Last week I was having a few doubts about some decisions that I’d really been sure of before. But after taking some time for reflection, I recognized that several lies had infiltrated my thinking, tearing me down with subtle accusations. In fact, those decisions that I’d already made were from the Lord, and He confirmed them again. Clearly, it was time to examine my spiritual defenses. I am finding that everything I do related to taking a team back to Haiti next month is being fought by the enemy. Here are some mandatory responses to spiritual warfare – I hope you will take action in your battle as well:
Stay Alert: We are at war, so as Howard Hendricks says, don’t be surprised that you’re being shot at. We are admonished to be self-controlled and alert, for our enemy “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8.)
Take Cover: Put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and walk in truth, practice righteousness and exercise your faith. Stand firm and pray! If it’s been more than one week since you’ve reviewed this passage, read and pray through it right now.
Fight back: Are you living in a museum, with your sword hanging on the wall in display? That’s exactly what you’re doing if you leave your Bible on the shelf. The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, emphasis added.) A sword is not a defensive barrier – it’s a weapon of assault – which is why it is sharp and piercing.
How prepared are you when it comes to self-defense of your soul? Are you a white belt? A black belt? Something in between? Keep up the regular protection of your heart, mind, spirit and soul. Here are some questions I ask myself to keep alert and engage in combat:
- That voice I hear – is it a shout or whisper? Yes, the Spirit often speaks in a still, small voice – but He speaks other ways as well. And He isn’t shy about getting my attention. God doesn’t hide from us. So when I detect a whisper in my ear, I need to pay attention and ask, “Is this something that God would shout from the mountain tops? Or is it something that my adversary is quietly whispering in the darkness, hoping the lies will enter my mind without being exposed to the light?” (Matthew 10:26-27.)
- Is the message life-giving or draining? Jesus told us that our enemy intends to steal, kill and destroy – but He came that we’d experience life abundantly (John 10:10.)
- Am I experiencing assurance of who I am in Christ, or being driven to doubt? Is the message I’m receiving making me more confident and full of faith? Or is it creating anxiety or fear? (e.g. 1 John 5:11-12, Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:14-16.)
Now go to battle! Dive headfirst into His grace and experience Him through truth: His Word. If a message doesn’t align with Scripture, it’s not from the Lord.