A few weeks ago I was complaining to my husband about some of my struggles. I was weary, discouraged, and I felt like a failure in so many ways. He asked if I wanted to know why I was having a tough time. Yes! Please tell me why I am struggling. (Wait - did he know this whole time and not tell me?) He matter-of-factly says, “You're under attack.”
I’m under attack??? What do you mean? It took a moment for what he said to register. That is how oblivious I was to the whole thing. The question that came to my mind was why would the enemy waste his energy on me when I do such a good job messing things up by myself? Shouldn’t he tell his minions, “Don’t worry about Candace; we can focus our attention on others who have their act together.”? It makes sense to me anyway...
Apparently, that isn’t the way it works, and our enemy will gladly add his weight to our struggles. Since I didn’t think I was worthy to be called out in battle, do you think I was in my combat garb? I was wearing the equivalent of spiritual pajamas. Great if you are going for that comfy look, but a terrible idea for the battlefield.
That day was a wake up call for me to stop lounging in my pjs. I’m a peace loving gal, but if the enemy (as our battle is not “against flesh and blood” - Eph. 6:12) is going to mess with me, I’m going to get proactive. Acknowledging the battle and dressing appropriately is a great place to start.
This became even more evident in a recent conversation with a friend. She was frustrated with thoughts that were going through her head. They were stealing her peace and joy and causing confusion and condemnation - all calling cards of the enemy. As we talked, we came across something interesting. God had been stirring her heart. She was experiencing discontentment in the best of ways, the kind that encourages us to delve into Jesus. He was calling her into more. More of Him. More of life. I asked - Did she have a dream for the future? I wasn’t expecting an answer in the affirmative and was admittedly a little shocked when she answered, “Yes.” She then described with some detail what she wanted to do.
The Holy Spirit had a hand in turning the light on for us that day. When that precious believer realized God was at work in her, that He had given her a dream, and that the enemy was trying to stop it before it began, a mighty warrior rose within her. She took her stand in Christ and is now taking the first step in God’s plan for her.
This would be a great time to talk about the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) and His sufficient provision, but we are going to go a different direction. I will mention one thing, though. If you study the armor of God you will find each piece is somehow connected to Jesus and what He did for us. So if you need a shortcut getting all that armor on in the morning - that shortcut is Jesus. Begin the day by inviting Him into every aspect of your day and what you are dealing with.
Time to wake-up. It’s daytime and work needs to be done. There is a battle, and you are involved whether you know it or not. You are enlisted even if you don’t believe you are worthy to be a soldier. There was a draft, and everyone’s number was drawn. (Yup, take the footie pjs off and put them away.)
Maybe you’re like me. Who am I to be enlisted and then called out into battle? I’m not a pastor, a missionary, or a well-known Christian leader. I’m a woman who lives in the middle of nowhere with more cats than FaceBook friends. So why would I have a target on my back? Why would you?
Glad you asked. First, Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in the image of God. There is something about us that reminds our enemy of God when he looks at us. All people are created in God’s image, even those who haven’t surrendered their lives to Christ yet. Our enemy is out to destroy that image.
Secondly, God loves us (John 3:16). That’s worth repeating. GOD LOVES US. All the more reason for the enemy to dislike us. If he can hurt us, he can hurt God’s family, His treasured possession.
Thirdly, we are created to be vessels. We are all empty containers, walking around, looking to be filled. The last thing the enemy wants us to be filled with is God. If you have invited the Lord in, you are a container of His Presence. EVERYWHERE you set foot, He has access: You bring Him with you into every conversation, every encounter, every simple hug. Our enemy definitely doesn’t want us to know who we are carrying around. Do you REALIZE who you are carrying around?!!
It’s not WHO we are, but WHOSE we are. It’s not what we’ve done, but what Jesus did that gives us value. You’ve probably heard: something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it - Jesus paid for us with His life. God has placed that unwavering value on us. We are loved by the Creator, stamped with His image, and vessels of His all powerful Presence. These are a few of the reasons why we are targeted by the enemy.
Side note: Speaking of carrying God’s Presence - shouldn’t we occasionally get excited when we have the opportunity to be around others? The Lord is there among us. Aren’t you curious how He will show Himself? Try this - the next time you will be around people, take a moment by yourself and acknowledge His Presence. Ask Him to open your eyes and give you a willing heart. Then obey.
Our enemy often has a better understanding of who we are than we do. He doesn’t want us to figure it out or remember we are in a battle against him and against darkness, fear, hatred, etc... He’s hoping that we will get lulled into a stupor, like I was, lounging in our slippers and being oblivious to his intent. He’d love to catch us sleeping, but if he can’t, he will try to wear us down until we want to give up.
Some of you have been battling so long, and you are weary, wanting to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. May God strengthen you right now, even as you read this. Don’t give up, Friend.
The One whose presence we hold is greater than the one we battle. Jesus not only gave us the armor for this battle, but He’s established the victory we fight from. We forget how powerful it is to have Jesus with us and what a threat He is to our enemy. Be encouraged - because of what Jesus accomplished and God’s Presence with us, we can stand against the attacks of the enemy.
Mighty Warrior (Yes, you.),
Wake up. Arm yourself with Christ for the battle is at hand. The victory is already determined, and it belongs to our Commander and King, Jesus. May you be strengthened by our Lord when the battle is fierce and it runs long. May He open our eyes to His Presence and the ones that stand next to us. You are not alone in this fight.
Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV
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.
Adjusting my armor,
P.S. A few things you can do if you find yourself in a battle:
Ask a friend to pray with you.
Find Scripture dealing with the area you are struggling in. Say it outloud. Pray it. Meditate on it.
Honestly, I don’t like to give our enemy too much of my time or attention. I feel our time is best served focusing on God, but I felt this needed to be addressed.