Clothe me in a robe and give me some temple tables to overturn! Let me hear the clatter of satan’s currency as it falls to the ground in dust to be trampled underfoot. Allow me to watch evil and all of its subtle manifestations scatter as I shout Victory’s name: JESUS!
I’m usually not this militant.
But I should be!
My tendency to neglect to armor up and walking in the authority of King Jesus is one of the reasons I recently found myself slouched in bloody and lifeless defeat sucking on a canister of futility. It was a subtle ambush too. It’s not like I woke up one morning and said, “Gee. I think I’m going to give up; on messy relationships, on messy ministry and most of all on messy me.”
I have this hunch that Satan has a tailor-made lie for each one of us– it’s his go-to, the one that has proven to work with us time and time again.
Here’s mine: You’re no great threat to Satan, Sherrie!
That lie branches out from there and includes, Just ignore him–he’ll go away!
You see, I’ve been so busy putting out fires and forgetting that I have an enemy–who is very much after my heart–that I forgot to remember I am in a war.
And so are you!
I asked the Lord to show me what is at the root of my reluctance to rebuke the lying thief who hates my guts. Want to know what I heard?
Years ago I was in the thick of sorting out some debilitating emotional pain, which stemmed from extensive familial abuse in my childhood home. Contributing to the situation was the generous degree of dysfunction resulting from our denial of the ramifications abuse played in our lives.
To make a tedious story short, I had come to the end of my survival rope and just couldn’t find the desire to tie a knot and hang on. My coping strategies failed; that I recognized. What passed my notice was that in the midst of all the oozing, smelly pain, God was in the process of orchestrating a deep healing and re-creation in me at an almost cellular level. But I wasn’t paying attention!
Through the years I had ardently pursued and applied multiple faith-based remedies but I wasn’t getting better and I wasn’t walking in the victory and freedom I desired. I also explored counseling and psychotherapy, I bought and read every book I could get my hands on and soaked up as many special prayer meetings as I could.
To say that I felt I had left no stone unturned would be an understatement.
While I was looking for healing, rather than the Healer, my arch nemesis was undermining Truth and I was listening.
I lamented to a friend at the time, “I feel like the woman with the ISSUE (of blood) who spent many years and all she had in search of healing.” I wanted a hem to touch but I couldn’t see Jesus in the crowd.
During that season I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t function. I felt hopeless. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t have a drop of drive or dream left in me. I stopped hoping. I felt lost in my deepest soul place–it took all the faith I could muster to believe that God cared anything at all about me.
Anxiety paralyzed me, anger seized me and God seemed to have abandoned me.
At that time my husband and I were part of a church where the emphasis on spiritual warfare was central. It seemed to me that everything was somehow tied to a demon or an ancient curse.
It felt like I was functioning in strict spiritual quarantine. The emphasis placed on Satan’s power rather than on the overwhelming omnipotence of Christ troubled me. It seemed life and everything in it had been identified as a contagion in an outbreak of demonic ebola. Spiritual warfare was soup de jour– every day and all day long.
While in the throes of acute soul anguish I was told [paraphrase mine] that all I needed to do was to escalate my attack on Satan; to pray more and rebuke louder. When that didn’t bring relief, I was encouraged to search my heart and life for hidden sin that had given Satan access and therefore license to sift me.
I didn’t realize then that I had made a judgment and that my judgment eventually served to bind me further. It bound me to a lie.
I wanted and needed the same type of care and compassion one might show anyone suffering from illness or hardship. What I got were formula and fanaticism, or so it seemed, and I pulled away feeling so disillusioned.
I JUDGED the imbalanced overemphasis on spiritual warfare. The end result was that I hopped on the pendulum and swung way over to the other side of the spiritual warfare reality. I minimized and underestimated the subtly of the devil’s craftiness in attempting to render me powerless and eventually I became an anemic and uninformed soldier in the army of God.
I hate to admit it but since I espouse transparency I’ll tell you that since that season in my life I have been combat-apathetic. Up to now, standing firm against the devil has not been as operative in my life with Christ as it should be.
Nothing jogs the memory and reminds one of the realities of war than a full-on siege.
Loud and heart-stopping landmines have been detonating all around me lately and I seem to be imploding with exhaustion, grief and a pervasive sense of futility. It’s left me spiritually dehydrated and disoriented.
But guess what?
God sent a rescue/supply chopper! Out jumped a muscled special forces member named Angela Craig who shouted, “Don’t quit, soldier!” She effectively slapped some sober sense into me and reminded me of the TRUTH!
For if he (satan) can disable or deaden your heart, then he has effectively foiled the plan of God, which was to create a world where love reigns. By taking out your heart, the Enemy takes out YOU, and you are essential to the story. – John Eldridge, Waking the Dead
You are not what you think you are. There is a glory to your life that your Enemy fears, and he is hell-bend on destroying that glory before you act on it. – John Eldridge, Waking the Dead
The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could do and fears it. – John Eldridge, Waking the Dead
Though we win the battle, though the victory is already ours, we are still required to fight the enemy of our hearts and to stand firm in our faith!
Maybe, like me, you have misplaced your sword! Maybe life’s hurts have left you feeling apathetic and disbelieving. Will you join me as I arm myself against the schemes of the destroyer? Will you be my Sword Sister?