“You have to expect spiritual warfare
whenever you stand up for righteousness
or call attention to basic values.
It’s just a matter of light battling the darkness.
But the light wins every time.
You can’t throw enough darkness on light to put it out.”
Why is it we need to learn to love spiritual warfare? Most of us would rather run the other direction, but those who stick and stay, and weather the storms learn important battle strategies designed to help us win the next war.
Hardships come our way to mature us. Maybe we do not handle situations well the first time but staying in the fight will gives us a winning perspective for the next time. Warfare humbles us. It reminds us we cannot fight every fight alone. We need the strength that comes from the intimate knowledge of God.
Conflict teaches us we have a place to turn to and to hide behind. When we come against something that is impossible to handle, we can watch God handle the skirmish far better than we ever could. Flexing these muscles builds strength and reveals character flaws we need to build.
Conflict enlightens us about our weaknesses and gives opportunity to build new strengths. Wins against the enemy gives us confidence to go into future battles. And wins with God in control blesses and encourages us.
What gets in our way to winning the wars? The short answer: fear, selfishness, control and pride.
Fear keeps us from engaging in any battle. When fear replaces faith –I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, etc.—we rob ourselves of discovering our internal strength. When David met Goliath (the giant) all he had on him was a sling shot and a stone, but he trusted that what he was about to do would honor God and in one shot he killed the evil threatening his people.
Selfishness keeps us focused on our own needs and robs us of the understanding of other’s desires. In a self-centered state we are not available beyond the end of our noses. We miss opportunities to be an answer to prayer and perhaps discover our own purpose.
Control is the disguised monster to faithlessness. We falsely believe if we are in control of every situation we will avoid hurt or manipulation. No one wants to be controlled by others! We don’t like it and others don’t revel in it when we do it to them. It is hard work controlling everyone and every situation. It’s exhausting! It might be time to restfully watch God do what he knows is best for us.
Pride says I know more than you and sucks us into the selfishness of needing control. God wants us to love people the way they are rather than the way we want them to be. Rather than a stand off try these Joyce Meyer magic words, “I think I’m right, but I could be wrong.”
It’s difficult to give up control of our lives whether it is out of fear, pride, or past hurts, the stress that comes with running our own lives is exhausting. The good news is that God is ready to help demonstrate perfect peace and happiness if we will give Him control of us.
Pick Up Your Sword:
- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-5
What does this verse say about selfishness, control and pride? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves ~ Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
How shall we handle warfare according to this verse? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. ~Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
When trouble comes your way who will you be serving? What are you doing to be certain of your choice? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. ~ 1Corinthians 10:24 (NIV)
What does this verse mean? Should you stop self-care? Are there limits to seeking the good of others? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has given each of you.
Your thoughts: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
When considering a battle with a person or a group ask yourself these three questions first:
- Does this person/group align with my beliefs?
- Does this person/group serve me and can I bring something to the group?
- Do I want to be with this person/group?
If you answer no to any of these three questions, do not engage in the skirmish.
If you are being accused of something ask yourself: Are they right? If so, there’s no defense…confess it to God, then do what ever you have to do to make it right before the sun sets on the day. If you must apologize, then do it. If you need to make amends or restitution, get at it!
If you are being accused and you are not guilty, there is no reason to defend yourself. The accuser probably isn’t interested in the truth. Let God fight this fight for you…the truth will prevail and you may get the opportunity to allow your polished armor to shine with them or someone else.
When it comes to spiritual war, gird yourself, protect your heart and quote to yourself:
The devil whispered in my ear,
“You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.”
I smiled, raised my armor and said,
“I am the storm!”