Hard, Hardest, Easier
When you play a sport or any kind of game, if you’re the competitive type, you are watching like a hawk in the first minutes of the game to assess the strengths of the opposition and look for any weakness. And when you find the weakness, what do you do? You exploit it, of course!
I believe this is what Satan does. If he can’t read our minds, he has to work to find our weaknesses. He will try anything to locate the soft spot, so he will present every temptation to us at one time or another.
I think if he sees no reaction or lapse into sin from us, he’s not likely to use that temptation on us again, or not for a while anyway. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
But if we succumb, do you think he’s going to use that one again? Of course. I think you can lessen the temptation by resisting the temptation.
But if he HAS found a weak spot, I think there’s a pattern that’s pretty predictable. If you become enslaved to some sin, or just get stuck in a habit or pattern, Satan has set up a stronghold. A stronghold is hard to break down. But it can be done with God. However, you need to be aware of this pattern, or you may get discouraged and give up too soon. Beth Moore remarks that after she wrote Breaking Free, she got so many letters over the years from readers telling her about this phenomenon that now she includes it in the curriculum so readers will expect it. Here’s what happens.
There may be a little initial euphoria or feeling of victory briefly, but then it gets hard and then it gets HARDEST and then it gets easier and then there’s victory. The pattern is that when you try to stop a habit or overcome a sin or make a significant change, Satan attacks HARD to stop you. It will get harder than it was before you even tried to stop, BUT then it gets easier. Notice it’s not hard, harder, hardest. It’s hard, hardest, easier. Don’t give up on the hardest. It’s not going to stay hardest. It’s temporary and it’s going to get easier.
This is a proven pattern because she heard it from hundreds of readers making these changes. You may have to recruit people to help you through the hardest stage, but just keep reminding yourself that it’s temporary. Victory is coming.