Today I read this devotional from Rick Renner and was very encouraged by it – I figured I would pass it on (if you would like more information about Rick or subscribe to his daily Greek Gem Devotions click here)
Why Should We Stop Just Because the Devil Gets in the Way?
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:18
If you are going to do anything significant for the Kingdom of God, you must know in advance that Satan will not be delighted about it. He will try to stop you, thwart you, and dissuade you from staying on track. The last thing he wants is for you to step into the middle of God’s will for your life, because he knows the moment you do, mighty and powerful things will begin to happen that negatively affect his dark kingdom. Therefore, Satan will most definitely do all he can to keep you from getting where God wants you to be!
In the January 17 Sparkling Gem, we looked at a key word in First Thessalonians 2:18. Today I want us to look at this scripture again, for in this verse, Paul gives his own testimony of how Satan tried to hinder him from doing what God put in his heart. He wrote, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”
The word “hindered” is the Greek word egkopto. As noted earlier, this word was used to depict a runner who was elbowed out of the race by a fellow runner. However, it was also used to picture the breaking up of a road to make it impassable for travelers. This kind of impasse made it impossible for a traveler to get where he needed to go. As a result, the traveler’s trip was hindered, delayed, postponed, or temporarily put off. The traveler could still take another route to get to the same destination, but the alternate route was inconvenient, cost a lot of extra money, and took precious time that could have been used another way.
By using this word, Paul informs us that demonic attacks inconvenienced him on occasion. Satan craftily sought to abort advances of the Gospel by arranging unexpected problems that delayed, postponed, and hindered the missions God had placed on Paul’s heart. But did Paul sit down and cry because plans didn’t work out as he intended? Did he throw in the towel and quit? No!
The apostle Paul never stopped just because the devil tried to get in his way! No impasse or roadblock was going to stop him! He refused to take no for an answer! He was going to get the job done, regardless of the inconvenience, money, time, or effort involved. He was so stubborn about doing what he was called to do that he always found a way to do it.
An example of this is the time Paul left the city of Ephesus because his life was in danger (see Acts 19 and 20). Paul had given three years of his life to the believers in Ephesus. When he left, he could have cried, “Oh, I don’t understand why the Lord let this happen! He knows how much I love the leadership of Ephesus!” Paul could have bemoaned, “Now I’ll never see the Ephesian believers again. The devil has attacked me, and the door to Ephesus is permanently closed for me!”
But Paul understood that crying and lamenting don’t change a thing. So instead, he went down the road to the seaside town of Miletus and secured a facility for a meeting. Then he called for the elders of Ephesus to meet him there! Paul figured if he couldn’t go to Ephesus, why not invite the leadership to come see him? Why resign himself to defeat just because he had hit an impasse in the road? Paul knew that there is more than one way to accomplish a goal. So he put his brain to work and found a way to do what God wanted him to do.
Why should we stop just because the devil gets in the way? If that were the case, we might as well stop everything we’re doing for the Lord right now! There will never be a time that the devil just lets us do what is in our hearts. We must be determined to keep doing what we’re called to do even if the devil tries to slam the door shut in our faces.
So what if Satan shut the door to Ephesus? That was a good time for Paul to look for a open window! If he couldn’t go to the elders, why not call them to him? Paul discovered an open window in Miletus. He called for the leaders, met with them, and finished his assignment, exactly as God had ordered him to do. Mission accomplished!
You see, Paul had an attitude that would not give up. It didn’t matter how much opposition was leveled against him, he had already decided he would outlive the opposition. Somehow he’d find a way to do what God had called him to do.
You can do anything God calls you to do too! Determine in your heart that you will not allow Satan to do anything to stop you, thwart you, or dissuade you from staying on track with the assignment God has given you. God’s will for your life is where mighty and powerful things are going to happen! That is why the devil is putting up such a fuss to try to keep you from getting there. He’s afraid of what will happen if you actually do what God has put in your heart to do.
So dig in your heels, and determine that you are not giving in or giving up. Refuse to back up or relent, and keep on pressing ahead. The devil may have put an impasse in the road before you, but that doesn’t mean the show is over! If you’ll listen to the Holy Spirit, He’ll show you another route to get you where you need to be.
The Holy Spirit needs a partner who is committed. So just commit yourself to pressing ahead, regardless of the opposition. As you do, the Spirit of God will empower you to conquer every attack that comes against you. Then He will masterfully show you another and more effective way to fulfill your divine assignment. In the end, the devil will be sorry he messed with you!