Refusing to Change the Subject

I think it was a sermon from Graham Cooke that i was listening to – he said the devil doesn’t have the Holy Spirit in him and so it’s impossible for him to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit so he cannot be patient. It then follows, that in whatever situation that you’re in, if you’re in the place that God’s put you and the devil’s trying to come against you, if you just keep going, you can out-patience him. It’s like he’s playing a game of supernatural ‘chicken’ with you – coming at you head on – and he’s betting that you’ll be the one to flinch and change your course first. But what if you don’t? What if you’re the one who stays on course for longer? What if you refuse to change the subject causing him to lose patience and move first? I was mulling over all this when my amazing friend Sarah (of the aforementioned costa coffee experience) told me of some research she’d heard that shows that couples who are unhappy and wanting a divorce, if they just decide not to divorce (that’s all they have to decide – no change in behaviour, no new marriage strategy), in the vast majority of cases they’ll testify to being happy together in 5 years time. Just a simple decision to not change the subject, to keep going forward, to refuse to quit and voila, they’ve out-patienced the devil who loves to bring division and breakdown of relationships. It’s easy to assent to this idea of out-patiencing the devil from a distance, but harder when you’re the one going through the difficulties. When all that is around you is crumbling and the temptation to point the finger at God and say ‘Why aren’t you answering my prayers?! Don’t you see? Don’t you hear? Don’t you care?’ pulls you like an overwhelming current. I had just such an experience in this last month. Suffering a personal loss and feeling the effects of it in my own body with things seemingly going downhill even after much prayer. After a month of no recovery, i started to grow impatient. Impatient with the situation, impatient with God. And just as i was about to push Him away and give up i remembered Graham Cooke’s advice to out-patience the devil. And so, there was only one thing for it. I decided to write all my disappointments and hurts on a piece of paper then stand on that piece of paper and worship until i connected with God and had a good attitude. It may have taken a couple of hours (i’m a slow learner), but i tell you the sense of wonder when God touched my heart and all that felt like ash slowly turned beautiful in my heart was incredible. He really is able to turn mourning into dancing (Psalm 30) and out-patiencing the devil has turned out to be one of the best things i’ve done in a long time. Keep going. Keep pushing. Once you’ve heard God’s opinion, refuse to change the subject and you’ll see just around the corner, eventually, sometimes oh so gradually, the glimmer of heaven breaking in on the seams of earth.

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