Recently, I shared my heart with a small group of trusted friends. I told them how I felt discouraged in several different areas of my life, and was in a slump I couldn’t seem to shake. My family life, writing, and friendships were all under attack, and I needed affirmation that I wasn’t alone. Each of these women understood, and committed to praying for me. None of them shamed me, but bolstered me up with words of encouragement.
Have you ever been there? One day your family and relationships thrive and everything is going well, and the next day you wonder what hit you. Nothing you hold sacred is off limits, and you can’t shake the anxious feeling that you need to cling to those cherished things for dear life. But you know you can’t, and this knowledge makes you lose your bearings.
When we encounter these subtle attacks of the enemy, our natural reactions are to either try to control the uncontrollable or to retreat.
To lay low and protect ourselves. But the longer I walk this spiritual road with Jesus, the more I learn that we need to do the exact opposite. We need to put our fighting gloves on. We need to let the enemy know we’re not afraid of him or his army, and we have the tools to send him running.
However, the tools we use don’t require physical strength or prowess. They simply require a humble and willing heart. They require us to get on our knees and come to the One who knows our situation and our future. This is where we find our victory.
Be Proactive in Your Spiritual Walk
Jesus wants us to be an active participant in our spiritual healing. In nearly every miracle story in the Bible, we see people moving toward Jesus or bringing someone to him. Their movement toward him is an active step of faith. One exception is where Jesus heals the blind man at the Pool of Bethesda, and even here we see Jesus ask the man a telling question:
“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’” John 5:6 NIV
At this point, the man makes excuses about why he can’t get to the healing water. Others go ahead of him before he can get to it. He isn’t physically able. But he never answers Jesus’ question, which is a simple yes or no.
Instead of asking the same question again, Jesus gives the man a task: take up your mat and walk.
Even though act of carrying your mat is forbidden on the Sabbath, Jesus wants this man to do the possible so that he can do the impossible. Our lives follow the same pattern. We take a step in the realm of the natural so that God can do what only he can. We make a choice to armor ourselves against the enemy’s attacks, so we are ready when they come.
What does our armor consist of? The Word of God, worship and prayer. We make the decision to keep our minds focused on the truths of God. We combat the lies of the one who wants to distract us, thwart our purpose on earth, and discourage us. And your know that? God did not leave us to fight alone. We have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who counsels us and encourages us during our time of need.
But our decision to submit to God’s truth isn’t one that can be made once in a lifetime, once a month, or only during the times we face adversity. When we get up each morning, we must commit to taking every thought captive and submitting it to God. If we’re walking through a particularly heavy season, it may be a moment by moment process, but it’s always worth it. Let’s make the choice that leads to life. Let’s claim the truth that God is for us, and walk like we believe it.
Know Your Enemy’s Limitations
Sometimes, we give the enemy too much power. We give in to a temptation and are quick to declare, “The devil made me do it!” Or we name him as the cause of all of life’s problems. While the enemy and his army do have power here on earth, it is limited. He is not omniscient or omnipresent. He can’t read our minds, but is an observer of actions over time. And our actions often speak for themselves.
To defeat the enemy’s schemes, we need to remember one key truth: The One who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) He won’t allow us to walk through waters without equipping us for the conditions. Nothing we face in our daily lives escapes his notice. When we fear the devil, we expend energy in a war Jesus already won. Let’s not allow him to claim territory that was bought by the blood of our Redeemer. Raise your victory flag, even if it feels like you’re still in the thick of an attack. By resisting your enemy’s advance, you will send a clear message, and he will flee.
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:4 NIV
Know You Are Not Alone
Our enemy wants to keep us in isolation. And for the past year, most of us have been more isolated than normal. This is where the enemy’s tactics thrive, because we were created for community. God himself is a triune being- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He made us because he wanted to live in relationship with us, and in the same way, he wants us to live in thriving relationships with other believers.
When I shared my heart with other sisters in Christ that day, they reinforced one of the most comforting truths: They told me I wasn’t alone. They told me they understood what I was going through, and gave me hope to know I would get through that difficult season.
If you feel like you are fighting a battle alone right now, tell someone you trust and allow that person to pray for you. When we share our burdens with others, we allow God’s light to shine in those dark places threatening to consume our thoughts. We see his presence in the encouragement and comfort of others, and are given endurance for the road ahead.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV
A Prayer to Thwart the Subtle Attacks of the Enemy
Father, I come to you today because I know I need your help. Since the Garden, we’ve been fighting against the lies and tactics of the enemy, and he still uses the same schemes to thwart your plans and purposes today. Open my eyes to see what’s true and what isn’t. Plant my feet firmly in the fertile ground you already claimed with the blood of your Son, Jesus, and empower me with your Spirit who leads me in victory.
When I feel weak and weary, help me to remember I do not walk alone. May I not be too prideful or afraid to ask for the help of my sisters and brothers when I need it. May their prayers and encouragement become the hands that help carry me through the darkness, and help me to see when the way is uncertain.
Help me to be a proactive participant in my own spiritual healing, and to not allow the enemy to steal the fullness of life you paid for me to walk in. I declare today that I am a Child of the Most High God, and I am not afraid of any arrows the devil may try to hurl my way. The One who is in me is greater than anything I face today, tomorrow, or in the days to come. He is my Banner, my Advocate, my Strong Tower, and I will declare his praises until the day Jesus returns.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you need to shift your focus from a struggle or worry and see what God is already doing in your life, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. I talk more about the ways a simple shift can change everything. Many people have sent me messages saying it is a timely book for this season. This encourages my heart so much. I pray that God continues to use it to touch lives.
Here’s what one reader said:
“This is an amazing book. There are so many things published that claim to give you the tools or the recipe to connect with God, or to enrich your faith life- I’ve read many of them! Shift really does, in my opinion, offer something real and concrete. Real life stories couples with ideas that are useful and attainable in our attempt to see the presence of God. I will be buying a hard copy copy of this because I need to attack it with my highlighter!” -Eva
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.