Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles surround me – too many to count!
My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.
Please, Lord, rescue me!
Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace.
Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, ‘Aha! We’ve got him now!’
Psalm 40:11-15 (New Living Translation)
Working in a mission organisation, I know that opposition follows evangelism like night follows day. When we talk about Jesus, the enemy doesn’t much like it. Actually, that’s an understatement – he hates it. He will use all sorts of ways to stop us sharing with our friends, work colleagues or family how wonderful Jesus is. Trouble, temptation, fear, technology not working, illness, misunderstandings, etc, etc. Jesus described the enemy as a thief, a liar and a murderer. His ambition is to do as much damage as possible by stealing, killing and destroying.
As Christians, we need to take spiritual warfare seriously. Paul wasn’t merely teaching theology when he wrote about putting on the armour of God, it’s meant to be a regular, practical exercise. But our focus shouldn’t be on the enemy or on spiritual warfare, our focus should be on the Lord Jesus. If the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus wants to give us life to the full. What is this life? It’s to know God. Life to the full, or eternal life, starts for us here and now as we get to know Jesus more and more intimately and He becomes increasingly precious to us. Jesus is powerful enough to rescue us from the enemy. Jesus gives back far more than what has been stolen from us or destroyed by the enemy, and He is a shield, a strong fortress, a mighty tower to protect us. As God said to Abram, ‘I am your shield, your very great reward’.
Psalm 40 begins by reminding us of the victory we have in Jesus. He is the one who lifts us out of the pit of despair, out of the sticky ooze of sin, sets us on solid ground and helps us every step of the way through life. So, if you’re struggling right now and feel unequal to facing this New Year for whatever reason, why not use these verses as a prayer? King David, who wrote them, clearly prayed this kind of prayer a lot because we find almost identical verses in Psalm 70. Why not trust in God and allow Him to fight for you? And if you would like me to pray for you, please get in touch (below) and I will gladly do so.
Look out for the last post in this series in the next couple of days!
Image used courtesy of shutterstock images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.