Updated: Mar 2, 2019
Welcome to the third installment of Standing in The Gap - God’s calling me to battle for a fellow believer.
Go to battle? Yes, you read that correctly. It was time to go to battle.
Ephesians 6:12 states, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Goodness, there are those angels and demons again.
I wish I could tell you that evil wasn’t real. But just as the enemy stole the freedom from Adam and Eve in the garden, he is trying just as hard today to weasel his way into our lives and steal our joy.
Steal our Joy- But how can he do that?
Oh you know, subtle ways at first.
Example 1- Friend offends leading you into anger. Bitterness sets in your heart like a bitter root giving birth to unforgiveness and resentment.
Example 2- Encouraged to step outside of your comfort zone, fear pushes insecurity to the surface. Faced with all of the what-ifs; you shrink under the pressure giving up on the dream bubbling up inside.
Example 3- Succumbing to temptation, guilt covers you like a blanket. Worried that you will be “found out,” isolation barricades you from situations where the blame will be laid bare.
Example 4- Abused as a child, you find yourself burdened with secrets that strangle you into the isolation of shame like weeds in a garden.
In each example, there is a common theme.
The enemy strikes at the heart of your weakness and emotion.
He then isolates you with shame and guilt.
Finally he wraps you in a cocoon of fear and worry.
And this is his MO- To distract by tempting you to focus on the weakness and emotion instead of the solution. His isolation keeps you from reaching out to those who can help you. And if he can wrap you in a dark cocoon he can continue to throw darts and keep you paralyzed in isolation. The father of lies, he is very good at raising up the things in you that speak to your insecurity. And just as he did with Adam and Eve, he bends the truth ever so slightly from beginning to end in a circle of condemnation.
If you are afraid, worried, anxious, ashamed, guilty, stressed and alone- you aren’t seeking and feeling the Love of your Father. If you don’t see and feel the love of your Father, it becomes more and more difficult to see the value and purpose that God placed in you to bring Light into this dark world. And then he wins. He doesn’t have to win you over to his side; he only has to render you defenseless until you’re too weak to care anymore.
The months that followed our prayer were strenuous. Every day, Kayla was subject to the enemy’s attacks on her thoughts and emotions. There wasn’t one day that went by that she wasn’t reeling from the effects. And my heart was crying out to God. “God, please, please help my friend! Please give her peace and show me how I can help her through this season!”
And of course this question would rise up from time to time, "Father, how can we go to battle against an enemy we cannot see?"
Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us the battle plan.
Beginning in verse 10-11,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
The first thing that you must know is that THE ENEMY HAS NO POWER OVER YOU, EXCEPT THE POWER THAT YOU GIVE HIM. When Jesus went to the Cross He said, “It is finished.” He declared victory over sin, death and the power of the enemy over our hearts and souls.
Oh and guess what? There is no condemnation in Christ. So if you feel any sort of condemnation- guilt or shame know that it isn't from Jesus but from the enemy!
We have to receive His victory and use the tools that God gave us to fight the enemy.
Continuing in verse 13,
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
There will come a day when we have to choose. We can choose to hide or to fight. If we hide, the enemy will return over and over, until he ultimately wears down our defenses. But when we put on our armor and stand, the enemy has to flee, just as he did with Jesus. JESUS GAVE US THIS VICTORY OVER THE ENEMY!
So what is the armor? Ephesians 6:14-17 shares,
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Truth- Stand on the truth of God’s Word, the enemy’s lies have no defense against God’s truth.
Righteousness- As Christians, we wear the righteousness of Christ. It was His blood that cleansed us white as snow, and it is His righteousness that the Father sees when He looks at us! So wear it well, condemnation has no power over us!
Gospel of peace- Better than the cure for cancer, we have the answer to a dark and hurting world. We carry the Light of the world and therefore have the opportunity to pass the plate of peace in every situation. His peace heals all chaos.
Shield of Faith- The enemy loves the game of darts. And when we lower our shield, he will hit the bullseye every time. Our faith in Christ works in direct opposition to fear. Our faith creates a force field that diverts the enemy’s flaming arrows from penetrating our heart.
The helmet of Salvation- Our confidence is in Christ. When we believe and turn to Him, our salvation is settled. We are set free from the eternal damage of the enemy’s schemes and given the freedom to walk in the path of our Savior- FOREVER.
Sword of the Spirit- Just as we stand firm on the truth of God’s Word, we too can use God’s Word to attack the enemy directly. An active hit vs. a defense mechanism, we don’t have to wait for our Savior to rescue us because He already has! We only have to use the weapons He gave to fight the enemy and WIN!
I love Braveheart. Mel Gibson shows great courage as he inspires his army into battle:
“Aye, fight, and you may die. Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!"
We too have a choice to fight or run. And if we run, we may think we are okay, for a little while. But little by little the enemy will steal our joy until we look back one day and recognize that he stole our freedom as well.
Jesus gave us the victory, but can we hold on to courage in Him and realize joy and freedom in the process? In Ephesians 6:18a, Paul shares profound intel to freedom in a spiritual battle,
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
Just as Mel inspired his army to go into battle, when we pray, The Spirit inspires us to courageously face our enemy and our circumstance with the power of Christ. We are not going into battle alone, but we are being led by The One who has already reigned victorious! So claim it and follow the One into battle that has already won!
Up to this point, Paul is taking a “proactive” stance in his teaching. Actions meant to be taken BEFORE the attack of the enemy. But what about during the temptation?
Jesus gave us the perfect example of this when He was in the wilderness. In Matthew 4:1-11, the devil tempts Jesus with His need. 1- Satan tempted Him with food when He was hungry. 2- Satan tempted Jesus to put God to the test. 3- Satan tempted Jesus with power in the world. In each example, Jesus rebuked Satan, spoke truth to him from God’s word and then afterward, in verse 11 it says: “Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”
Jesus’ example of how to respond when you are in a battle against the enemy:
Speak truth to your circumstance
Seek God and pray
And when you can’t do it alone, Ephesians 18b shows us what to do for each other, “With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
So I continued to pray. Standing in the Gap, I was made for such a time as this.
Tune in next time as I share God’s response to our prayer.