I love mountaintop experiences. Those are the times when I draw closer to God, and I can feel His presence so strongly that I can almost hear His voice. His guidance is clear. His blessings are abundant. His approval is evident. Yes, those times are the best. The only problem with mountaintop experiences, I have discovered, is that they seem to put a nice big “X” on you – one big enough to get Satan’s attention. Maybe it’s even the traditional target, like a dart board. It never fails; if I’m drawing closer to Jesus, the devil wants to draw closer to me. His weapon of choice? My past.
Let me make a side point: there are times when we’re walking hand-in-hand with God and major things follow. Death, disease, heartbreak, tragedy – no one is immune from the calamities of life. (Check out the book of Job.) However, most believers in Christ draw even closer to Him when these things occur. He is our Rock and our Salvation; He carries us when we cannot take another step.
In this case, however, I’m talking about those jabs Satan takes at us, trying to find the chink in the armor. The sin that so easily ensnares us sometimes jumps up and down like a child vying for attention, and the devil is ready to applaud. Like he did with Eve, Satan causes us to question God. “Do you really believe you are a new creation in Christ? Has God really forgiven you? Have you really changed?” These sly prompts can make us doubt ourselves … and God’s grace.
In John 4, we read a beautiful story about another woman’s struggle with her past and Christ’s compassion for her. It was the middle of the day, and the one shady thing to be found was the Samaritan woman’s reputation. What I love about this story is that Jesus sought out this woman. He went through Samaria instead of going around (as was Jewish custom) to have one conversation at a well. He broke the cultural and gender barriers by speaking to 1. a Samaritan and 2. a woman. If anyone around the well saw them conversing, they may have whispered to each other, “Doesn’t He know about her?” As a matter of fact, He did. She was the very reason He was there. He wanted to reach this one lost soul. He knew her past and told her so. When He told her to call her husband, she told him she had no husband. Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” (John 4:17b-18, NASB) But Jesus didn’t point out this woman’s sin to disgrace her; He did it to offer grace to her. He showed that He knew her. He offered her Living Water. In the midst of her guilt and shame, Christ treated her with love and respect. He revealed His truth to her – He was the Messiah! And this woman, this scandalous, adulterous, Samaritan woman, found joy that day; she was so excited, she became one of the first evangelists – running through the streets, sharing the Good News! People came to Christ that day (literally) because He took the time to care for one lonely, lost woman.
I bet every single day, that woman was reminded of her past. Each time she journeyed to the well for water, going in the middle of the day when it was hottest to avoid the other women, she thought about her life. She reflected on those failed marriages. She knew the gossip. She’d heard the whispers. She’d felt the stares of their condemnation. “I’m never going to change; I will never be truly happy.” Jesus changed her life. No longer did she have to live in the shadow of her past; she could now live in the light of HIS love!
So when the devil shoots his lies into my head, whispers his accusations into my ear, and fires his doubts into my heart, I can take comfort in a Savior who knows me, inside and out. He knows my past … and forgives me of it. He knows my mistakes … and cleans the slate. He sees my tears … and gently wipes them away. He gives me the Living Water to refresh my soul. Satan has no power here. “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” (John 4:29, NLT) Yes, He is the Messiah, and His love defeats the attacks of the enemy.
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. ” (1 John 4:18, NLT)