by paul hoffmaster
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When Christians face problems or difficulties they have a hard time distinguishing the source of the conflicts. To some believers, there is a quick affirmation that Satan is the cause of their spiritual, mental and physical attacks. They immediately counter attack using every Scripture that shows the authority of the believer. The name of Jesus is used to intimidate Satan into full surrender. The vocal cords are extended to full velocity just in case the devil is hard of hearing. Another sector of saints believes that God chastens the believer when they fail to live up to the guidelines that He is laid out for them to follow. After all, He loves His children and as a loving Father He will punish those who disobey Him. Both of the above viewpoints have validity, but there is another aspect that needs to be considered. It is simply reaping what is sowed. (Gal. 6:7, 8)
In Judges 6, the Children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord took His hands off the Israelites and let the Midianties invade their land. By doing so, the land was overrun and the Children of Israel fled to the safety of the mountains. For seven years they experienced a life void of Godís direct intervention. When the Israelites finally called out to God, He sent a prophet to explain why they were experiencing such a difficult time. God had told them not to fear (respect) the god of the Amorites. They did not listen and began to worship Baal. Satan was not involved, and the only involvement from God was that He allowed Israel to pursue their own desires.
Many of the problems that believers face today are a result of shuffled priorities. Whenever we remove God from being the number one priority in our life, there will be consequences to pay. The majority of problems that people experience are self imposed. We feel comfortable in blaming everyone but ourselves when it comes to explaining who is responsible for our difficulties. There are times Satan will attack the believer, just as there will be times when God will chasten him, but to deny the role the believer has in these difficulties is to deny reality.
How does one deal with self imposed consequences? In Judges 6, Gideon is called upon to pull down the altar that had been built for the god called Baal and to build an altar to God. This was the first step in restoring Israel to its rightful place. The Children of Israel needed to make God their number one priority again. When they reestablished God, the process was begun to rid their land of the Midianites. The believer today must keep God as their top priority. The next time you find yourself in a spiritual battle, donít be so quick to blame Satan or to acknowledge that God is chastening. Instead, look at your priorities and see if you have inadvertently shuffled them around. If you have built an altar that is in conflict with God, tear it down and put God back where He belongs. If Satan is the instrument of conflict, rebuke him. If God is chastening, receive his rebuke and learn. If you are reaping what you sowed, tear down what has replaced God in your life and place God back where He belongs. When the believer understands these simple principles, he will be more effective in leading a victorious life.
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