jesus’ time approached to be taken up to heaven, “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) We need to ask God to give us that same resoluteness with regard to our desire to press into fulfilling God’s will for our lives.
The roadblocks that the devil attempts to throw in our way, to keep us from our destiny in God, are just like the one Jesus faced. Jesus called it a “stumbling block” which literally means a snare, a trap or cause for erroneous thinking. That is exactly what worry, fear and discouragement are. They are traps to deceive and hinder us from moving ahead in the right direction.
And so like Jesus, you and I need to deal with such road blocks in the same way. We need to put them behind us by understanding their source and commanding them to get out of our way. And we need to press ahead by faith toward the destiny to which God is beckoning us.
Say it with me “Devil . . . Get Out of My Way! I’m moving ahead in God!”
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