One of the ways Satan has "outwitted" me (2 Corinthians 2:11) most of my Christian life is to make me think that I can whine and sigh and moan to people as long as I believe in God, because the important thing for salvation is believing in God. That is bizarre on the face of it.
The demonic cheat is clinched by a twist on theology: Satan has us reason to ourselves that we are sinners, that is who we are, we sin as water flows downhill. God understands and is tolerant, with endless resources of His Son's precious blood to cover it all. (Notice that Satan never brings up the verses about how Christ's atonement is our enablement over any temptation, including temptation to whine and sigh and moan all the time. We can speak in a new way.)
Today a friend of mine told me her youngest son was diagnosed with cancer. Her tone and words were remarkable, and so were her son's. They are both afraid (the Apostle Paul was afraid sometimes), but they are not whining or moaning. Not a word of unbelief came out of her mouth, but rather words of hope and confidence in God.
Evan Roberts of the Welsh revival of 1904-05 had prayed intensely for revival for many years before it broke out and was filled with joy when it finally did. I listen to such a man when he gives counsel-a man who prays and whose prayer is answered. And these are the four points Roberts emphasized when he met with groups of praying people during the awakening in his country:
- Confess all known sin, receiving forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
- Remove anything in your life that you are in doubt or feel unsure about.
- Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly.
- Publicly confess the Lord Jesus Christ.
So as not to be outwitted by the devil into living an ineffective double life and an inauthentic life that will be burned (1 Corinthians 3:15), I am resolved to be like my friend and stop whining and moaning, and start speaking words of unquenchable optimism in God over every problem of the day. Words matter. By them we will either be judged or acquitted (Matthew 12:37).