Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spiritual Warfare

It is real.  It isn't some made up Hollywood trick to make a movie scarier.  It isn't something someone made up to make a story seem wilder.  Spiritual warfare can take on many forms.  I don't even know how many.  It can be dark spirits, rustling around in the trees near an African orphanage.  It can be that voice in your head that tells you to hurt yourself.  It can be that thought you have that you are not good enough, that you don't measure up, that you might as well give up.  It can be that unclean thought about your neighbor, a friend, a stranger.  It can be a voice telling you that you cannot win.

Ephesians 6:12 -  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.

But I tell you right now, that regardless of the hold spiritual warfare has on your life, on my life, that God can defeat it. 

I have been suffering from attacks from Satan on my mind since August.   I have briefly written about it in the past.  I am not proud of them; I don't really want to talk about them.  But I feel like writing this out helps vanquish them.  For a while, Satan was getting the best of me.  I let him tell me that I didn't measure up.  I wasn't good enough to do Women's Ministry (and I am not, but through Christ I can do all things).  I chose the wrong path to stay home with my kids.  That I was a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad daughter, a bad friend.  In fact I have no friends.  I have no one on my side.  I'm surrounded by people in this house, but I am all alone.  I'm surrounded by people in this town, but I am all alone.  My kids aren't safe.  I'm ruining them.  They could be hurt or worse.  My life is a lie.

Can you see the funk I was in?  Can you see where I allowed Satan to deceive me with lies, and I accepted it as truth?  It didn't start out this way.  How did it get so far?  Because I accepted one lie as truth.  When Satan saw he could deceive me like this, and I wouldn't fight back, he fed me another.  And another.  And another.  Until all I was having for breakfast was lies.  He attacked me in my most vulnerable places ~ my self-worth and my children.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

John 8:44 - ...He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

I have been trying to battle my way out and it is getting better.  Because I do know these are all lies that Satan ~ the father of lies ~ tells me.  I KNOW THAT.  But I was doing nothing to take control of my mind back. 

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and could not go back to sleep.  So after watching one and a half episodes of Monk and still not sleeping, I decided to get up and do my Bible Study.  I am currently working on The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian.  I started working on this because I know my prayer life is not what it should be.  I want so much to be a prayer warrior, someone who can just easily slip in and out of conversation with God, so much so that it is one day long conversation like I would with a friend or family member that was hanging out all day. 

Guess what today's topic was??  "Lord, She Me How to Take Control of My Mind".  Not kidding.  She talks about a weekend she had all to herself that she was planning to have some quiet time and get writing done.  Sounds like a heavenly weekend to me!  But Satan ruined her weekend by attacking her mind in such a way that she was literally paralyzed to do anything about it.

Have you been there?  I have.  Recently. 

She fasted, waiting for God to speak to her, and very early on Sunday morning such a great anxiety laid on her that she began to pray and read her Bible.  In Isaiah 61:3, she read "...the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..."  NIV reads Isaiah 61:1-3 as:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

At that moment she began praising God and spoke His word out loud.  She rebuked the enemy and thanked God.  She said, "Then, as clearly as I have ever felt anything, I sensed the dark, heavy blanket of spiritual oppression lift."

So it is possible to defeat the war being waged in our minds.  It is possible to overcome Satan's lies with God's truth.  God has given us His word ~ His promise ~ that He will defeat Satan in our lives for us if we let Him.  He gives us power and authority to overcome the enemy.

Luke 10:19 -  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

1 Corinthians 10:3-5 - For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the 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.

Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Hebrews 4:12 -  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

2 Timothy 1:7 -  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Isaiah 26:3 - You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Ephesians 4:22-24 - You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

There are so many other scriptures that speak of how God gives us what we need to defeat Satan.  We cannot do it alone; only through God and His word can we be set free.  If you are hearing or believing Satan's lies ~ claim God's promises for you.  Renew your mind.  Take captive every thought, every lie.  Put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-18).  And pray.  Pray that God will vanquish the lies from your life.  Pray that God will vanquish the lies from someone else's life.

And if you will, pray for Megan.  Pray for Hayley.  Pray for me.  We are beautiful in God's sight.  We will win, because Christ has already won. 

Father - I ask that you help Megan, Hayley, and so many others, including me, see Satan's lies for what they are.  Help us not to conform to the pattern of this world but help us be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  We have been taught to put off our old selves and that we are new in Christ.  Help us see others and ourselves as you see us.  You know our thoughts Lord.  I ask that you break the pattern of worthless thinking and you set us free from the evil one's lies.  Help us fight with the divine power you have given us to demolish the devil's strongholds in our minds.  Help us take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.  Your word is alive and active and is sharper than any double-edged sword.  Keep our minds focused on You and Your Word.  Place a hedge of protection around Megan, please guard her heart and mind from the enemy.  Place a hedge of protection around Hayley.  She is about to do great things in Your kingdom's work and the enemy is trying to attack her and tell her she cannot win. But she has already won, because You have already won.  Lord, guard my heart and my mind so that I rebuke Satan's lies in my life.  And God there are others who are listening to Satan's lies and don't even know it.  Lord, give them the discernment to know they are his lies and help them defeat the stronghold in their lives.  In Your holy power and name I give you praise this morning.  Amen.

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