Cycles

Have you ever experienced spiritual deja vu? I know, it sounds a bit strange. What I mean is, have you ever gone through something relatively familiar, maybe a vivid feeling of discouragement, an intimate experience with rejection, or some sort of personal mistake that made you think, man, I feel like I’ve been here before? Yeah, me too. Let’s talk about it!
 
I had a moment like this just a few weeks ago. I was feeling extremely discouraged about some things going on in my personal life, playing the comparison game once again. Much to my dismay, I opened my journal to a random page only to realize that I had been griping about the exact same things just a few months before. It hurt. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but feel confused. How did I get here again, I thought to myself. Of course, life often offers circumstances beyond our control, but in this moment, I was reminded, that I have the power to control how I respond.

Maybe you’ve found yourself in a situation like this before, noticing familiar patterns in the things that distract, discourage, and bring you down. This is the kind of spiritual deja vu I’m talking about. So, how do we move forward? How do we face life’s challenges without allowing them to repeatedly bring us down?  To find out, I turned to Scripture, and Gospel music.
 
There’s a popular Gospel song out right now called Cycles. It’s all about recognizing the disruptive cyclical patterns we experience as humans in our walk with the Lord. At one point the lyrics state, “See the devil, he learns from your mistakes even if you don’t. That’s how he keeps you in cycles.”
 
I’ve been thinking about these words a lot lately, the devil learns from my mistakes, even if I don’t… Yikes. These words remind me of the battles we face daily, while Jesus comes to offer us abundant life, the enemy comes only to steal, kill, and destroy that very thing (John 10:10). Satan will use whatever tactics are necessary to steal our joy, kill our hope, and destroy our faith. Scarier still is the idea that he pays attention to what works on us and repeats the process over and over again until we respond differently. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go in cycles.
 
In Matthew Chapter 4, Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted by satan. Time and time again, satan approaches Jesus with various alluring offers in hopes of inciting Jesus’ downfall. Time and time again, however, Jesus responds with the Word of God, ultimately demonstrating the key to our success: the Word of God!
 
We don’t have to be the fastest, smartest, or most courageous person in the room to stand against the tactics of the enemy. We simply have to know where to find our weapons.
 
It’s like war, or a basketball game. Anyone can fight/play, but not everyone can win. The good news for us today is that the final score has already been revealed. We win. The hope of Easter is the victory Christ gave us on the cross.
 
We are not a people without hope, and we are certainly not bound to the tactics of our opponent. God has given us an abundance of promises to build our lives upon, 

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. 
The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.,

just to name a few.
 
Today, as we prepare to enter into Good Friday, I want to encourage you to remember one of the most pressing promises we are offered, found in a 3-word cry from the Lord:
“It is finished.”
With this declaration, Jesus proclaimed our eternal hope…the devil has no hold on us. We have been set free.  
 
I know everyone is fighting various battles of their own, some more challenging than others, but there is room for us all at the cross. This isn’t Christian feel-good jargon, or a cop-out for life’s tragedies and unsettling circumstances. It’s the hope we have been given as children of God. Let’s remember that today, this weekend, and the rest of the year. Let’s not go in cycles.

Natalie Brown

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