Study the Word to show yourself an approved workman who does not need to be ashamed, who rightly divides the Word of truth, and recognize that the spiritual battle that you are in is real. Join me on the podcast today as I talk about 1 Peter 5:8 where Peter is admonishing us to be on the alert.
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Isaiah 54:9-10
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Hi, friends. This is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. I’m so glad you guys are here. This is a great day to be encouraged in the things of the Lord. And today happens to be February 5th, which means we’re just one week into our brand new Bible Study at MomStrong International. And I’m going to encourage you today of why Peter says we have an adversary and how we know what is up to. Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So thanks for tuning in today, everybody. I’m so glad that you’ve joined me. I really do think I have the best podcast audience on the face of the earth. You guys are so encouraging to me as every once in a while … I get to meet a lot of you out on the road. I love to like hug your neck and hear what God’s doing in your life. And I love meeting podcast listeners because I’m in the studio by myself. I’m in the studio by myself. Oftentimes, Jay’s in the control room or he’s working with me. But really, it’s when you podcast, you’re alone. So you’re hoping that people are listening. You’re hoping that people are encouraged. You’re hoping that you’re changing lives. And one of the reasons why I know that you guys are listening is because you leave reviews for the podcast over at iTunes, and I read those.
So Katie in Oregon, sweet Katie, just posted the other day. “Heidi’s refreshing voice gives practical advice and encouragement on dealing with today’s culture while centering on Jesus and following His Word. She dares to say the things that so many Christian leaders try to sidestep, and she does it with both conviction and love.” Thank you so much, Katie in Oregon. I love that you’re in Oregon. I love that you said thank you at the end, and I want to say thank you also.
Stephanie said, “I have found this podcast to be such a blessing, and it gives me those gut checks that I need. Heidi always points listeners straight to the Word of God for all advice and gives wonderful advice based on the word. She is real and not afraid to stand up for what’s right and doesn’t shy away from controversial topics. She isn’t rude or offensive but blunt and loving. Love your wide range of topics from homeschooling to what’s happening in the culture. Always looking forward to the next episode.”
Want you guys to know I read every single one of the reviews. I read your reviews that you leave at iTunes. I read every review that you leave at Amazon. And it really does matter because it lets people know kind of what they can expect when they listen to the podcast or read a book that I have written.
Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about 1 Peter 5:8. This is where Peter is admonishing us to be on the alert. He says, “Be on the alert. You have an adversary, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion literally seeking someone to devour.” Well, who is that someone? It’s you. It’s me. It’s anyone who is daring to live for Christ in the culture today. And the enemy says that if that’s you, you’re a target.
Now, I think it’s interesting because if you know God’s Word at all, if you’ve been reading for any length of time, you may have come across this passage in Job. So I’m reading through the Bible. And we do our scripture writing challenge for you over at MomStrong International, and then we also have the Bible study there. We’ve been doing that for quite a while. Then, I read through the Bible on my own.
The other day, I was reading in Job. So I’m in the book of Job right now. I never really look forward to reading Job because I’m always just like … I mean, here’s a guy who’s doing everything that God asked him to do. That’s you, some of you. Everything that God asked you to do, you’re doing it. And for whatever reason, you’re suffering, and you’re struggling, and you can’t see your way through all of the hurt and all of the pain. And you’re wondering, “God, where are you?” And this is the whole story of Job, right? He lost everything, and the Bible says he was a righteous man. So our righteousness, our being obedient—doesn’t mean that we’re not going to experience hard times. And in fact, the Bible teaches the opposite is true.
But this is what I think is so interesting. Peter’s trying to warn modern day Christians. He’s trying to say, “Listen, you guys have an adversary.” And I can just imagine they’re like, “Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard this before. It’s just Peter,” like when you say to your kids, “Hey, guys. This is really important.” Your kids kind of look at you and their eyes glaze over, right? Dad’s trying to disciple his family, and he’s trying to lead his family, and he’s got a teenager that’s just kind of looking right through him. Or some of you guys are working in churches, or you’re working in ministries, or you’ve got ministries to families, and you’re trying to sound the alarm, like you’re saying these things that are happening in the public school, it’s for real. These things that are happening in the abortion industry, it’s for real. And it feels like we’re really, really long to wake up. It takes us forever to get a point across. And sometimes you think by the time these people understand it, we will have lost a generation. But that’s how the enemy works. It’s by blinding us. Peter saying, “Listen, you have an adversary, and he’s playing for keeps. It’s no joke.” But this is so interesting to me because this isn’t new.
And if you come back to the book of Job, in Job 1:7, apparently there’s some sort of a staff meeting happening in heaven. I think it’s so interesting because this is sort of our introduction into how Satan introduces himself into the life of Job and basically wreaks havoc in his life. The Lord talking to his angels looks up and he sees Satan there like, I don’t know, eavesdropping. And God says … He asks him a rhetorical question. “Where have you come from?” As if the Lord of heaven’s armies doesn’t know the answer. “Where have you come from?” Listen to Satan’s response. Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth watching everything that’s going on.”
So here you have Peter talking about how important it is for you to be aware. You have an adversary who’s prowling around like a roaring lion. Then Satan himself back in the Old Testament, long before Peter spoke those words, Satan back in the Old Testament saying, “Listen, I’m out there patrolling the earth. I’m watching everything that’s going on.” So all these things that we think, “Oh, we don’t want to see the devil under every rock, and we don’t. But here you got Peter saying, “You’ve got an adversary. He’s active.” And you got Satan saying, “You’ve got an adversary. I’m actually patrolling the earth watching everything that’s going on.” Parents, we need to be aware.
When you see the fingerprints of Satan, it’s probably Satan. Be aware of what’s going on. We have an adversary. Now, does that mean that we should be afraid? No. The Bible says in Timothy, this is Paul to Timothy. “God didn’t give you a spirit of fear. Power, and love, and a sound mind, that is the Lord.” But because you know you have an adversary and because you know that his whole singular goal is to make sure that the souls of human beings are lost … There’s a war going on for the souls of human beings. How precious must the soul of a human being be, the eternal nature, the eternal part of human beings? We’re either going to go to heaven or we’re going to go to hell. That’s what the Bible teaches. And how precious those souls must be if both heaven and hell are warring over them.
And I don’t know about you, but when I realize, oh my goodness, I have an adversary, I know that he’s messing with my marriage. I know that he’s messing with my kids. I pray every day, “Lord, please be close to my children. Draw my children to yourself. Protect my children. Surround them especially when they get out of our home, Lord. Surround them by people who will bring them into better relationship with you as iron sharpens iron.”
The Bible also teaches that God knowing that we’re on a battlefield, the Bible says that God corrects us. And if God corrects us, we should be correcting our own children, right? Proverbs 3:11-12, “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline. And don’t be upset when He corrects you, for the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” That is God saying, “I am going to chasten you. I am going to correct you and make sure that your feet stay on the path of life.” And that’s what we want for our children because we understand we have an adversary and he’s playing for keeps. Satan himself has admitted “I’m out there. I’m coming for you. I’m coming for your kids.” And God saying, “I also see that you’re on a battlefield. And because of that, I am going to correct you. I’m going to discipline you. I’m going to open your eyes to things that you’re doing wrong.” And parents, you need to be doing that for and with your children.
It’s a loving correction. It’s a way for us to say, “Lord, we are going to follow you even when it causes us pain because the pain we know is going to help us make us more like you. It’s going to sanctify us.” This is really what Job was saying. If you guys ever read the book of Job, it’s kind of depressing. But what’s really depressing about it is that his friends who should have been his friends saw him suffering and immediately were like, “Well, you must be doing something wrong.” His friends never said, “Oh my goodness. We’re going to pray for you. This is a battle. We’re in a spiritual battle, and we’re going to pray for you. We can see that you are suffering so much.” No. Instead, they were like, “Dude, you better get it together. You’ve done something wrong. God’s mad at you.” Sometimes we are doing something wrong. But you guys, this life is hard. It just is.
And every single week, I log into Mailbox Monday, and I read your questions. And so much of the time, I hear this angst in a lot of you when you write your suffering and wrestling through these things. But you know what I’m also seeing? I’m seeing a desire to walk with the Lord. And the Bible says that God blesses that. He sees that you’re disciplining your children. He sees that you are trying to lean into His correction. Sometimes that correction we really want to be listening when it’s the Holy Spirit’s still small voice going, “Don’t go that way. My blessings are found inside my boundaries. Don’t go outside the boundary. You got an adversary outside the boundary. Stay inside the boundary,” and teaching your children to recognize the boundary and stay inside of it also. It’s so important, and it’s never been more important than it is right now.
All throughout the culture we are watching people walk away from their faith, right? We have seen the heartbreaking deconversion of Josh Harris and his wife. I guess his ex-wife now. And it’s rocked a lot of you. And I go back to—we have an adversary. He’s not messing around. We got to be listening. We got to be in the Word. We got to know the word. Because the enemy knows if we don’t know the word, we had got … our spiritualize our dull, and we can’t see what God wants us to see.
So several of the questions that I’ve gotten lately have really centered around the spiritual battle that we’re in. One of my listeners wrote this. She said, “Hi, Heidi. A friend I’ve had for a long time who is long distance, we just keep up with each other’s life through social media, started to post the last year about ‘finding herself’, recovering from ‘religious trauma’ and hashtagging all of her posts with #deconversion. She was always a Christian I looked to you as strong in her faith, and she seemed to be in the Word often. She would often talk about her faith and how God was working in her life and her husband’s and kids’ lives. And once she started backing away from that, posting more about ‘the universe’ and the law of attraction and just spiral down, now she’s into tarot card readings and rainbows for equal love. It makes me physically sick to watch and really, really sad for her and her whole family that all seem just to be following her lead. I’m not a very close friend. I don’t feel like I could change her mind, but I’ve had to hide all of her posts because I just can’t. But she’s on my mind a lot, and I pray for her often. I’m blown away and have never watched someone who seemed so strong in the faith completely fall away. And it makes me think about the parable of the sower. I’m a relatively new believer, five-year-old believer, and I can’t imagine tossing it all away and turning from my Creator. I don’t know what to ask, but do you have anything to help me understand this?”
So sweet friend, I’ve experienced this in my own family. And I can tell you from someone who’s experienced this up close and personal, really, nothing hurts more. We don’t know what to say and we don’t know what to do, but I just remember thinking when I first walked this really, really painful road nearly 20 years ago, just thinking, “I’m going to die from this.” The pain is so visceral, and we’re shocked, and we didn’t see it coming.
But I think a couple things that I want to just encourage you to do. For those of you who are listening to this and your friends are really close to you, don’t freak out. I think sometimes we freak out too much. If all the way through God’s Word, there’s stories of people who walk away from the Lord, and we love them through it and we pray for them through it. But can I just encourage you right now? Don’t let it drag you down to the point where you can’t see your way clear of it. I mean, this is kind of what happened to me for a while. I struggled with it so much it just … I was depressed over it. I cried all the time. I was trying to figure it out. I could not reason it away. And these are things that you can’t reason with. The #deconversion’s all over the place. Don’t even look it up. It’s super depressing.
But you gotta understand that when people do that, when they walk away from the Lord, what they’re doing is they’re really succumbing to the oldest lie in the book, right? Oftentimes, they’ll turn to other faiths, is what your friend is doing, tarot cards, right? Witchcraft. This is a whole other religion, but it’s still a religion. So listen to what happened in Genesis 3: Now, the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord had made. And he said to the woman, “Did God actually say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” And the woman said to the serpent, “Well, we can eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said you should not eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, nor should you it, less you die.” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be open and you’ll be like God knowing both good and evil.”
And this is what almost all of my friends who’ve walked away from the faith have claimed. They say, “I’m going to reject this system of belief in God,” but they don’t reject all belief. Instead, they take on their own belief and their own God. This is exactly what happened in the garden when Satan tempted Eve. And he appealed to her sense of pride, right? “Oh, you’ll be like God. People will actually think more highly of you because you’ll know things that you didn’t know before. You can get away from this sort of stuffy Christianity.” And you got to understand that when you turn away from God, the Bible says it’s sin. Romans 14:23 says, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
So we don’t want to sugarcoat somebody’s walking away from the Lord or romanticize it and talk about how people find themselves. This is a genuine battle, and it goes back to the adversary of your soul, Satan, who prowls around like a roaring lion whose … When he said, “I’m patrolling the earth. I’m looking for everything that’s happening,” what he’s saying is, “I’m looking for a weakness. I’m looking for pride. I’m looking for an opportunity to step in and yank the rug out from underneath that person’s faith. I’m just waiting for it. And I think sometimes we think that we’re the ones who are going to fix it. But as I so painfully learned, it doesn’t work that way.
In the story of the prodigal son, the father understood that whatever was going to change was going to come over his lost child, he realized he was not going to be responsible for it. We got to pray that the Lord in His mercy will bring that person back. We pray for them. We pray that God would break the power of sin in their lives. We pray that God will bring them to the end of their lives. We pray that God will bring them back home. Never stop praying. The Bible says pray without ceasing. Never stopped praying. Never stopped trusting. Never stopped showing kindness to somebody who’s lost. And you can show kindness to somebody without having them in your life all the time.
Sometimes when we’re right in the middle of this, it’s so easy for us to start. We start looking at people as if they’re the enemy. The Bible is so clear, especially particularly about the end times. We are in a moral crisis of exponential proportions in the culture right now. We’re in a culture that no longer believes that absolute truth exists. We think truth is a thing. But as believers, we know that truth is a person. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” I’m watching Christian start to say that the Bible is no longer inerrant. And they think that Satan is symbolism. And like former pastor Rob Bell says, “I don’t believe in hell anymore. I think it’s a symbol.” You guys, Satan’s real. He is not symbolic. Hell is a place, not an idea.
So we need to be grounded ourselves. So rather than spend a whole bunch of our time and our energy looking at people with the hashtag deconversion, and exvangelical, and all the other garbage we see out on the internet right now, can I just encourage you right now? Mind your own home. You stay in the Word. Don’t allow the enemy, the adversary who admitted way back in the book of Job, don’t let the adversary get a foothold in your life. He said, “I’m out patrolling the earth. I’m watching everything that’s going on.” He basically said, “I’m looking for a foothold.” He found it with Eve. Don’t let him find it with you.
The fact that so many young people are walking away from their faith should concern us. And it’s not enough to blame the culture and it’s not enough to blame secularization. The church has not declared. We live in a biblically illiterate generation, and so the church is partly to blame. We need to take a long, hard look at what we’re doing with our kids, a long, hard look at what we’re doing with our youth programs in the churches, a long, hard look at what we’re doing with our women’s ministries. That’s part of the reason why I started MomStrong International because I’m watching a generation in spiritual crisis. Spurgeon was way ahead of his time when he implored the church to start feeding the sheep rather than amusing the goats. And so often, that’s what we’re doing.
So can I just encourage you guys? Don’t just be a hearer of the word. Be a doer also. Study to show yourself an approved workman who does not need to be ashamed, who rightly divides the word of truth, and recognize that the spiritual battle that you are in is real. It is real. And God said, “I’m going to give you victory.” Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by him. And if we want to stay inside of His boundaries where His blessings exist, we need to know His way, and we need to know His word so that we can walk in His ways. And that’s the truth.
I know that there’s a blessing for you guys. God wants your marriages to thrive and your families to thrive. All of those things are true about God. So in God’s word, we read over, and over, and over that God has joy for us and life for us. Not just any old life, but abundant life. And in just a couple days, on Friday, my friends Matt and Lisa Jacobson are going to come on the show with me. They’d been writing books about how to affirm your husband and your wife and how to love them well. We’re going to be talking about that because it’s an uplifting reminder that when we walk in the way of the way maker, joy is the shore result. And even though the battle is real, the savior is real also, and we have reason to rejoice.
So we pray for those who walk away from the faith, and we ask the Lord to bring him back. But even more than that, can I just encourage you, mom and dad, focus on the children that God has given you and pray. Pray, pray like crazy for them that they will be drawn into right relationship with the Lord, they would stay on the way of the way maker, and there is a blessing in it.
Speaking of a blessing, I told you that Matt and Lisa Jacobson are coming on the show with me on Friday, and I’m really excited about that. I’m also really excited to be coming to Lakeland. I hope that as many of you as can come will come to Lakeland and hear my women’s conference. It’s Faith That Speaks. We are trusting God to fill that place up, and I know you guys are going to want to be a part of it. On the 13th and 14th of March, I’ll be in the other side of the country in Los Angeles doing the very same thing at Godspeak Calvary Chapel. We expect that event to sell out. So I just want to encourage you. This is a great time to invest in your relationship with the Lord. We’re going to be spending Friday night and Saturday doing a Q&A, spending worship, spending time in conversation, spending time in teaching, and we’re going to show you what it looks like to have a faith that speaks.
So I hope you guys will come on out so we can hug your neck and hear about what God’s doing in your life. And in the meantime, stay in God’s word. You can join us in study at momstronginternational.com and just see what God will do. There is power, men and women, in understanding and knowing God’s word and walking in a way that brings Him glory. All right? You guys can do this because the Lord of heaven’s armies is with you. Stay faithful, everybody, and I’ll see you back here on Friday.
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Heidi St. John
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11100 NE 34th Cir, Vancouver, WA 98682
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