What are my “heart enemies”?
“Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their
work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their aims.” Ezra 4:4, 5
Here we see listed two enemies of the heart, discouragement and fear; these come at the people of God
to keep them from their work. Do we see these as enemies to the work of God in our lives? Do we
recognize these as tools in the hands of the Enemy to keep us from accomplishing what God would do
Do we understand and take note of what it is that causes our hearts to start to respond in these manners?
Is it someone’s words that send us in this tailspin? Is it circumstances? Is it relational conflict? Is it the
rebellion of a child? Could it be the negative influence of peer pressure?
So often, life happens at such a rapid pace that we don’t even notice what is going on inside of us.
Do we understand and make corrections when we begin to notice trigger reactions rather than wise
responses happening in our lives? Do we notice the indicators of fear? Do we understand the evidence
of discouragement as it manifests within us? Does our focus change inward? Do we stop in our tracks
rather than complete the task God has assigned us? Or do we continue in faith in the midst of the attack?
What is it that causes some to continue to build in the midst of discouragement? What about in an
environment of fear?
A vision that gives hope in the midst of crazy circumstances and malicious words is one key that enables
us to build despite the enemies at bay-both internal and external enemies. In Ezra, the people were called
to rebuild what had been destroyed, the Lord’s temple. The enemies of Judah didn’t want them to rebuild
because that would give evidence that they were again gaining strength.
God calls us today to build our lives as we respond to His love and walk in obedience; to build our homes
through sacrificial love; to build community through sharing our resources; and to build His church
through using the gifts He’s given us. Let’s take a moment today to stop and ask God to cause us to see
our hearts through His eyes and to make any corrections needed. Let’s choose to let Hope anchor our
souls. And by His grace, may it be said of us today that though our Enemy TRIED to discourage and
frighten us (see the verse above), we continued responding to God’s great love and grace over our lives!
And we continued to BUILD and we walked by FAITH!! Fear and Discouragement had no grip over our
Shanda Harris is a lover of Jesus, dedicated wife, mother of 6 and the Women's Pastor at Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.