2015 has only been about a month old, but it seems like tribulations are already knocking at many of our doors. Some of you might have lost a family member or a loved one at the beginning of the year; others might have lost a job, and others their sense of identity. If there is one thing that is certain in the midst of all this uncertainty, it is that we are in the center of a raging spiritual battle.
In this article, I will address the ways in which you can claim victory even through the heartbreaking losses you’ve experienced. I know that it gets hard to see how you can win when most things/people you’ve held onto are either gone or against you, but you can’t get through the war if you think that you’ve already lost.
Before you equip yourself for battle, so to speak, it is important to know what you’re going to be fighting against. Apostle Paul addresses spiritual warfare in his letter to the Ephesians: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). At times, I’m able to take joy in the midst of warfare because it is when the enemy is attacking me that I feel that I am a threat to the kingdom of darkness. Our enemies are the “authorities of the unseen world,” headed by the notorious deceiver who you must know is the devil. The Scriptures say that he is here to “steal and kill and destroy” your joy, your calling, and your relationship with God (John 10:10). I urge you to recognize your real enemy so that you will know whom you are supposed to be fighting against. You are not your worst enemy, despite the lies that he has led you to believe. Do not subscribe to the lies of the enemy.
· You are not worthless—Psalm 139 says that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. You were “fearfully” made because the God that you reflect is the author of the universe. So the next time you look in the mirror and the devil whispers a lie into your ear, like, “You are so unworthy” or “You are disgusting,” remind him and yourself that you were FEARFULLY made to reflect the image of the author of all creation. You are a WORTHY and VALUABLE son or daughter of the King of kings. Genesis 1 says that you were made in the image of God. Imago Dei – that’s who you are. Keep that verse close to your heart and don’t be afraid to say it out loud when the lies start pouring in.
· Nothing can stand in the way of God’s love for you—Romans 8 says that not even death, demons, fears, or worries can separate you from God’s love. It’s incredible. John 3:16 says that God loves you so much that He gave his only son to be tortured and executed just so He could have a reconciled relationship with you. The thought of hearing you call Him “father” was worth the suffering for Him. In the Old Testament, before Christ died for our sins, people wouldn’t dare call God by his personal name, Yahweh, let alone have the audacity to call Him father. They would replace the word Yahweh with "Adonai," which means Lord. But now that Christ has restored the relationship between you and God, He longs for you to call Him, “Abba, Father,” which is even more intimate. He loves you deeply, more than you could ever imagine, to the point where even death could not get in the way of how much He loves you. Don’t let the enemy convince you otherwise. Your father will love you until the end of time, despite your flaws and shortcomings.
The next step after recognizing your enemy is to equip yourself with the armor of God. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” I find it completely encouraging that God has even given us spiritual weapons to defend ourselves and retaliate during this time of warfare. He hasn’t left us helpless and alone. In contrast, He gives us:
· The belt of truth—“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist […]” (Eph. 6:14) The “belt of truth” might sound like a Yu-Gi-Oh play card but it’s actually very symbolic. The belt functions as an added security to keep your pants up when you’re working, so in a similar way, knowing God’s truth will keep you feeling secure when you are in battle.
· The body armor of righteousness—The body armor acts to protect your vital organs, so having the righteousness of God will surely protect against any vital blows from the enemy. Remaining blameless and remembering that Christ has made you righteous before God will keep the enemy from easily taking you down by attacking the weak areas of your life.
· The shoes of peace— The shoes of peace that “comes from the Good News,” that is (Eph 6:15). Isn’t it beautiful that He tells us to wear the message of peace on our feet so that we will actually go places? Without the good message of Christ to protect our soles [pun intended], we will not go far at all.
· The shield of faith— “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil” (Eph. 6:16). According to the Scriptures, your faith is actually the most direct armor against the enemy. In times of trouble, remember that your faith is your shield and so your enemy will try to get rid of your faith first. Don’t make the mistake of throwing away your shield. Keep your faith strong and steadfast against the arrows of the devil.
· The helmet of salvation—I also find this particular symbol to be incredibly meaningful. Why the helmet of salvation and not, let’s say, the girdle of salvation or the sword of salvation? The helmet protects the head—the most vital part of the body. You might still be alive without your limbs, but your head is of the utmost importance. Let your salvation protect you from the devil’s blows against your mind. Be secure in your salvation in Christ and don’t buy into the enemy’s tricks and lies.
· The sword of the spirit—Ephesians 6:17 directly states that the sword of the spirit is “the word of God.” Every other piece of armor plays defense for your body, but your offense weapon is the word of God. That means that without learning God’s teachings and promises in the Scriptures, you will be unarmed against the enemy. Even the devil knows the Scriptures, and he often twists it to use it against you. How can you fight back if you don’t even know what you believe? Do your due diligence and sharpen your knowledge of the Word, so that your “sword of the spirit” will be ready when the time comes.
Above all, do not forget to pray. Be vulnerable to God like David. Let him know that you’re struggling or that you feel like you’re constantly losing. I guarantee you that regular conversations with God will refresh you and keep you steadfast during times of warfare and hardship. When you talk to your father and tell him the ugly things that you are facing, he will remind you of the victory that will be yours in the end. Romans 8:35-37 says, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? […] No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Read that again and let it sink in. Apostle Paul didn’t just say victory is ours, but he went so far as to say overwhelming victory is ours! Indeed, you must know and remember that you will experience overwhelming victory if you remain in Christ. He weeps with you when you weep. He celebrates with you when you succeed. He will be with you until the end of time. The battle is tough and there might be times when you feel like you are on the losing end, but it’s when God comes through during impossible times such as this that make the end victory seem so overwhelming.
If you are going through a difficult time in your life and would like to talk to somebody about it, don’t hesitate to send me a message in the contact section and I will be honored to pray for you or talk you through the storms. For now, I hope that this article will encourage you to keep strong during those times of trouble. There is absolutely nothing to fear because you will never lose the one thing that truly matters—the love of God, who is your faithful father.