“When you feel the battle of an internal tug-of-war, rejoice! If the Holy Spirit wasn’t at work in you and around you, you’d have no such conflict. You’d just . . . keep your own plans and go about your day. . . . The Holy Spirit will always advocate for you to practice the Word of God straight through resistance. He will help you in the struggle. Expect it!”- Alli Patterson
Jesus answered [the Samaritan woman], “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?”- John 4: 10-11 (NIV)
Recently my wife and I thinned out our bookshelves and took our discards to Half Price Books. While waiting for their quote, we walked around the store. As we approached the game section, my eyes locked on an item out of reach on the top shelf. Foto-electric Football by Cadaco Games!
The 1960s edition, part of my Cadaco game collection, featured 12 offensive and 6 defensive play cards (see-through overlays). After the player on offense placed a passing or running play card on the box-type playing field, the player on defense put a card on top. With the cards in position, one player slowly pulled out the laminated cardboard cover that shielded the light bulb. That revealed the result of the play.
Finally, a spinner determined the outcome of kicks, returns, field goals and PATs, fumbles, blocked kicks, interception returns, and penalties.
In foto-electric football, as in life, resistance provides challenge and opportunity. Writing in How to Stay Standing (2023), Alli Patterson stresses that when we put the words of God into practice, expect resistance. And many times, it wells up from inside of us. Our powerful, well-practiced methods of resistance often convince us that the words of God we hear or read aren’t really meant for us to obey right now. In real life.
Above all, Alli cautions, doubt serves as a significant tactic to stop you in your tracks. So, expect that whisper from Satan. Because when you believe you misheard or misunderstood the words of God, you give yourself permission to do something else. Thus, when you lean on your own understanding, you crack open the door to use your own judgment.
Thankfully, Alli encourages, in those moments you hear more than just the voice of resistance. For the Holy Spirit is present to take your well-developed tendency to go your own way and, if necessary, stoke that internal tug-of-war. The Holy Spirit wants to see the Word of God come to life in you!
Therefore, rejoice when you feel the battle of your internal tug-of-war. Even the simplest moments of obedience to God’s Word draw generous encouragement and approval from Jesus. He exalts over any act, any move, any step in the right direction. Jesus exhorts you to keep coming His way. Because you’ve got this.
In conclusion, when you put the words of God into practice, you learn to see opposition as a way to build obedience and trust in God. Also, you find His words good and true. And hands-on practice brings untold joy, as Alli exhorts:
“Sometimes a day comes along when a word is spoken just to you in that one tiny little moment. The Word invites you into something set up for your unique circumstances. These moments are so sweet. I want you to be aware of the resistance that’s coming for you so that you don’t miss the reward.”