“I often laugh at Satan, and there is nothing that makes him so angry as when I attack him to his face, and tell him that through God I am more than a match for him” Martin Luther.
I promise this will be my last religious post for a little while. I’m afraid I’ve had that subject on my mind of late. The title of this post refers to an experience from my mission. One of my companions struggled to learn the missionary lessons and remember when it was her time to share with investigators. To mitigate this problem I developed lessons using large art posters produced by the church. When she saw her picture she knew it was time to speak.
To get more practice we gave the lesson to members as a family home evening presentation. At the time there was a great family called the Bolin’s that had an energetic son named Wilhamayus (not sure if I spelled that right). He was so excited about the gospel and loved watching church movies and reading the scriptures.
One day we decided to practice our lesson for Wilhamayus and his family and they were excited as usual. When we got to the Joseph Smith picture he looked at it and said without missing a beat- ‘That’s Joseph Smith. He fought Satan”.
What he was referring to was the feeling the Prophet Joseph got before having what we refer to as the First Vision. He talks about being overcome by an evil spirit, of an actual being trying to prevent him from conversing with God. We believe Joseph persevered, clinging to God, eventually seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ.
I was thinking about Wilhamayus’ statement “He fought Satan” this week. Because of some personal challenges, particularly the constant struggle of my health, I’ve been feeling a little blue. At one moment I felt almost overcome by a sense of worthlessness, hopelessness, and despair. My world felt out of control and there is nothing I hate more than that. I felt angry, upset and frustrated.
Trying to find relief I opened my scriptures and read Joseph’s story. Then I had an ‘ah ha’ moment. I realized Satan is trying to get me down. He knows I have power to make a difference in the world, and he doesn’t want that. He wants me to be unhappy and even angry. He wants to thwart my legacy and leave me bitter and resentful. He wants me to focus on what I don’t have, instead of my many blessings.
Closing my scriptures I realized “I fought Satan”. I fought Satan that day when I turned to my scriptures and I fight him every time I decide to follow Christ. Everyday that I make a good choice, a choice to be happy, to serve others, to obey God’s laws, I fight Satan. We all do. Every good choice we make is a victory in the war against Satan and his minions.
I had thought about my own weakness and the power of Satan many times but never quite in this way. That he knows my frailty and will try to use it against me to help his cause. He knows when I feel blue it is more difficult for me to serve God and feel the Holy Spirit. He knows this and monopolizes it.
Since that moment of clarity I’ve had passing thoughts of sadness and loneliness but each time I said to myself ‘Satan, you aren’t going to win. No, not this time. Get out of my head’. As I’ve prayed and relied on God, I have felt my Heavenly Father’s presence stronger than ever.
Will I have bad days, sad days? Of course, and perhaps a certain degree of self-recognition is healthy (we don’t want to hold everything inside or be a doormat); however, it is a spot if left unchecked that Satan can use to reduce my happiness and my effectiveness in spreading God’s word. I know that now and I’m on the watch for it!
It’s like CS Lewis said “there is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan”
One more C.S. Lewis quote “The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil.” So true!
Remember that you can be a warrior for Christ and this will not only make the world a better place but immeasurably increase your personal happiness.
I know this is true!