But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you–even I, Paul, time and again–but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 NKJV
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Before I knew the Lord, absence only caused me further pain, and my thoughts turned to bitterness and resentment. I’ve found this saying to be true only when my heart is right with God. When our priority is on God, the attitudes of the heart become pure and your heart can grow fond when missing someone. There are many reasons why we become separated from others. We get busy and don’t make time for connecting with our friends. We work a lot of extra hours trying to make more money to pay those bills and buy luxuries of this life. Maybe we start to dislike hanging around anyone who doesn’t think like we do. The list could go on for miles.
Just like the many reasons we let relationships with people falter, we do the same thing with God. Maybe we get so busy in our ministry that we stop having those quiet times with the Lord. Maybe we start thinking we can handle the little things in life, so we stop bringing those requests to the Lord in prayer. We loose our thankfulness, stop recognizing all He’s done for us and become complacent.
There is another reason that many people fail to realize is working against them. Satan. Paul mentions in today’s verse that Satan hindered him. This is a very good reminder we have an enemy that wants us to fail. The Bible says Satan prowls around looking for someone to devour.First Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” It also says he is a liar and the father of lies, when he lies he speaks from his own resources (John 8:44 NKJV). Satan’s primary purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy the things of God ( John 10:10 NKJV ).
Satan is just as real as God. But don’t be deceived into thinking he has as much power as God, because he doesn’t. Satan is a created being, just like we are. No created thing can ever have more power than the Creator.
If you find yourself being plagued by unruly, evil thoughts, memories of past sins, doubts, fears, anxiety, or worry, bring it all to the Lord in prayer and don’t forget to pray “by the power and authority of Jesus Christ, get behind me Satan.” As James 4:7 NKJV says “submit to the Lord, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” I can assure you from my own personal experience, when you stand firm on the Word of God, doing what it says, Satan will flee from you.
Don’t believe me? Read how Jesus handled Satan’s temptations for yourself in Luke 4 NKJV. Satan uses the same temptations over and over. He has no new tricks. We can defeat him just like Jesus did by using the Bible, God’s Words.
Father that you for not leaving us without protection in this evil world. Thank you for your powerful word and your Holy Spirit to wield it correctly. Thank you for your armor of protection, the sturdy belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the preparation of the gospel for our shoes, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith which extinguishes the firey arrows aimed as us, and the mighty sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Thank you Jesus for being our righteousness. In Your name we pray. Amen.