Call it what it is: War | Worship
Last updated 7/6/2022 at 11:39am
Ever meet one of those people … you know … one of THOSE people … who just can’t stop talking about their diet?
“My diet says this; my diet says that.” “I can’t eat this; that’s 1,100 calories.” Chances are, if you’re considering dieting, you’ve dieted before. Maybe you lost some weight; maybe you didn’t.
But odds are you weigh more now than when you started your previous diet. Yeah, that’s pretty discouraging! You worked hard then, and it feels now like it was all a waste of time. All that tasty comfort food you missed out on because you were forcing yourself to “be good.” But, as you think one more time about getting healthier, you have a little less motivation than you did last time.
These battles we fight in our thoughts are not just limited to food. Think about the last time you really struggled (thrashed, fought, brawled) with something. Today, yesterday, this week, right-now-as-you’re-reading-this? That struggle could be over finances, relationships, job, family, school, thoughts, sin, etc.
We all have low points in our life … as well as high points. When things are going well you’re reading your Bible, you’re praying, your spirit is at rest, and you think, “yeah, I’m rocking this.”
But the low points sound in your brain like this: “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’ll always be average.” “You can’t do anything right.” It doesn’t take much to turn a decent night’s sleep into hours of restlessness.
These are disabling thoughts: disabling because they have the power to paralyze you if you internalize them. And they’re especially perilous when they have a kernel of truth in them. If you’re not watchful, they get embedded into the fabric of your being … who you say you are.
Where did these disabling thoughts come from, anyway? Maybe they came through someone else or just popped into your head, but behind them all stands the devil. Yes, Satan is real. Jesus Christ says in John 8:44, “He (the devil) 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.”
He only comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Satan is a master at disabling thoughts. He’s been watching, tempting, and corrupting mankind since the creation. He knows exactly what buttons to push. And he has been watching you; his demons have been working non-stop to find the things that tempt you.
His goal is to steal your joy in the Lord. His goal is to kill your effectiveness as a Christian. His goal is to destroy your relationship with Jesus Christ. If he can do that, then you will be rendered impotent. Satan is FURIOUS that Jesus Christ is on the throne. HE wants to be God, and he knows his time is short.
Well, the big idea for today is that being on Team Jesus means that He has given you the tools (power) and right (authority) to overcome the enemy. To win the battle. To come home with a “V.” We are victorious in Christ – through Christ – because of Christ. 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.”
For a spiritual enemy we need spiritual weapons: both offensive and defensive. Jesus has given us the tools we need to DEFEAT Satan, not just “hold him at bay.” Jesus has already won the war!
Our job is to fight the battles for our heart and for the hearts of others. Those spiritual weapons are found in Ephesians 6: “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. 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.”
This week I want to encourage you to take a mindful step back when disabling thoughts from the devil come into your head. You are not who the devil says you are; you are who God Almighty says you are. As Moses said to the entire Israelite nation as the Egyptians were barreling down on them at the edge of the Red Sea, Exodus 14:13 “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.”
And feel free to put an exclamation point on the end of that sentence!