So, here’s the straight-up truth. We are people on a healing journey, immersed in a broken world, where war surrounds us. The pathway you are walking is not a yellow brick road. It’s a war path with all manner of tactical ammunition being sent your way.
But it’s not the kind of war you may be thinking of. The battle that wages is not person against person. Nor is it a war against yourself, as many are led believe. The battle is with an enemy that seeks to prevent you from a healed and free life. If you are not careful, you can easily fall asleep at the wheel and forget all about the battle you are immersed into.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Locating the Battle
The central location of the battle is in your heart. If you listen closely, you can hear it in your mind, but feel it in your heart. The thoughts and impressions you wrestle with reveal what you are up against. Take a moment and consider the feelings you have that are really tough to deal with. Are you aware this is evidence of the battle you are in?
Awakened to Battle
I don’t know what you believe about the enemy, but you need to know you have one. You can pretend as though you don’t, or theologically push the subject away, but the resistance and tension you face tells you otherwise. That’s why the Apostle Peter said, “be sober.”
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9
His exhortation is given for a key reason. The state of sobriety is not simply being free from the effects of alcohol, for that is only one aspect of what it entails. Having your sobriety stolen will keep you from seeing the issues of the heart that need to be addressed. Being taken out from sobriety will keep you from seeing the war with full awareness and preparation.
Without sobriety, you will slowly fall asleep, being led into a spiritual coma. The war goes on and you’re oblivious to it. Talk to many Christians about their spiritual journey and not much is said about the warfare component. The truth is, they are asleep while the bombs go off, bullets go flying and casualties occur all around. It’s one of the reasons why so many hearts are numb and passive. They’ve tuned out the war and disengaged.
Want to awaken your heart like never before? Come alive to the battle and your role in it.
Steal, Kill, Destroy
Jesus said the thief arrives only for three reasons. He’s not your friend or ally. He has no other plan, but to steal, kill and destroy.
Why is this so important? If you are not aware of the spiritual nature to your battles in life:
- You will become an enemy to yourself, because you will believe that every thought you have originated from your own intelligence.
- You will be tempted to believe that evil coming your way is the result of God orchestrating it.
- You will fail to see what motivates the thoughts and actions of others.
- You will get easily discouraged and worn out, without any vision of what you are up against.
These are just a few. But I cannot emphasize this enough. If you and I are not aware of the battleground we face every day, our hearts don’t stand a chance.
Here is where the “steal, kill and destroy” comes against your life:
1. Find Agreement with Lies in Your Thinking.
Most people have not been trained on where thoughts come from, so they assume every thought they hear originated from their own intellect. Without discernment, you can assume all your thoughts are your own, for they arrive in the voice of your own inner dialogue.
This is where we need to sober up the most. Many thoughts you battle with are sent your way by an invisible enemy. The goal is to find agreement in your thinking, so his thoughts become your thoughts. This makes room for more lies to flourish and for the manifestation of those beliefs to become a way of life.
If you are living and breathing, a barrage of destructive thoughts seek to come against you all day, every day. The thief is lurking, searching to find agreements in the most subtle of lies, all to keep you from the conquering destiny that God has invited you into.
When God spoke to Adam about his agreement with sin, the question He asked is, “Who told you this?”
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Genesis 3:11a
One of the first steps towards awakening your heart is to sober up to the thoughts that you wrestle with.
2. Cultivate a Sense of Separation to Love
Most of the problems you and I face come down to battles surrounding the love of God. If everyone was completely immersed in the Father’s love, we’d see a whole lot less of those problems.
That’s because God’s love is a game-changer. When you experience that depth of the Father’s love, the connection wired to that love is so strong, nothing can stand against it.
That is why there is so much assault over you experiencing the depth of God’s love for you. The enemy hopes that at first you will feel separated from God’s love, driving you to live a life of performance-based living, where you seek to earn God’s love.
Your adversary will also distort what love looks like, so that you stumble through relationships and find yourself locked into habits and coping mechanisms that provide no life. In the end, he seeks to slowly erode the ability for your heart to receive the life of the Father shown through Jesus Christ.
When the Apostle Paul said, “I am convinced,” or in other words, “I am persuaded, that nothing shall separate us from the love of God,” he was declaring a truth, but one that he needed to come into agreement with. If Paul had to be convinced into this place of conviction, then you and I need to as well.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. Train You to Think You Are Your Own Worst Enemy
I hear more believers proclaim this lie as though it’s their fundamental Christian catechism. They declare, “I am my own worst enemy!” as if it was a Scripture verse. Continue to live under this lie and you’ll never be able to see yourself as God sees you. The enemy’s megaphone will be hidden, as you beat yourself up over all the battles you are having.
God never designed you to be an enemy to yourself. In fact, you are to love yourself as God loves you. But be advised, the assault against you involves making you an enemy to yourself. When this happens, you will look in the mirror with contempt, rather than kindness and empowerment.
4. Get You to Forget Who You Are
Identity in Christ is everything in the Kingdom of God. You live and flow powerfully from the foundation of knowing who you are. But be advised, your identity is under assault. In every battle that has overtaken me, somehow I lost touch with who God says that I am.
Every temptation of satan against Jesus began with the words, “If you are the Son of God…” His deception was seeking to undermine the identity of Jesus. If our Lord was brought into the depths of identity being tested, then know for sure, you will come up against this in your own life.
5. Deteriorate Your Relationships
The easiest way we can see satan’s attacks is in the fallout and constant drama in the body of Christ. Nowhere else do our broken-hearted issues come up more, than in how we do relationships.
The division, strife and downright hurt you experience reveal how often the enemy uses broken places in our hearts to erode the quality of relationships. The greatest litmus test of Christian maturity is not rooted in how well you can quote a theological perspective, but in how you are able to do relationships.
6. Accuse and Condemn You
If you were to imagine your enemy as an army coming against you, the front-line attack is accusation. It’s the infantry of satan’s work, one that he takes on personally. His name speaks of being an accuser.
No one will live a fruitful life while sitting under thoughts that accuse, condemn and shame. But be advised, it will come against you quite often. In fact, the Bible says the accuser does it day and night (Revelation 12:10). He never rests in seeking to keep you under condemnation.
7. Discourage You and Wear You Out
Chinese water torture is a slow, yet systematic drip of water, landing on your forehead that can eventually lead a person to feelings of insanity.
In many ways, the enemy loves to perpetuate destructive thoughts that go on repeat, mostly to wear you out and keep you from prevailing in your battles.
This is why so many of the New Testament letters spoke of living as overcomers, those who take their spiritual battles and allow God to strengthen their long-distance muscles.
In Daniel 7:25, it is said that the saints will come under persecution, which speaks of a wearing down, harassment and affliction. In my own life and the lives of those I help, I find the manifestation of this “wearing down” appearing everywhere. Managing our energy and keeping hope alive in our hearts is something that must be daily guarded and watched over. Beware of the spiritual water torture that is slowly stealing the life of your heart.
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