“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11 (ESV)
Every day we are at war, whether we want to be or not…
In many areas we are fighting to stay alive; daily, striving to win mentally, physically and spiritually. In some form or fashion, we are longing for victory… But the fighting; all the battling, it never stops… Because the enemy will never stop.
My question to you is; when everything seems to be falling apart, when it seems like the world is against you and you’re all alone, when nothing is going the way you hoped it would and it seems like you just can’t get a break from it all, what do you do? Do you fold under pressure or do you take courage in the midst of it all and fight on, trusting in the Lord?
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 (ESV)
We have an enemy (Satan) out for our souls who will use any and everything as a weapon against us; trials, tribulations, family, friends; the list goes on. His goal is to blind us, break us down and keep us bound… He’s giving everything he has to deceive us and distract us; ultimately leading us astray. He’s setting traps; sending distractions and using temptations of many kinds to get us off course. He wants to get us off track so that we might lose sight of why we’ve been fighting our fight [or waging war] in the first place. And if/when he does that, he’ll have us right where he wants us. If he can dismantle us, he can destroy us.
So I ask you; are you still fighting or has the enemy slithered in and distracted you from what’s really going on around you? Why are you fighting or why were you fighting, to begin with? And if you say you’re still fighting, how are you fighting; in your own strength or in by the Spirit of God?
We can’t wage war in our own strength, against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12) and expect to win… We’d be a fool to try… This is spiritual warfare; the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).
If you are fighting carnally (not praying, not in the word, “doing what YOU believe is best for you”), then there’s no wonder why you’re losing.
Do you feel like you’re losing? If so, have you stopped to pay attention to how you are fighting this war? Are you relying on what YOU can do or the strength of God in you?
Scripture says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us (2 Corinthians 4:7). So, why do we insist on fighting in our own strength? Is God too weak to come through for us? Or is it the fear of God working too slow for us? Can we do what God can’t do for ourselves?
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:1-7, 12-15, 19-20 (ESV)
I’ve been guilty of fighting in my own strength when I feel like time is running out for me to do something that’s really needing to be done or when I really need God to show up and do something, but “He’s taking His sweet time”… Yeah, I’ve thought like that before. I’ve gotten anxious, overwhelmed and stressed out with the things that were going on around me and I took my eyes off of God and before I realized it, everything that was going on in my life, besides Him, consumed me… I found myself trying my hardest to figure everything out and make moves that I felt would be beneficial for me, whether God said to move or not… And sure enough, I found myself feeling lost; like I was fighting a losing battle… I was getting nowhere fast and only making things worse. I’ve learned that fighting in my own strength will make things pretty chaotic in the spirit real quick.
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” James 5:7-8, 10-11 (ESV)
One thing I’ve realized over the short eleven years of me being saved is that it’s when I’m not focused on what I’m going through, but remaining faithful to God through the war that’s going on in/around me that He’s fighting and handling everything; while I’m relaxing in Him, trusting in Him and keeping my face in the word, He’s at work… And usually, by the time I look up, everything is as it should be; worked together for my good (Romans 8:28).
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
I can’t say that I’ve gotten it all together, though… There have still been times when I’ve gotten anxious and felt pressured to do more than I was able to do; but, because I felt like I really didn’t have a choice, I tried to make those moves and do everything in my power to do what I felt like God was taking too long to do. But, that’s only one of the battles I fight every now and again… There are some that I fight daily… I win some, I lose some. The ones I win, it ain’t because of me… It’s because I took the time to give it all over to God and let Him have His way in the battlefield. That’s the only way to win.
“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 4:10-13 (ESV)
2 Timothy 4:10-13 really hits home when it comes to how we “war”…
We have to stay and fight… We have to strive to endure.
We can’t give in or give up every time something doesn’t go our way or doesn’t look good… If we do, we forfeit everything we ever started living this life to obtain in the first place, and that’s Christ (Philippians 3:8).
Don’t give up on God. He hasn’t given up on you and He’s more than able to see you through what the enemy is using to break you down.
And even when it’s hard, even when nobody is around and it’s just us dealing with everything alone; we have to find the willpower to do like David did and encourage ourselves in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6)… And honestly, that’s the only way we’re going to keep moving. We can have people in our circle, telling us we’re going to make it, everything’s going to be okay and so on, but if we, ourselves are not encouraged to believe it, we won’t fight. We’ll continue to sit and do nothing; be idle, in the midst of the warfare… and that’s how you lose; that’s how you die.
We were made for conquering (Romans 8:37), not to be defeated.
We were not made to be defeated, we were not made to be bound by death or anything else of that nature… Jesus conquered it all so that we could do the same. He’s already overcome the world and has given us the same power to do so.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
We were made to thrive and rise above all the obstacles and challenges that we may face in this life, through Christ who strengthens us! God gave us His word on that. He promised to never leave us, and that we could take courage in the fact that He’ll always be with us, wherever we go… Into the valleys, through the storms… In the warfare… He’s there in and through it all.
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:5-9 (ESV)
In closing, I’ll say this; if you’re going to fight this fight and live through it, you’re going to have to let go of everything you think your life is supposed to be, in the moment and take hold of the promises of God.
Joseph wouldn’t have ended up in the place that God had planned for him all along if he would’ve been thinking like, “I’m too good to be sold into slavery” or “I’m too good to be in a dungeon”.
Sure Joseph didn’t deserve what his brothers did to him, but thinking like a victim all the time, it gets us nowhere. You have to keep away from the victim mentality and know that despite all that goes wrong, it’s all going to be made right.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
Now, I don’t usually do this, because I don’t really know how to; but I want to try to give some steps that I believe will keep you in the fight. Or… Maybe not steps, but some suggestions.
1. Of course; stay in the word. It’s the sword and the lifeline. It will not kill you to open up the word and see/hear what God has to say about your situation. But, death is certain, if you don’t pick up your sword and use it.
2. Stay in God’s face, praying, even while things are ugly. Read some prayers from the book of Psalms if you need to, it may turn into you praying on your own. Paying in the hard times, not forsaking God/forgetting about Him, really makes the difference. Remaining faithful to Him, makes the difference, regardless of what’s going on. That’s when you have the opportunity to really see God work. In my own experiences, I’ve seen God do His best work in the dark. That’s when His light was the most visible.
3. Worship and praise God through it all. You are bound to find yourself feeling the joy of the Lord as you make time for Him to come in and dwell wherever you are. For me, praise and worship keeps me from having a hard heart while dealing with my afflictions and facing opposition.
4. If you have a passion for something that glorifies God, don’t stop pursuing that passion, because breakthrough does happen… Even if it’s “small”. You have to remember that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither is His ways like our ways… Fan the flames of the desires of God that burn in you, somehow, someway. If you lose your passion, you lose your will to fight.
5. Keep other soldiers in your circle who will keep o lifted up in prayer and hold you accountable. Don’t push everyone away. I know that’s tough not to do, for me, personally. So, at least have two or three other people you can really say you trust, to be there with you through it all. You’ll need someone to lean on and we were not made to fight this fight alone. We are a body.
And that’s my arsenal. I do my best fighting when I have those things going on consistently, through the good and the bad times. But sometimes, if I’m honest, I like to close myself off from the world and don’t want anyone to know what I’m going through or how I’m really feeling, but if I fight that and let people in, I do a whole lot better, because I can actually be helped. On top of that, God can move, because my heart is receptive and I’m open to what He wants to do in my life.
I actually feel like I could have elaborated on this subject a bit more, I feel like I still have a lot to say… But for the sake of length, I’ll probably just work on a Part 2. I just hope and pray this will encourage somebody today.
“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.
Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-18 (NLT)
Do everything you can to stay in the fight.