What is the reality?
The battle is relentless. Everyday, I am either winning or losing (and so are you by the way). My thought-life swirling to gain control more than it is under my control. It can become obsessive as I “stew” or fixate on a problem or criticism.
As a believer, I recognize that I am involved in a war BEYOND what my eyes can see. It is a spiritual war raging since Eve succumbed to the temptation in the garden and it continues to this day. The moment I accepted Christ as my Savior, I entered a personal battle with a real enemy.The moment I accepted Christ as my Savior, I entered a personal battle with a formidable enemy. Click To Tweet
How does Scripture warn us?
Ephesians 6:10-12 teaches me this reality with added insight.
“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.”
The sobering truth from this Scripture rattles my sheltered existence.
- There is a real battle with a real enemy.
- I have something at stake in this battle.
- God expects me to personally engage in this fight.
- I am to suit up and stand firm against the devil’s schemes.
- God commands me to be strong and equips through His mighty power.
- My fight is not with the flesh and blood I see, but with the spiritual forces at play.
Although I am not living in a country yet where hand to hand combat is taking place because of my faith in Christ, I am nonetheless engaged in a personal struggle. It occurs daily, relentlessly……. in my mind.
What I am learning
God is teaching me some revealing truths about myself this year and it deals with the inward, ongoing battle of my thoughts and emotions. Though the words that reverberate in my mind may be from flesh and blood, I know the REAL enemy is not them but the accuser of the brethren. The word “satan” means accuser and he is described as one who accuses believers before God day and night (Revelation 12:10).
My enemy not only accuses me before God, he accuses me through the words of others and my own self-talk. In recent months, I am learning that I have strongholds– areas where I have strong beliefs in the wrong things. I allow falsehood that I believe about myself or from others to control my thoughts and feelings.
In essence, I am choosing to believe what is false more than the views of my Savior.
I am either accepting the truth of Jesus or the lies of satan.
Who is the real enemy?
The battle is NOT with others who are saying or doing things that cause me pain. They are not the “enemy” but rather, unwitting victims themselves. At all times, we each are either cooperating with our heavenly Father for His kingdom of light or with the enemy for his kingdom of darkness.
This means I have a choice, even a responsibility, in how I process what I hear from others or from my own self-talk.
Therefore, the true battlefield is in my mind with the enemy of my soul.
So if that’s the case, now what?
Recently, several lessons from Scripture have helped me take a stand by engaging the battle where it belongs, not in a war of words with others, but in the reasoning of my mind. Obsessing does not have to be my default action.
What brings my thought-life back under control?
1. I am not at the mercy of falsehood.
I am not bound by it nor chained to it. No one else has the right to declare their viewpoint as supreme. What God says of me, what He does or doesn’t convict me of, is what reigns supreme. Through Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, through God’s Holy Word, through His indwelling Holy Spirit, I have what I need for the ability to demolish strongholds in my life.
“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.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
2. I have the ability to stand against the schemes of the enemy.
Because I have a choice in what I do with a lie from satan, I am able to reject it or receive it. If my mind is governed by my flesh which feels pain and longs to be vindicated, then I am becoming bound by the accusation or condemnation I hear. But if I am governed by the Spirit and living more by what I listen to from God, then I will be able to enjoy life and peace.
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6
3. I can leave it with God.
Even when I am misunderstood, maligned, or manipulated, I can take it to God and leave it there. In the end, He is the final Judge and the only one worthy of my concern over the matter. Unless He convicts, then I can freely move on with peace of mind.
“For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God…..To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps…… When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:19,21,23
What is the pay-off?
I see the value in what God has been allowing. I no longer need the vindication of being wronged nor the validation of being right. He is teaching me the freedom found only through taking my stand against the enemy warfare going on inwardly.
If I allow the words of falsehood to continually swirl around in my mind, I am cooperating with the enemy’s scheme.Freedom in Christ means I no longer need vindication nor validation from others. He is enough! Click To Tweet
I would rather choose freedom.