My small group leader asked me to speak at small group this week when all three of our groups stay together to reflect on what we've been learning the past month. After he asked me to do it, I went out to my car and sat there yelling at God asking Him why He would make me do that with everything else that I have going on right now. I’ve been completely overwhelmed with school, and it’s been an emotional roller coaster for the past three weeks trying to hold onto some sense of control as I freak out about not having enough time to finish everything that has to be finished before I graduate. I also was frustrated that God was making me do this because after a long week of constantly giving and serving on teams I come here just wanting to sit and be. I don’t want to do anything when I’m here. I don’t want to lead music, I don’t even want to sing—I sing every week, I just want to listen and take it in. I don’t want to speak, I want to mostly hear what others have to say and only really sneak in a line or two during discussion group because I have a desire to be known, but even that desire is suppressed because of my struggle with trusting people with who I am. I’m basically a mess! But having been in small groups since junior high, I also know how important it is to be a contributing member when you sign up for a small group. I know God has given me gifts so that I can use them to bless others—to lead a song with them or say something that may challenge them or comfort them. And I know that’s why God was making me do it.
But being the person I am in my frustration and anger with His request, I made a deal with Him. Why He puts up with me for doing such things I have no idea, but I told Him if He wanted me to do it, He was going to have to one, tell me what to speak about since I have been blinded on a weekly basis by the crappy school situation I’m in and haven’t been able to reflect on small group discussions and two, He was going to have to give me time to finish my homework so I could sit and think and process about what I’ve learned the most from these past few weeks—one of which I wasn’t even here because I was sick. I have to be honest, I didn’t think God would actually do it. I had a ton of activities happening this week and had to finish writing a twenty page paper and start two new group projects. For three weeks I haven’t had time to think about anything I’m dealing with because I’ve had too much homework. There was no way with an even busier schedule this week that I’d have time for this. But apparently God really wanted me to talk tonight because He made that time, and He gave me a topic. Surprise, surprise.
Read Matthew 12: 25-29, “25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.”
When we talked about these verses in our small group, we also went back and read about Jesus’ temptation in the desert. We talked about how Satan was presenting Jesus with all sorts of desires for security and provision and pleasure and power that I have. But unlike me, Jesus was able to refuse Satan’s offers—therefore binding Satan from being able to continue in his trickery. We talked a lot about the extent to which Jesus really had to resist those things and if it was really that hard for him to say no since he was perfect and had never given into those things before. I wasn’t focusing as much on that part of it as I was thinking about how those desires are so close to the core of who I am. It’s not very easy for me to say no to those things and to bind Satan like I need to. When I sat down Sunday night to think about everything going on in my life lately to prepare for this, I was a little taken aback that I have been faced with each of those things these past few weeks.
- Security: I’ve been anxious about how I’m going to get a job once I graduate since there’s no teaching jobs out there. - Provision: I finished my taxes and had to send the feds a fat check after not getting enough babysitting to pay my bills last month. - Pleasure: I have 14 friends who have recently gotten engaged with a couple more expected to happen any day now. - Power: I’ve been facing some frustrations with worship team not working how I would want it to work.
I’ve dwelled on each of those things with a fair share of tears about all them. And when I was thinking about it Sunday, I was realizing that my house is divided. I can’t serve two masters, but it’s what I’m doing. I’m claiming to live for God and yet I’m not trusting Him to take care of me in the future with my job. I’m not relying on Him to provide for me financially. I’m not surrendering my desire to Him to have a family of my own. I’m not listening to His reasoning for why He’s running the worship team the way He is. In each of those ways, I’m serving Satan because he is the one who tempted me not to trust, rely, surrender, and listen to God.
Verse 25 says, “A house divided against itself will not stand.” And I’ve wondered why my world seems to be falling apart lately. Well, I got my answer.
I just want to challenge you to take some time and really think about what things are dividing you from God right now. Coming from somebody who knows, if you don’t give those things to God and bind Satan by doing so, then your house is going fall. We need to remind ourselves of the truth God gives us in His word.
Matthew 6: 25-34 says, 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."