I sit here, tears streaming down my face at the magnitude of what is going on in our lives. We are at war folks. Spiritual warfare is rearing it's head in our lives and it is more obvious than ever.
Many of you have messaged me recently offering encouragement and advice and I can't tell you how I covet your prayers and kind words. Many of you have expressed concern that all of the obstacles we have been battling have been God's way of telling us to stop. Here is the thing. I am certain that that is not true. I have spent this week committed to resting and remaining quiet before the Lord and hearing what He has to say. I have cried a river of tears and pounded my pillow with my fist more times than I can count, just trying to understand just what He is asking of us.
I can say that I feel like I have more clarity than I have had in quite sometime. I have had several of you message with words of encouragement because you too have fought a similar war. I have been reminded that while yes, sometimes our roadblocks are God saying, STOP! It is also true that sometimes Satan is fighting harder than ever to get us to give in and give up. I know that talk of Satan in our culture is often taboo and makes people uncomfortable and there is a reason for that. Satan is real and he is on the prowl trying to foil any plans to carry out the will of the Lord. God said “put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the devil.” He wasn't kidding. He knew what we would come up against and this is what it takes for us to be victorious. This battle is not ours. It is God's. He will win.
If I am being honest, at the beginning of this week I was ready to give up and give in. I was tired of fighting and just had nothing left, but as I have sought refuge in His mighty arms I have found the will to fight again. And fight we will. Everything has been seeming impossible and insurmountable this week. Satan is at work instilling fear and doubt. He has put up a roadblock and whispered in our ear that we are unfit, unworthy, and ill equipped. He has dug into our lives and found the deepest hurts and fears and pulled them to the surface causing us to doubt. My heart has been sick and my spirit tired.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” Romans 8:1-2
We have sought council of some wise and Godly friends and they have reminded us that this IS in fact a war. The truth is that we have been extended grace that none of us deserve, we all fail, we all have shortcomings and sin, and we have all been made white as snow again. We may come from a broken past and have made mistakes, but that does NOT define who we are or what our future will be. Because of Christ's love for us we are free. Free from the bondage of sin and Satan will try to chain us down again and again and tell us lies, but the God we serve is so much bigger and He whispers the truth, that we are loved, we are free and our identity lies in Him. He loves us in spite of who we are not because of it. He has taken the shackles from our hands and though other men may try to pull us down and re-shackle us, He is bigger. There is NO condemnation. We are free to live Godly lives despite the fact that we all struggle with sin.
12 For 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. Ephesians 6:12
Our spiritual battles are of will and of mind. We are not to go into battle without putting on the FULL armor of God. Paul tells us in Ephesians about each of the pieces of His armor that we are to put on BEFORE heading into battle, we are not to go in unequipped. The only way to combat the lies Satan sneaks in is to fill that mind with God's word, this is our sword. I needed this week to immerse myself in His word and fill my weary soul with His goodness and promise. I have been so thirsty for His truth and there is nothing like the quench that it provides. We HAVE been fighting unequipped and I believe God is right now calling us to take time to equip ourselves for this fight.
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14)
His TRUTH is our belt and body armor. God is incapable of lying so we can stand firm on his promises because he WILL make good on them. We can rest assured that if He promises it, it will be. The lies we are hearing are not from God. He has blessed us with his perfect truth to help us stand our ground and not be moved.
“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared” (Ephesians 6:15).
God intends for those shoes to MOVE we are to move forward in offense and not just sit back and fight defense. We need to be at peace with God and his call for us, trusting that He has GREAT plans for us and that if we are in His will we need not worry. We must have peace to battle in spiritual warfare. That peace comes from the Good News that Jesus died for us and that we are FREE.
“In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil” (Ephesians 6:16).
We can't head into battle without our shield. We are told here that our shield is our faith. Paul is telling us here to stay alert. Jesus won the battle by what he did on the cross, but Satan is not going to lie down and take it quietly. He is going to do everything he can in opposition. He won't win, but he wants to take down as many people as possible. The devil is angry and he is out to use whatever he can to make us stumble. He uses, fear, anxiety, lust, idolatry, doubt and the list could go on forever. The thing is that we need to stand firm in our faith, knowing that God is who He says He is. He keeps His promises and has great plans for our good.
“Put on salvation as your helmet” Ephesians 6:17
Spiritual warfare takes place in the mind so it only makes sense that Paul warns us to put on a helmet. The helmet of salvation. We are to fix our minds on what Jesus has done for us and the truth in the fact that we are made clean and righteous because of what he has done.“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7)
We have to know without a doubt that God has our best interest at heart. We have to know that despite whatever we endure, he will never tempt us beyond what we can endure and he has a great plan for us. During spiritual battle the devil loves to tell us that we are not worthy, not children of God, not forgiven of all of our sins, not deeply loved by God, not called to do great things and live out the Gospel and that is what has been happening with us.
Paul also reminds us in Ephesians that when we are at ware we MUST remember to pray. “And pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18). We are to pray in all things, because it is true that whatever we do WITH God's blessing will succeed. If we feel called to something we must remain in prayer to remain in His will.
I never expected this journey to be one of the biggest fights of our lives, but it is proving to be just that. We are preparing ourselves. We are putting on each and every piece of that armor and praying through each of our days knowing that where He leads us He will help us to succeed. We will press on knowing that he calls us to love others and care for orphans, widows and those in need. We will continue to try to live the Gospel as well as we can. We will fight with everything that we have for those who cannot fight for themselves, because this, in no uncertain terms, is what God IS calling us to do. There are hurting kids out there who need a safe place to be for a time and we long to provide that. We covet your prayers as we continue to seek His will for us and move when He says move.