There has been a war against us since before we were even born. Did you know that? Most of the time I forget about it. Life may not be perfect, but it’s good, so I forget. But when the enemy comes, he comes and doesn’t hold back.
Several times throughout my life I feel like I’ve looked Satan himself straight in the eye. Have you ever felt like you’re dealing directly with him? What do you do?
I hope you’re not, but if you are anything like me when it comes to this, you do everything wrong but with good intention because I fight. I fight loudly; I lose horribly; and I hurt deeply. It’s a vicious cycle I can’t seem to learn from.
Does this mean we can never win against the enemy’s attacks? I mean, why would God ever allow his children to be so viciously attacked if it’s inevitable that we are going to lose?
Although I’ve grown by leaps and bounds in this area, there are still moments where I fall back into this mindset that I have to fight so hard. It wasn’t until tonight that I realized I still fight the wrong way sometimes during these moments.
I’m fighting with my words, my heart, and my emotions.
Let me try that again. I’m fighting with MY words, MY heart, and MY emotions.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The war was waged a long time ago. The battle has already been won, and God comes out the successor. It’s easy, really. We can’t fight this fight on our own. We have to release it all to him and fight with his rules.
The Rules of the Fight
First thing’s first. You need to understand the war isn’t between you and your colleague, rival at school, spouse, child, parent, sibling, or ex. Ephesians 6:12 says “our struggle is not against 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.”
Our fight is against the enemy, and when you feel like you’re looking him dead on, you know you’re in the middle of a big one, and you must be on the brink of a major spiritual breakthrough.
Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to put on the full armor, and it goes on to specify what that means. If you haven’t read what all is included in the armor necessary to fight this fight, I urge you to stop right now and devour those verses. They are crucial.
Tonight, I almost feel verses 19-20 jumped off of the page for me. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
I have tried fighting on my own many times where I retreated into darkness and away from my purpose. For instance, when I was going through a difficult divorce, I completely pushed everyone away and stopped going to church altogether. That may not sound like much, but not going to church also meant not leading in the areas of ministry where I had been so heavily involved. Don’t you know that’s exactly the purpose of this war? It’s to stop us from living out our purpose.
Just today I was faced with something incredibly difficult. I got angry. I said some things to someone I shouldn’t have, and to be completely transparent, I’m not yet at a place I have complete remorse for it. It is starting to set in, but I have not found myself to fully regret the wrong words I said. I started praying soon after, but my prayer was more of a toddler-style temper tantrum of asking God why things like this keep happening.
I’m human. Flesh wins sometimes. God gives us grace during these moments, and I’m so thankful he does.
During that prayer I started questioning everything I’m doing thinking maybe I shouldn’t help in this area at church because of where my emotions just took me, and maybe I shouldn’t be helping in this other area because I am currently dealing with the exact same thing those I’m supposed to be helping are dealing with, and I have no place helping them. So you can see the trail my thoughts were taking me to.
After my spiritual temper tantrum, God reminded me of the scripture I noted at the beginning, John 16:33. The phrase that stood out to me wasn’t that he has overcome the world. The phrase I kept hearing over and over in my head was take heart!
What does this phrase mean, take heart?
- NKJV, ASV, “be of good cheer”
- NASB, “take courage”
- AMP “be courageous, be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy”
In the midst of your emotions, your anger, your frustration . . . your fight . . . you just need to take heart. You need to be filled with joy and be confident in knowing that although the world is going to come at you, God has already overcome the world.
It was after realizing this that I really looked closely at those verses in Ephesians 6. After being told to clothe ourselves in the full armor of God, it says to pray that words may be given to us to fearlessly declare the Gospel of Christ.
The fight isn’t against people.
The fight isn’t what it appears to be on the surface.
The fight is intended to take our joy, our confidence, our courage, our peace . . . our heart . . . so that we stop speaking the Gospel of Christ to others.
When you’re in the midst of this fight . . . TAKE HEART! Instead of retreating away from your purpose, keep pressing in knowing God has already won the fight.