Working on a spiritual goal is like working out at the gym with a guy standing next to you saying,
Look at you. You’re a slob. Why not just give up right now and get it over with? On the way home you can stop and get a donut.
The truth is, we have an enemy who doesn’t want us to follow through on all our goals. He doesn’t care if we learn to play the guitar or buff up those muscles or become gourmet cooks. But he does care if we work on a goal that will help us love God and others better.
If your new year’s resolution is a goal God wants you to accomplish, you have an enemy who is doing his best to keep you from reaching it. Let’s take a look at how that enemy operates.
Bible Study: Spiritual Warfare and Your Goal
1. Read Genesis 3:1. Eve’s goal is to obey God. Satan doesn’t want her to obey God so he
begins his attack. First, he gets Eve to question God: Did God really say you can’t eat the fruit, Eve?” Think of your own goal. Do you ever find yourself asking, Is it really that big of a deal if I work on this goal? Or does God really care if I do this? If so, answer the following questions:
- Do you think God wants you to reach your goal? If so, why?
- Do you think Satan wants you to reach your goal? Why or why not?
- Do you want to reach your goal? If so, why?
2. Read Genesis 3:2-4. One of Satan’s best techniques is to get us to ignore the consequences of our actions. Think of your own goal. Do you ever say, Nothing will happen to me if I break my boundaries, or I’ll still be able to reach my goal even if I don’t follow through on my plan or renew my mind? If so, answer the following questions:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how diligent have you been about renewing your mind when you break your boundaries or fail to follow your plan?
- Do you need to revise your boundaries, secondary boundaries, or your plan of action? If so, could you take the time to do that now?
3. Read Genesis 3:5-6. After telling Eve she wouldn’t die, Satan goes on to tell her why it would actually be a good and even helpful thing to disobey God. Think of your own goal. Do you ever say, There’s a good reason to forget about my boundaries or plan today? If so, how does that keep you from reaching your goal?
4. If Satan doesn’t want you to follow through on your New Year’s resolution, what will you need to do if you want to follow through on it? (Ephesians 6:10-18)
5. If you’d like a more complete study on spiritual warfare, here’s a Bible study I posted last spring: Spiritual Warfare and Your Project. The sad thing is that I’m still working on that project!
If you’ve been struggling with your goal, try not to get discouraged. I’ve been struggling, too. It’s hard to keep going when it would be so much easier to quit. Like Paul says in Hebrews 12:11, discipline isn’t joyful when you’re smack dab in the middle of it.
But I press on because I want that peaceful fruit of righteousness. Shall we press on together?
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Tanya Horat says
Thanks for the encouragement Barb! It is so good to be reminded that the enemy of my soul also has a goal…. Just last week some of those exact phrases ran through my head, and it is so valuable to keep coming back to the fact that God DOES want me to reach my goal. It will be a bit of a road ahead but I know the end result will be well worth it. Thanks again.
Yes – well worth it! The think I need to keep remembering is that not only does He want me to reach it, He wants me in intimate fellowship with Him while I’m working on it. He’s not the slave driver, cracking the whip, saying “You’re terrible, Barb,” when I take breaks from working on it. He’s just saying, “Come on back, Barb. You can do this. I’ll help you with it.”
Elizabeth Archer says
Amen! Yes! let us press on together! :o)
This morning I was realizing that I use music to re-new my mind a lot. I do it so often I don’t even think about it. Right now Chris Tomlin’s CD Burning Lights has quite a few songs that totally convict me to stop pitying myself and LOOK to how good God is to me! A Dear friend suggested I listen to his “Whom Shall I Fear” song on utube when I was facing a huge trial. I had not heard of him. I liked it and on a whim I bought the CD. It has really very thoughtful words of praise that have help me to re-new my mind when I am feeding the boys their oatmeal, or doing chores and can’t actively read the Word.
Thanks for these great ideas, Elizabeth. I’ll have to listen to those sound tracks. Have you ever heard of Spotify? My kids use it, but I haven’t checked it out yet. Apparently, you can listen to whole albums on it. Thanks for the suggestions!
Elizabeth Archer says
No! Now I need to look up Spotify!
p.s. I e-mailed you a reply tonight (Wed). Please don’t feel you need to answer it. We can close the discussion on my re-newing in that area “as is”. Thank You!
Elizabeth, I just listened to “Whom Shall I Fear” – I love, love, love the words! Am planning to answer your e-mail later this afternoon!
Elizabeth Archer says
Thanks Barb- I answered you back- off to chart! That’s what I was missing!
Hope it helps. :)
Loren Pinilis says
The thing that amazes me about spiritual warfare is that it’s all about deception. Too often we think of sickness or things that go bump in the night – but the overwhelming majority of the time, attack takes the form of lies.
I agree, Loren. It’s no wonder God says in Ephesians 6 that our offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The truth is the best weapon to fight against lies.
Lately when I feel like giving up I think of Hebrews 12:1-2. “For the Joy before Him…” Jesus had to look past the cross to heaven. That was the joy before Him. He had to look past the pain to the sinners who would be set free. That was the joy before Him.
Great post Barb. You really helped me identify an area satan has been trying to lie to me about. Thanks.
Just recently I was reading in my Women’s Bible Commentary about how satan tricks us. It used Eve as the example. As I was reading through the passage I kept thinking, “satan is still using these same old tricks. We have the play book and yet we still fall for them!”
So true. The same old tricks. But they look just enough different from situation to situation that it seems like we have to learn to recognize them all over again when we start working on a new area of our lives. The more time I spend putting truth to lies, the easier it is to see the lies.
Dan Black on Leadership says
My top/main goal for this year was in the area of spiritual growth(God growth). To draw closer to God by making my devotions and building relationships with other believers priority. A action step my wife and myself took tonight was attending a small group. Great post as always.
I love your goal, Dan. And the fact that you have action steps for it! My husband and I have also enjoyed small groups throughout the years. They’re great ways to get to know others and grow spiritually. Glad you guys are going to one.
ThankGod Kalu says
This is an amazing bible study site . I just stumbled on it.
Barb Raveling says
Glad to have you here, Kalu! Hope you find some helpful Bible studies!