Throughout our lives, we will be engaged in spiritual battle. The reality is, there is a God who loves us and an enemy who seeks to destroy us.
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." Ephesians 6:11
One of the major areas the enemy often targets is our thought life. Fear, discouragement, self-hatred... these are the weapons he uses. He targets our belief systems, because he knows if he can aim to get us to believe a lie, we'll act out of that place.
But we are not powerless, and his tactics have been exposed.
Over the course of the past few months, I've found myself at various points facing the enemy's attacks, feeling at times as if he's worked overtime to try to disempower and discourage me. But, I know that's not my inheritance in Christ. Hope is. Joy is. Peace is. Belonging is. When the lies come, I know that I have a choice of where to place my focus, and this is what God has been reminding me of.
As I have walked through the battle, I feel as if God has invited me to put on a different lens when it comes to moments of warfare. Instead of allowing discouragement in (because let's face it, it's NEVER fun), I feel like God has been encouraging me to leverage the moments these attacks rise against me. What do I mean by leverage? To use them to my advantage. Weird sounding, I know. Not that I receive them, but instead, that I use these moments to grow in exercising authority in Christ, learn to wage war against the enemy with truth, to stand in my identity in Christ, and to grow in trusting God.
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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. (Ephesians 6:14-18)
God wants to train us up to stand firmly and confidently in Him. Each time we choose truth over lies, our minds are becoming renewed. We are growing in Christ, maturing in our faith. Our foundations are growing stronger. We are walking out the Word. We are growing in authority.
So, when I felt God whisper this encouragement to my heart, I felt His hope rush in. The Word says that we are more than conquerors in Christ. More so than ever, I've felt a big NO to the lies rise up out of my spirit and a big YES cry to my identity as a child of God. I want to experience the fullness of living out of this place in Him. This has become my prayer: that I would not be discouraged when the enemy attacks, but that I would turn it around and dismantle his schemes by rejoicing that I get to exercise my faith and authority, that I get to grow in my identity, that I get to be strengthened by God, that I get to see Him break through. Again, not that I seek warfare, but when it does come, instead of focusing on it and giving into any hopelessness the enemy would want me to feel, that I would focus on God and know that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
How have you seen God grow your faith in the midst of battle? Be encouraged--in Christ, you are more than a conqueror and through Him have the victory.