Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
Recently I woke in the night to find myself having a conversation with God and the enemy, just the three of us. It was surreal, frightening, and something I hope never happens again. In a conversation with these two voices, one telling me lies, one telling me truth, I succumbed to crying out “Jesus Jesus Jesus.” All I knew to say in that moment was “Jesus.”
I can’t tell you exactly why that happened to me in that way, but I know that I feel much stronger since that night. Looking back at my life, I see many roots that the enemy planted in me long ago, even as a young girl. I’m sure that for the rest of my time on this earth I will face new attacks.
I know that there is a very real battle going on in our world all around us every single day. It is a spiritual war. We may not see it with our physical eyes often, but if we open our spiritual eyes, we will definitely see it. I often feel that this issue isn’t talked about enough, but it is something that needs to be brought to our attention more frequently as sometimes we might forget it’s there. Living a life immersed in ministry, I witness this very present battle often, whether I want to or not.
So what can we do when we are in the midst of these thoughts and temptations of spiritual warfare? Here are 3 things that I believe and have learned will help us through these times.
1. Call on Jesus
Cling to the One whose power is above all, the One who longs to save you. Cry out to Him. Believe that your fervent prayers are enough to make the enemy flee from you. Simply the sound of Jesus from your lips gives you power over the war going on around you or in you. We can press into Him through prayers, worship, and quoting scripture. Praying God’s words back to Him is a powerful weapon. It brings His truth out into the open. This reminds us that God knows and understands all that we face, and it builds up our faith and trust in Him. It guards our hearts and minds and brings our focus back on Him.
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
2. Recognize The Power of God
In these hard moments, we may feel overwhelmed with weakness or strength. Normally I tend to let weakness win, which then leads to worry, fear, and depression. The spiritual warfare around us does have real power, and that can be scary. But what’s important to remember is that God’s power is far greater than any other. His name alone is far stronger. Too many times I have given into the lies and schemes of the enemy, and he wants nothing more than for me to feel defeated, alone, and afraid. And yet the Bible reminds us over and over to “do not be afraid.”
It wasn’t until recently that I had the realization that I could have a spirit of peace in these circumstances. This didn’t happen overnight; this took years of listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice and learning from the wisdom and encouragement from others. The spiritual warfare we encounter means that we are doing something right! We are following God, obeying Him, and pursuing the things of His Word and will. So take heart, and know that these moments can only mean that you are doing the work of God and not the enemy.
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
3. Seek Out Community
It’s very important that you know you are not alone. Other believers around you are struggling too, every day. It’s always comforting to know that we are not alone in our situations.
1 Peter 5:9 says, Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being expressed by your brotherhood throughout the world.
Talk about what you are dealing with with your close friends, your spouse, a mentor, and those close to you in your church community. Ask them to pray with and for you. Having that open dialogue with those we confide and trust in lifts the weight off our shoulders and provides us with encouragement, peace, and fresh confidence.
Even better, God is always with you, whereas the enemy isn’t! He never leaves us fending for ourselves in a dark world. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit living right within us to protect us and strengthen us as we overcome the temptations around us. He is our “very present help in trouble” according to Psalm 46. He is fighting for us, even when we cannot see.
Like you, I hate being lied to. What’s worse, is when I believe the lies and repeat them out loud. It has taken me far too long to discover how real this battle is. It has taken years and a continued daily effort to correct all the lies I have believed and used to shape different areas of my life.
Too many times I have let the enemy win, hurting my close relationships, my view of myself, and ultimately my relationship with my Heavenly Father, the one who loves me the most. I have allowed the plots of spiritual warfare to make me believe that I am alone, worthless, helpless, ugly, you name it. Thankfully, relying on God’s presence when I call on Him, trusting in His power, and the community I have surrounded myself with, I now have renewed strength. I have victory in Him.
Every day we must wake up and decide who is going to win our day– the enemy’s army or God’s army? God equips us with everything we need to help us fight our battles every day. Let’s be aware of the spiritual warfare and not let the schemes of the evil one distract us from God’s divine purposes for us.
Your turn. What has worked well for you?