My wife, Maria, was feeling very tired and had such a headache earlier today that she had become discouraged about her health. As I prayed for her, I was reminded of the verse that tells us not to be weary and faint in our minds (Hebrews 12:3 KJV). I think the Lord wanted to inspire her to have a little more fight.
Our spiritual enemy, the Devil, really fights us, but as long as we keep fighting back, he can’t win. It reminds me of a song my mother used to sing when the going got tough:
Keep on believing; God answers prayer.
Keep on believing; He’s still up there.
Sorrows and troubles will soon disappear:
Nothing can harm you when Jesus is near.
Keep on believing; the storm will pass,
Look for the rainbow; ’twill come at last.
Trust in His promise: ’twas written for you.
Keep on believing and praise your way through!
The original lyrics say, “Keep on believing and pray your way through,” but my mother was a great one for praise so she sang it, “Praise your way through.” That’s how you get the victory! If you believe in prayer, you’re going to start praising the Lord for answering your prayers even before you see those answers.
So I said to Maria, “You need to fight, and you need to praise the Lord more instead of talking about your weakness and headaches. As long as you’re thinking about the Word and the Lord and you’ve got a song or a praise in your mouth, you can’t complain and moan and groan about how bad you feel.
“You need to attack the Devil! When you feel down, quote Scripture or sing a song! You need to refuse to talk about your problems. Praise the Lord and thank God for the health you do have!”
God will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3.). If you keep your mind on the Lord, that keeps you from thinking about your troubles. Whatever you do, don’t go around moaning and groaning and complaining and spreading the Devil’s doubts and lies! The minute you feel like doing that, go on the attack by praising the Lord. Sing! Quote Scripture! Do something positive!
I’ve often been quite sick but didn’t even want to admit it because I didn’t want to give the Devil the satisfaction of hearing me talk about it! However, sometimes the Lord allowed it to get so bad that I had to humble myself and ask for prayer. Sometimes we can be too proud to ask for prayer; that’s one thing. But when you’re fighting the Enemy and don’t want to give the Devil the satisfaction of hearing you talk about it, that’s another thing! I can remember my father praising the Lord and singing and rebuking the Devil, even though he was quite sick.
Maria asked, “Isn’t that being dishonest, to act like I’m not sick when I am?”—And immediately the story in the Bible about the prophet Elisha and the Shunammite woman came to mind (2 Kings 4:8-37). One day the woman’s young son died of sunstroke out in the field. Immediately, his mother took him into the house and put him in the room she had built for Elisha to stay in whenever he passed that way. She laid the boy on the prophet’s bed and ran off to Mount Carmel, some miles away, where she found Elisha. He greeted her and asked, “Is it well with you?” and she answered, “It is well.” Then Elisha asked, “Is it well with the boy?” and she said, “It is well.” Was she lying?—No. She had faith that even though the boy was dead, he was in God’s hands and it was well with him! And then she told Elisha what had happened and asked the prophet to come and pray for her son, who was then miraculously raised from the dead!
It’s not that the Lord wants you to hide the fact that you’re sick. You should humble yourself and admit that you’re sick so others can pray for you to be healed, but you shouldn’t go around complaining about it.—That’s not faith. Admit it and ask for prayer, but then try to be cheerful, encouraging, and show you have faith. Be positive and praise the Lord!
You need to take a positive stand against the Devil and his attacks. Resist the Enemy, God’s Word tells us, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). If you just accept it, that’s bad—and if you complain about it, that’s even worse because then you’re testifying to the Devil’s handiwork!
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19), but most of them are minor, thank the Lord. They are just enough to keep us close to the Lord and praying and trusting and praising the Lord and asking the Lord for help. King David of old said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word,” and, “Unless Your [Word] had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction” (Psalm 119:67,92). That’s probably why the Lord allows His children to have many afflictions—because that’s what keeps them righteous!
When you seem to be excessively tired or have frequent headaches or other troubles, it’s natural to wonder why you’re feeling bad. Well, now you know: It’s so you can go on the attack and resist the Devil, because it’s him fighting you! Also, the Lord may be trying to teach you something else through your suffering. That passage in Hebrews chapter 12 that talks about not fainting in your mind also says a lot about chastening, or training. I think dear Maria is learning her lesson, because I haven’t heard her complain once more about her health—and she’s feeling much better, too. When the Devil couldn’t get her to preach defeat, he gave up!
(Prayer:) Deliver us, Jesus, out of the hands of the Evil One! We thank You for how wonderfully You’ve kept us and protected us and provided for us. Help us to thank You continually, all day long! Your Word tells us that You dwell, You are enthroned, in the praises of Your children (Psalm 22:3) and that we are to come into Your gates with thanksgiving and into Your courts with praise (Psalm 100:4).
“In everything giving thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Help us not to forget to be thankful continually, constantly praising You, quoting Your Word to encourage our faith and singing positive songs of praise to rebuke the Enemy. The Enemy hates to hear us praise You, and he hates to hear Your Word, so keep our mouths full of both, Jesus. Amen.