The Battleground

It seeps in when we least expect it.

It may come from places that surprise us.

It surprises, astounds, overwhelms, shocks, side swipes, and generally at times knocks us off our feet.

It is the attack.  The devil is good at it.  He’s cunning and sly and crafty and downright nasty.  But why should I be surprised?  He is the enemy of God and since I belong to God, he’s going to do everything he can to keep me off balance, out of whack, distracted, and throw life out of focus if possible.

Spiritual attack is nothing to be mocked or laughed at.  It is serious business to the enemy of my soul.  That’s why God reminds me in I John 4:4 “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.”  He reminds me in Ephesians 6:12 that I don’t wrestle against an enemy that is flesh and blood “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  He goes on to tell me to put on the full armor of God in order to battle.  One of the ways I need to do that is to remember that the battle does not belong to me but rather to God (I Samuel 17:47, II Chronicles 20:15).  But I also need to remember that God gives all that I need to stand.  In II Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish (which means to detonate, blow up or explode) arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

The thing is, we forget.  We forget we’re not in it alone.  We forget that God is the One who called us to do what He gave us to do.  We forget that God is the One who said He’s already planned what He has for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).  We forget that when things come at us and pull us down, we need to recognize those things for what they are and take them to God and let Him do battle for us.

This week I got overwhelmed by a task that I KNOW God gave me to do…which means He’s given me the ability to do it.  But, I began to let thoughts of insignificance and “smallness” take place in my mind.  Actually, I began to compare myself to others around me who are more established in this area and have been doing this ministry a long time.  Those thoughts began to seep into my heart and I began the downward spiral of wanting to quit. 

And then, God…

spoke deeply into my heart reminding me that it’s not about how I see myself but about how He sees me…and He sees me as capable and complete. 

assured me once again of His call on my life and His direction.

reminded me that it’s about confidence in Him, period.

Spiritual battles are difficult but nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).  And so, I stand complete, capable, and confident in Him.  I stand strong in His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10) and give the battle back to Him.  Oh that I may hold tightly to these truths and live in the victory of them.

“Dear Father God, Thank-You for Your patience as I learn to walk in Your Kingdom power and in Your confidence and strength.  Help me be always alert, always ready, always seeking You and Your way for me.”

Bully vs. Brother

When I was young…like single digit young and into early double digit young…I thought I was pretty tough.  I thought I had to be.  I had been bullied and  I had “rescued” younger kids from bullies who then turned their attention on me.  So, I felt that if I put on a tough front I had a better chance of survival…or at least, I thought so.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had 3 older brothers and  most people with whom I went to school knew that fact and when you messed with one you could possibly face all.

In jr. high many of us stayed at school for lunch during the winter so we didn’t freezee on our way home and back (I lived in Alberta, Canada where the word “winter” had a totally different meaning than where I live now…California).  Our school didn’t have a lunch room so the students would eat in a classroom which was never supervised by a teacher (it was before the law that said children always needed supervision go figure!).

The room where I was eating lunch had two doors on opposite walls.  A bully had come in one door and had decided that I would be the target for the day.  He started the taunting as soon as he came in the room and with every comment he would come a bit closer to me.  There were other students in the class but we were all in 7th grade and he was 9th so no one else was going to try to take him on.  And so he taunted…

I was trying to remain calm and “tough” and slowly move backwards towards the opposite door and I was talking “tough”…like “well, you don’t scare me”  (of COURSE he did), and “you can’t hurt me” (well of COURSE he could).  Suddenly, I noticed that his demeanor had changed, his stance had changed, his talk had changed everything had changed.  I was thinking to myself “wow…I’m tougher than I think I am”.

What I didn’t know was that one of  my older brothers had come in the door behind me and was looking the bully square in the eye from across the room.  Though I was quite proud of myself my confidence was quite displaced.  Suddenly aware of another presence behind me, I turned and saw him and I sheepishly went and stood behind him.  Though I was embarrassed that I had misjudged the situation, I was quite relieved because I knew that I no longer had to bluff.  My big brother was there and he would take care of things however deemed necessary.  Just his presence was enough to make the threat diminish.

This is what my Spiritual life is like.  The devil attacks and taunts and tempts and throws threats and as long as I try to bluff my way through, he’s just going to keep coming.  But, when I stand behind my big Brother, the Victor, Jesus Christ the One who stands for me, by me, in front of me, behind me, above me, there is nothing to fear.  He is the power that causes the devil to back down.  He is the One who has already brought the victory, I simply need to stand behind Him and He will diminish the threat.  Romans 8:38-39 says that through Christ nothing can separate us from God’s love….NOTHING.  Earlier in the chapter it says that we are more than conquerors “through” Christ.  Throughout the New Testament we are told that through Christ or in Christ or because of Christ we have so many promises and victories available to us that the enemy has no chance.  Christ already paid for the victory through His own blood.

No matter what comes at me today, attitudes, temptations, sorrow, weakness, trials, troubles, confusions, pain, overwhelming happenings, no matter…as I stand behind and in Christ the victory is mine and His strength is mine because of Him.  Thank God I do not have to bluff and I do not have to face the enemy alone.

So, today Lord, when the enemy attacks, when life gets hard, remind me to stand in and behind You.  Thank You for loving me.  Thank You for being my One and only.  Thank You for being the one to whom I can run.  Thank You for being my big Brother.