Happy 1st Monday of January!
Maybe because we are still studying Ephesians 6, and spiritual warfare is on my mind, but it seems like every time I turn around, I see another example. The following article was shared with me this past week and it really struck a chord.
This is war.
It may be 2 am terrors, or it may be something much more subtle. I know, I know, I have talked about this a lot lately. But It.Is.Urgent.
Is it just me? When you find yourself battling a health issue, an emotional issue, OR a spiritual issue, do you feel the enemy prowling closer and closer, just looking for the smallest crack in your armor? Be diligent! Check your armor every day, every hour, every minute, if needed. Do not give him a toe hold anywhere!
I was loaned a book this past week, Gods at War, Defeating the idols that battle for your heart, by Kyle Idleman. My first thought when I started reading was, this really isn’t going to apply to me. Really? After getting through the introduction for the book, the serious stuff begins. What Gods?? Well, how about: the god of food, the god of sex, the god of entertainment, the god of success, the god of money, the god of achievement, the god of romance, the god of family, the god of me?
None of these things are a bad thing in the proper context. They are all great things and gifts of the one true God. BUT – have they become idols? Do you eat to live or live to eat? This is a daily battle for me. The internet is an amazing thing, and very useful. BUT – has it become the highlight of your life? This may include the worst, like pornography, or something as innocent as Facebook. We all like success, money, romance; we love our families and sometimes become a little obsessed with the “me” factor. But stop and think. Have they become idols? Do they carry more time and weight than God? The spiritual battle continues.
We have a gracious and loving God. His grace and mercy amaze me. But our God is a jealous God. He doesn’t want us to put other gods before Him. Has this become a thing for us? I want to say no. But sometimes I spend time on Facebook that I should be spending studying His Word. The god of food? Never ending battle.
Maybe it’s time to step back and reassess where our focus and our time is spent. Lord, help me focus on YOU.
Psalm 31:14-15 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
In His light,
Never Bring a Horse to a Tank Fight
There is something about 2 am. I don’t think the devil takes much time off in the day but I know for sure he pulls double shifts at night. I can’t go back far enough to recall a day where I didn’t struggle with the terror by night that causes my stomach to flutter, my skin to glisten with sweat as I think about all the different ways I could die at my own hands. I lurch from my sleep with a sickening quickness like an unbuckled test dummy in a simulated collision. My mind races and my eyes burn. The voice in my head telling me I am going to kill myself sounds like me but it is not on my side. Variations of this 2 am ritual have played out as far back as I can remember.
This is war. These kinds of nights remind me that this battle isn’t one that can be won alone. I don’t know if you can relate to me on all my issues. Maybe you have never had to towel down like you just finished an Orange Theory workout in your sleep, but I have a feeling that the things you’ve been declaring war on can trap you in this same dark, helpless cage. The cage that says “This is all a nice idea but you’ll never change. You’ll never get through a day without yelling at your kids, you’ll never kick the negative self-talk, you’ll never beat the depression, the anxiety, or the vicious argumentative cycle with your wife. You can’t beat this. This is too much for you.” In and of yourself, in your own strength and in your own power, those statements might ring true. Positive thinking is important, so is watching how you speak and minding your habits, but if the practical tools we’ve discussed are all you walk away with, then these 5 days have simply been self-help. There is something much better than self-help—there’s God’s help.
You have enormous backup and firepower at your disposal. Don’t try to fight these battles in your own strength, or by relying on your own lung power. When your breath is taken away you need to rely on God for a second wind. The first wind is the natural air that was given to you at creation when God breathed into the dust He formed us out of. The second wind is the power of the Holy Spirit that was given to us after Jesus rose from the dead.
The Bible says no weapon formed against you can prosper. You are more powerful than you think…but not on your own. Listen, you are no match for the war you are facing. But that war is no match for God.
Discover what David said is possible when you are willing to call in God’s help as you declare war on all that holds you back. “He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the Lord, but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets. You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me. As soon as they hear me, they obey me; foreigners cringe before me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.” (Psalm 18:34–45)
He’s got the power, you just need to ask for it. He is a good father. He won’t give you a tarantula if you ask for a fruit-roll-up. But He will give you the Holy Spirit if you ask Him to.
You can’t do God’s work without God’s power.