When our life shuts down, it’s natural for us to turn around and look for somebody to blame. But what do you do when you’re the only person in that line? How do I restart if the shutdown is my fault?
It’s important to know that there is no restart without this one important thing to understand: you have a friend and you have an enemy. If you need a restart today, you have someone pulling for you who is very powerful. But you also have someone who desperately does not want you to restart. If we don’t get this right, the shutdown will be our final destination.
We also need to realize that our enemy is not a human person. We know exactly who our enemy is because the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 (CEV):
Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.
You may be down today because of something you did – which could be any of us at one time or another. When I tell you what Satan wants to do in your life, it may help you understand some things that are happening to you right now. This may explain exactly what you’re feeling and experiencing in your life.
From this point forward, you’re going to be able to analyze these things and say, “That’s my enemy working in my life.”
The 4 “Downs” Satan Wants For You
- He wants you to “fall down.”
By that I mean he wants you to mess things up. That is what temptation is all about in our lives. He will tell us that something is for our good, but his purpose is to get us to “fall down” – to mess up our marriage, to mess up our career, to mess up our life.
- He wants to “kick you when you’re down.”
Isn’t it interesting that the same devil who whispered to us, “do it,” will taunt us and say, “why’d you do that?” We all know what it’s like to make a decision that hurts our lives and maybe hurts others. Then when we get down into that spot there’s this awful feeling that says, “Why’d you do that?”
- He wants you to “stay down.”
This is absolutely huge for your enemy because everybody is going to fall down. In church, we often talk about temptation – which is how hard Satan is working to get us to fall down. We need to spend more time talking about how he wants to keep us down.
Here’s the deal. When you fall down, Satan wants you to believe “this is now who you are.”
- He wants you to believe that “God wants you down.”
In a perverse, twisted sort of way, that could actually make sense. When you work through the construct, if you sin, who have you offended? God. Well, when you offend someone in a relationship, what happens? There’s a breakage in that relationship. Often, you have to deal with some kind of punishment. So Satan wants you to believe that when you sin and offend God, you’ve broken that relationship so He wants to punish you. So now God has become your enemy. But that is so wrong and twisted. It only makes sense in a satanic kind of way.
Never forget this: As long as you have breath, you have a friend in Jesus.
Someone might say, “I’m in a mess today and I caused it. I feel like God is chasing me.” Maybe you think that God is chasing you to hurt you. But in reality, God is pursuing us to take away the thing that is causing us so much pain.
Remember, I can still have a restart even if I caused the shutdown. God is the solution for my self-caused shutdown.
When we talk about the enemy, all four things he wants to do include the word “down.” We shouldn’t be surprised that the five things God wants us to have in our lives contain the word “up.” If you will let your heart and your spirit absorb what we are about to discuss, you’ll discover that these things are intensely profound.
The 5 “Ups” God Wants For You
- “Look up!”
When you’re down, this is where it starts. We see this about the prodigal son in Luke 15:17 (NLT):
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!’
He’s in a far country a long way from home. He’s in a pigpen because he blew all his money on prostitutes and partying and the only job he could get was slopping hogs. Now he’s starving to death. But from the pigpen, he saw home. Even though he was down, he “looked up” and saw his life in a different place.
Satan wants you to believe that what you see now is what you will see forever. But the prodigal son looked at the hog pen and said, “This is my situation minus my father.” Then he looked, saw home, and said, “That is my situation plus my father.”
- “Stand up!”
Luke 15:18 (NLT) says:
I will… say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you…”
In effect he’s saying, “I’m going to stand up and take responsibility. This is rare today. Our culture has made a cottage industry about blaming our bad choices on somebody else – and in a broken world it’s always possible. We are flawed people in a flawed world. But at the end of the day, looking at all the imperfect people just keeps us down.
You might say, “It’s painful to admit that it’s my fault – to stand up and take responsibility.” I would argue that it is empowering. What did the prodigal son receive when he took responsibility for his mistakes? He got clarity. When you and I take responsibility for our choices getting us to a bad place, we get closure.
- The closure allows us to “give up!”
We tend to overvalue our image and undervalue our real identity. But our image is worthless. Who we really are is invaluable! We see this in the words of the prodigal in Luke 15:19 (BBE):
I am no longer good enough to be named your son: make me like one of your servants.
This leads us to number 4.
- “Show up!”
So he got up and went to his father. (Luke 15:20 NIV)
Most people who cause their own shutdown will never restart, because they insist on running away. But I love that the prodigal son “showed up.”
You might say, “I may not be dealing with someone as generous as the dad in the story of the prodigal son. What if it doesn’t end well. What if I show up and the person doesn’t forgive me? What if I show up and it causes me to temporarily get in to more trouble?” My answer would be that the biggest advantage of facing them is that now you can face yourself.
Once you have “showed up” you can move on to number 5:
- “Move up!”
Is it ever possible to celebrate after you have messed up things in your life? The prodigal son said, “I’m going to go back to my father and say, ‘I’m not worthy to be your son any more. Just make me a hired hand.’” But the father saw him coming and he ran to his son and hugged him. He told his servants to bring the best robe, put shoes on his feet, and give him the family signet ring. He told them to go out and get the fatted calf and gather our friends. We’re going to celebrate tonight!
I don’t mean that we shouldn’t feel pain when we recognize that our choices have caused pain to others and to God. We should have a sense of the wrong that we’ve done. But there’s a moment for us to bring our guilt to God, receive his forgiveness, and move on with our lives.
I imagine there was a moment where the prodigal son said to his father, “I can’t believe how I hurt you. I can’t believe all the terrible things that I’ve done.” But we can hear the father put his arm around him and say, “Son, the party is for you.” That’s how wonderful our God is. Even if we’ve blown up our lives, God wants to make your life better than it ever was before.
If you have ever made a decision that caused a shutdown – which all of us will, probably many times – know that you have a friend in Jesus. He’s your ally and He wants to help you.
Learn more by watching Mark Hoover’s special series Restart!
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