Many of you know that I have been involved in a ministry called Young Life since I was in high school. There are so many things about this ministry that I love, but my favorite thing is hands down being at Young Life camp. I pretty much love everything about camp. But the one event that stood out to me last year was banquet night. They took all the tables that were in the dining hall— put them outside— and made a really long table for the kids to sit at for the evening meal. As I sat there and watched them interact with each other, my eyes filled with tears. I got to witness kids from diverse backgrounds, different states and schools and socio-economic levels, sit down and share a meal. I witnessed fellowship going on between everyone seated at that table. And I imagined God— sitting there —listening and smiling—while lives were being changed.
There is something about sharing a meal or a cup of coffee that breaks down barriers. God obviously knows this to be true. He created fellowship so we could help one another and be there for one another. Jesus spent many meals with His disciples teaching and sharing life with them. He was giving them the teaching they were going to need after He was gone. Jesus knew the importance of sitting at His table.
I was recently reading the 23rd Psalm in Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio. It says in the first part of verse 5, “You prepare a place for me in the presence of my enemies.” I have seen this verse and read it many times, but it has new meaning for me now. This verse states that God is promising to provide everything you and I need to be in the presence of our enemies. Louie says, “Right in the midst of the fray, in full view of the things that are threatening us, our Shepherd spreads a table of provision for us. It’s a table for two. One seat for you and one seat for the God who is for you.” (Isn’t that amazing???)
So, let’s take a look at what it really means to sit at a table with our enemies. Now, most of us wouldn’t choose to sit at any table with an enemy. We want to avoid them like the plague. But, let’s be real. Most of us have had to share a meal with people we don’t like or want to be with. I know that I have endured many of those meals. I have seen food thrown during dinner by someone who was very angry. (For real!)
Usually when I find myself in a stressful situation with an enemy, I want out!!!!! My first response is, “Lord, get me out of here!! I don’t want the table of provision! Get me to the nearest exit please!” (I am so glad He is patient with me!) When I calm down and realize that I’m not going anywhere because God wants me there, I need to realize that He is giving me the provisions that I need to handle that person or that situation. It’s a promise that He is preparing a place for me to in the presence of that enemy.
Now, here is the other thing that I have done way too many times. I am having a nice meal at my table and without realizing it, I have invited the Enemy to have dinner with me. The talk at the table has turned to gossip, or anger or cutting someone down and I have just given in to the Enemy’s lies. I start feeling the panic welling up in me and realize that I have invited a killer to sit in my midst. That might sound dramatic to some of you, but it is true because the Enemy is out to destroy me and you. He loves it when we tear each other down. Satan is thrilled with what is going on in the world today. He loves the hate, the evil, the dissension, the strife, the brokenness, the self-harm, the doubts, the division, etc.– and we are playing right into his hands!
So, what can we do about this Enemy? First, of all we need to pray and be aware of him. You can’t go around in denial that he exists. Second, don’t give him a seat at your table. DO NOT LET HIM COME NEAR YOUR TABLE!!! You have every right to tell him to get away! If your issue is spending too much money, ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of your need and ask Him to help you stop before you start. If you overeat, ask the Lord to make you aware of what makes you want to put certain things in your mouth. If you have a problem talking about others or saying unkind things, pause before you speak and pray about what is going to come out of your mouth. I realize we are human and we are going to make mistakes, but we need to be aware of the Enemy and what he is tempting us to say or do.
The Devil is sneaky. He tells lies. He wants you to fail. He wants to isolate you. He wants you to live in defeat. I have let him sit at my table way too many times. And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t even realize what was going on because I wasn’t aware of his schemes until I was already into something I didn’t want to be in. My heart was broken and my mind couldn’t think straight so I fell for his lies. Louie Giglio states, “Our hearts are genuinely broken, and in our pain we often don’t respond all too well to logic and we become subject to the lies of the Enemy sitting in our midst.” (This so so true!)
Here’s the thing, God has our back! He knows exactly what is going on. I know that there are a lot of things going on that are pure evil. Satan is out there causing as much trouble and confusion as he possibly can! He is the enemy, not God. When I look at all the horrible things that are happening in our world today, it is easy for me to be afraid. But I know someone who can handle everything that is happening and I need to run to Him and pray for His help!
It is also very easy to think that everything is out of control in our lives. We think that there is no way out. But let me tell you right now, that I wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a way out. My way out has been God and His mighty power in my life. I have gone through some pretty horrible things and I am stronger because of my Savior. God can redeem any situation in your life. He is the Good Shepherd and He does take care of His sheep.
We need to go to God daily and admit we need His help. We need to ask Him to show us the areas of our lives where the Enemy is tempting us to be deceived by his lies. I struggled with my view of God for so many years because of my father and now I finally see that God isn’t looking to control me like a puppet master. He wants to lead me to what truly satisfies. He knows that the things of this earth don’t satisfy me. He is my satisfaction.
Dear friends, please listen to me. We are in a war! The Enemy wants to take everything we have. We just can’t let him. We need to stand up to him. We need to tell him to go away. Don’t let him near your table! Life is short. God is big! He is on our side! We are on the winning team! (Don’t forget that!) Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire in the end. But until then, he is going to try to take as many people with him that he can. Don’t be one of those people! Stand firm! Pray! Turn to the Good Shepherd and let Him lead you towards the life you are meant to live on this earth. I am so passionate about this because I was deceived for so many years. I allowed the Enemy to lead me down too many destructive roads. So, he is going down in my life and I want that for you too! Trust God to lead you and guide you. He is goodness and light. I want Jesus at my table — not the Enemy — so I can listen and learn from Him.
Let me say one more thing. I was just looking for a verse to end with, and this statement that I had written on a 3×5 card just fell out of a binder that I keep scripture in. (Not a coincidence!) You aren’t going to believe what it says! (God is so cool!) This is from Beth Moore’s Esther study. “No matter what life — or Satan himself — hands us, the favor of God has on His children causes that “lot” to tumble out on the table in such a way that, instead of destruction, the child will discover that her portion turned into destiny one trusting step at a time. When all is said and done, she will see that the portion God assigned her was good. Right. Rich. Full of purpose.” (Amen!)
Until next time…