November 21, 2017
“Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3 (ESV)
Why did this memory come back now after so many years?
All was quiet in the early hours of the morning as I spent time reading my Bible and praying when an unwanted memory popped in my mind.
Painful and hurt-filled, this memory from years ago involved me unknowingly letting someone down. She felt I’d failed her and that my failure proved I was unqualified. She let others know what she thought.
I was well past that blow, wasn’t I?
As I reflected for a few moments, the Holy Spirit helped me understand. I had recently made a new move with the Lord, saying yes to a challenging assignment. Once I saw my returned memory in that light, it made sense. Of course, the enemy would try to bring my confidence into doubt and remind me what he tried to drill into me years before: You don’t have what it takes.
It’s not the first time Satan has used this tactic.
We see him do the same to Mary (Martha and Lazarus’ sister) as she anointed Jesus’s feet in today’s verse in John 12:3.
“Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
Mary knew her culture’s rules, just as you and I know ours. She was very aware her place was not at the feet of Jesus; women were not allowed to learn directly from a teacher. Yet, it didn’t matter to her what others thought.
Mary’s heart and eyes were on one person: Jesus. As Mary made her move toward Jesus, the enemy made his.
Through Judas, Satan tried to push Mary and all who were witnessing her love to look anywhere but on the King of Glory. He pushed her to become self-conscious, to draw attention to herself through her reaction.
He pushed others to doubt Mary’s sincerity and look to judge her. He pushed the entire room to validate Judas and look to exalt her accuser. Anywhere but looking upon Jesus.
The enemy hates God’s glory, this radiance, this confidence, which is the Holy Spirit Himself in us. This is why the enemy tries to crush our confidence, and one of his main tactics is diversion — getting our eyes off Jesus.
We have to be aware that where God moves, the enemy moves.
As long as we’re on this earth and “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8b, NIV), there will be opportunities for our confidence to be attacked and for us to turn to God for His help.
The day my failure came to mind, the enemy might have thought he was being oh-so-sneaky. He knows we reflect the beauty, goodness and love of his enemy, Jesus. He will do all he can to push down this glory, and he will use any tactic, including our past failures and fears.
When you make your move toward Jesus, like Mary, that means the enemy intends to move as well. Even while you are in the very act of advancing and growing in your faith, the enemy will try to stop you. When he presses, pushing us to abandon God’s gift of confidence to us, we must push harder toward Jesus and remind the enemy he is not qualified to do that.
Dear Jesus, when the enemy uses his tactics to try to get me to take my eyes off You, help me to not abandon the confidence I have gained in You. Instead, help me remember who You have proven Yourself to be and who You are in me. You are my confidence. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 17:7, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” (NIV)
Lynn Cowell’s newest book, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakeable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, officially releases TODAY! Click here to order your copy!
To celebrate the release of Make Your Move, Lynn is giving away 5 copies on her blog today plus a FREE printable, “10 Verses for Building Unshakeable Confidence.” Click here to get your download!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take a moment to reflect on a time when the enemy attempted to steal God’s glory in you. It may have occurred, when like Mary, you were pointing others to your Jesus.
The enemy does not have the right or the power to steal from us what Jesus has already died to give us: freedom and healing. Take this time to once again thank Jesus that He is the King of Glory and deserves all our worship.
© 2017 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Originally published Tuesday, 21 November 2017.