Standing in The Gap - The Tree of Grace
Updated: Mar 3, 2019
“Ms. Eve, I wish I had learned the truth about spiritual warfare a long time ago.”
These were the words of my friend, Kayla, as we enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation in a local park.
Welcome to the fifth and final chapter of Standing in The Gap. If you would like to catch up, feel free to check out part four here.
As I agreed with my friend, the nagging voice that liked to tempt my insecurity crept into my mind and said, “See, you didn’t teach her all she needed to know.”
“NOT TODAY, Satan!” I was not going to allow the enemy to take away the joy of this day!
She is right; however. We don’t say enough about the spiritual battle that is going on around us and how the enemy would like nothing more than to steal our joy and make us feel powerless. We don’t speak to the power that Christ gave us at the Cross to rebuke and speak truth to our enemy. And we don’t talk about the tools that God gave us to combat the enemy’s weasel ways!
It’s time for that to change.
As my friend and I enjoyed the beauty of that day, she shared a great deal about her past. It was time to lay it all out on the table- the good, bad and the ugly. I could hear the pain of her little girl heart. I could see the broken pieces that the family worked so hard to put back together while sharing their happy face with the world. To hear another’s struggle is gut-wrenching, isn’t it?
You never truly know another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.
As she talked, we watched a butterfly flutter around us. Geese floated by, interested in what was in our hands. Fish, hoping for the opportunity of a buffet, swam underneath the dock where we were sitting. Time marched on as her vulnerable heart laid bare. All of the pain, guilt, and shame was on display.
When you are going through a battle, you don’t always see the battle for what it is. Chaos surrounds in the form of pain, fear, and worry. Distraction, a close cousin, likes to wrap you up in shame and guilt. The enemy loves to call in this tag-team duo to keep you from experiencing any relief.
So why didn’t we ever learn about spiritual warfare in church? Well, we did, once. I remember a whole teaching series on Ephesians 6. But did we get it? Were we ready for the truth? Did the enemy distract us so much that we missed the importance of the armor? Or did we merely forget we had the armor to use?
I think before we could use the armor, there was a gift we had to unwrap. In listening to her story, I saw something that perhaps she didn’t see.
I saw fingerprints of grace.
Grace – Dictionary.com describes grace as, “The freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. Words used include mercy; clemency; pardon; favor to describe gifts given in the face of grace.” The Bible describes grace in Romans 5:1-2 as such, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God."
Grace is a free gift that delivers salvation for eternity and peace for all of our days. A gift that we cannot buy or earn, but one that is freely given from the One who knows every hair on our head and holds every tear from our eye.
There were so many fingerprints in Kayla's life. A mom who prayed persistently. The favor of a loving God who drew her to Him in her darkest moments. The mercy found in moments of anxiety and deep stress. The friends placed around her to pray in her time of need. While she questioned the presence of God in her life; I saw Him holding her hand. I recognized a colorful thread in each story, brighter than the one before. I saw faithfulness shine bright in the life of this young one.
When you stand in the gap for another, it’s important to help them see the faithfulness of God.
So, we sat under the tree of grace and shared His faithfulness. She made a list of the blessings God had gifted. We peeled apart specific moments in her life and dissected the enemy’s lie of how they defined her vs. the truth of who she was in Christ.
The key to getting out from under the law tree and moving under the grace tree is to receive the truth of who God is, His gift of grace on your behalf and who you are in Him.
What truths did Kayla have to receive?
She is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Almighty God.
She is redeemed and restored to her Father by grace through the sacrifice of His Son.
She is God’s temple with God’s Spirit dwelling inside of her.
She is His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works.
She is a new creation.
She is loved.
She is blessed with a purpose and a plan to give her hope and a future.
She can do all things through Christ who strengthens her.
These truths are given to us in His Word. And there is nothing that we can do or say to redefine His truth or repeal the grace that is already ours.
Kayla had to accept and apply these truths in her life; even when she didn’t believe them to be true.
If it sounds like a tall order, it was.
There is something about the "Do tree" that draws us back; even when the light of grace surrounds us.
Kayla found herself under the "Do tree" every time the enemy placed a lie of insecurity in her heart. In exchange for the lie, she looked for ways to work her way toward God. Through guilt and shame, she begged for forgiveness vs. receiving the forgiveness that was already hers. Through fear and anxiety, she sought comfort through media outlets vs. finding the strength and comfort in the arms of Her Father. Always climbing up, it was easier to do than to receive, and exhaustion set in until the Hand of her Father kneeling toward her became blurry.
It was time for a fresh reminder of His grace and faithfulness. Daily reminders were necessary in the ebbs and flows of her life. And for every reminder, I watched her take His hand as gratitude and thankfulness became her response. Watching her unwrap this gift of grace became a gift that I too will always treasure.
There is nothing that our enemy hates more than a fresh dose of daily gratitude.
We were ready for battle, taking up our shield of faith and sword of the Spirit.
This would be a great place to declare that we all lived happily ever after. The honest truth; however, is that this story is still being written. Kayla continues to battle the thoughts that sit in the corner recesses of her mind, but now she does so with a fresh dose of grace. She continues to pray on the armor of God, and she meets with an amazing counselor who is helping her find freedom from the ghosts of her past.
And I will continue to stand in the gap, pointing her to Jesus, for as long as she needs.
Isn’t that what sisters in Christ do?
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19