Spiritual warfare is very real and we are up against it every single day as Christ followers. For me personally, I had never felt the fight so strongly. I sat night after night, tear after tear, trying to control the thoughts overwhelming my mind. So as I read, I was encouraged and felt seen by this timely message Paul shared about the war that we would not win with mere earthly weapons.
He writes in 2 Corinthians, to the church in Corinth for a second time. They were slandering his name and questioning his character, as Satan was doing to me. Paul reminded them to seek God’s word and truth before they were deceived by all the lies. He states, “For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
I needed this reminder, just as the Corinthians did. As I sat there and argued with Satan, I felt crazy but I could not give into the lies. Lies that I was not good enough, that something was wrong with me, and the flood of guilt for feeling the way I did when I should be standing confident on God’s truths.
I knew what I had to do, suit up in the armor of God by “putting on the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, sandals with the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17). I started praying, reciting scripture, blasting worship music and praying even more.
God’s truths embedded in our hearts prepares us for the battle!
God comforted me during my time of need and reminded me that I was prepared for battle and He will do the same for you!
So, friend, no matter what you are going through, be ready when Satan comes to attack. Pray without ceasing and replace the lies with truth. Worship your way through it and seek your community that will help bear your burdens.
Put on the armor of God daily and He will prepare you for when the battles come. And take heart; He has already won the war!
Memory Verse: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11
David told his men that encouraged him to lash out against Saul, “ The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay a hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord” (1 Sam. 24:6).
David had his own struggles throughout his life, just like we do, but he knew that his retribution would not honor God. His faithfulness to honor God over his feelings in the moment was more important. Feelings tell lies, but God is faithful to keep His promises to us.
That is when I understood that I was more like Saul than I would like to admit. Years later, after the realization that my way was not working, I finally turned to the Lord for answers. He revealed to me my hidden faults. It took everything in me to surrender the sin at hand: pride. God gently exposed my sin and softened my heart, but this realization hurt! I then understood that the anger, bitterness and pain I experienced and caused others was not of the Lord. I used to see having the last word as a victory medal, now I see they were chains.
After I repented, God washed over my pain with His peace. The weight of those shackles needed to be broken so I could live the life He intended for me. Shortly after I surrendered, God put it on my husband's heart to share a sin he'd been keeping in the dark. I knew I had to step out of my own way and that was when I noticed, my response was not my own but God’s.
A surrendered heart breaks the chains that keep us trapped in sin.
When we are so consumed with pride, jealousy and our own emotions, it is quite difficult to see when we are the problem. Satan wants to make us comfortable in the dark. Hiding our sin and masking it with our pride makes his job that much easier.
But friend, let’s remember to not be controlled by our own selfishness and look at the situation from the perspective of our trustworthy God. When things get hard and relationships get sticky, remember the love God wants to extend. He exposes our sin because He is light and He disciplines the ones He loves (Pr. 3:11-12). Let’s humble ourselves and yield to the Lord, keeping our eyes fixed on our loving Father.
Surrender to Him today and watch as the chains are broken. Let Him have the last word because He is worthy!
Memory Verse: “But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.” Psalm 19:12-13a
Have you ever wanted to run from what God was clearly asking you to do?
That’s where we find Jonah in this week’s reading— running in disobedience.
Every time I read the story of Jonah, I am reminded of myself. I can look back to several times when I did not want to be obedient to the Lord. Sometimes what He was asking me to do was outside of my comfort zone. Other times, like Jonah, I simply didn’t agree with what he was asking me to do.
Jonah loved God and was told to deliver a hard message to Nineveh: repent from their evil ways or God would destroy everything. Jonah tried to flee so he would not have to go because he not-so-secretly hated the Ninevites. However, God sent a great fish to swallow him whole.
Yes, God has His ways of getting our attention. While he was in the belly of this fish, Jonah prayed. God commanded the fish to release Jonah, and spit him onto the shore. Then, again, He commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh.
After delivering God’s “turn and repent or be destroyed” message to the people of the great city, the people believed. The King declared a fast, and God had compassion on the whole city. You would think Jonah would be happy that they listened, after all he had been through. However, he was not happy because he did not agree with God’s compassion on them.
Like Jonah, obedience is the hardest for me when forgiveness is required. Unlike our fickle feelings, God’s love and compassion never fails. God never gave up on Nineveh, but He also never gave up on Jonah. He didn’t give up on my family member, or on me, and, friend, He won’t give up on you either.
Thankfully, God is forgiving and extends grace that is sufficient for each of us. If we stop and listen, He will point us in the right direction. When we realize His great compassion toward us, we are able to extend it to others. Return to walking in obedience, and open your heart to receive His compassionate love today and every day.
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