Who am I fighting, anyway?

This approaching season may be a season of joy, to be sure, but for many it is often a season of sadness and depression. For some, this feels like war, and it is felt to be more “perpetual” than “seasonal.” For too many of us who call ourselves “Christ followers,” we “exist” rather than radiate “life,” the “life” of abundance Jesus promises us through believing in Him and His word (John 10:10), receiving Him by grace through faith, and being diligent to personally apply the word of God. To the watching world we often do not appear dissimilar to them, confusing them when we declare “God makes all the difference in our lives.” Maybe this is a good time for a healthy, encouraging “refresher.”

We are not quick to acknowledge that we indeed are at “war” with the spiritual forces of this world system. Here is what scripture says about that: “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.” (Ephesians 6:12) If we take that to be true, we need not fear people or be people haters, but be vigilant that we have a potent spiritual enemy. Our present world seems to feed on hate. Christians are equipped to feed on love, although we are often malnourished by not abiding in the source of the purest love and not being instructed and reminded by the message God sends us through His powerful, life-changing and life  re-arranging word. “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

Our enemy has seen fit to try to destroy us with lies and to keep us from being all we can through our application of the powerful resources of God. Our personal history and spiritually destructive interactions with the world often add weight to the arsenal of lies and deceptions the enemy hurls towards us. This barrage is constant, and its potency is given strength by the absence of God’s powerful truths being resident within us, both in our minds and on our lips so that the enemy can be defeated by our responses.

It is imperative that we counter Satan’s lies with God’s truth, and begin to intentionally establish a barrage against these lies and accusations to weaken their power and to empower ourselves through the strength of God’s word. If it seems like “brainwashing,” that is exactly the point of what God exhorts us to accomplish in Romans 12:2 by saying “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The most impactful tool in renewing our mind” is the word of God!  God’s word is the offensive weapon He gives us to be victorious in spiritual warfare.

Have you come to the place where you understand how secure you are as a child of God? When doubts and depressive thoughts and destructive arrows find their way towards you either from others or even from self-inflicted assaults, what is your defense? How do you protect yourself and those with whom you are entrusted to care for? In ourselves we have no resources with which to win these battles. Knowing this, God has given us a defense against these assaults and power for survival, even victory, through His word and the understanding of who we are and what our identity is in Christ and God our Father.

I encourage you to begin to use these truths to empower your life, speaking them out loud to yourself and inserting personal pronouns ofI” and “me” and even your name where we” and “us” appear in the text. Soon these truths will become not just part of your mind and memory, but an integral part of your life, the weapons of your personal warfare.

I am God’s child! (John 1:12)But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Because I have received God and believe in his name, I am his child forever, regardless of how I feel or how well I have performed!

I have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus, so that I now belong to God, not to this world. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

I have been redeemed, bought back by God from the world system . . . and forgiven! (Col. 1:14) “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

I have been justified! (Romans 5:1) “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I am free forever from condemnation! (Romans 8:1-2) “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

I am free from any charge against me, whether from others or accusations I generate! (Romans 8:31-34) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

I am confident God will work all things out for my good, trusting he sees from a wider, eternal perspective and knows what must happen to eventually bring about the results he desires. (Romans 8:28) “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

I cannot be separated from the love of God! (Romans 8:35-39) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I can find grace and mercy in a time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Let us then with confidencedraw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

I have not been given a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind!  (2 Tim. 1:7) for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

I measure thoughts, accusations and opinions against what God in his wisdom believes and says about me. (2 Cor. 10:5) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”

What God would have me do, he will give me power to do. (Phil. 4:13)  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Think About It.

This approaching season may be a season of joy, to be sure, but for many it is often a season of sadness and depression. For some, this feels like war, and it is felt to be more “perpetual” than “seasonal.” For too many of us who call ourselves “Christ followers,” we “exist” rather than radiate “life,” the “life” of abundance Jesus promises us through believing in Him and His word (John 10:10), receiving Him by grace through faith, and being diligent to personally apply the word of God. To the watching world we often do not appear dissimilar to them, confusing them when we declare “God makes all the difference in our lives.” Maybe this is a good time for a healthy, encouraging “refresher.”

We are not quick to acknowledge that we indeed are at “war” with the spiritual forces of this world system. Here is what scripture says about that: “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.” (Ephesians 6:12) If we take that to be true, we need not fear people or be people haters, but be vigilant that we have a potent spiritual enemy. Our present world seems to feed on hate. Christians are equipped to feed on love, although we are often malnourished by not abiding in the source of the purest love and not being instructed and reminded by the message God sends us through His powerful, life-changing and life  re-arranging word. “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

Our enemy has seen fit to try to destroy us with lies and to keep us from being all we can through our application of the powerful resources of God. Our personal history and spiritually destructive interactions with the world often add weight to the arsenal of lies and deceptions the enemy hurls towards us. This barrage is constant, and its potency is given strength by the absence of God’s powerful truths being resident within us, both in our minds and on our lips so that the enemy can be defeated by our responses.

It is imperative that we counter Satan’s lies with God’s truth, and begin to intentionally establish a barrage against these lies and accusations to weaken their power and to empower ourselves through the strength of God’s word. If it seems like “brainwashing,” that is exactly the point of what God exhorts us to accomplish in Romans 12:2 by saying “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The most impactful tool in renewing our mind” is the word of God!  God’s word is the offensive weapon He gives us to be victorious in spiritual warfare.

Have you come to the place where you understand how secure you are as a child of God? When doubts and depressive thoughts and destructive arrows find their way towards you either from others or even from self-inflicted assaults, what is your defense? How do you protect yourself and those with whom you are entrusted to care for? In ourselves we have no resources with which to win these battles. Knowing this, God has given us a defense against these assaults and power for survival, even victory, through His word and the understanding of who we are and what our identity is in Christ and God our Father.

I encourage you to begin to use these truths to empower your life, speaking them out loud to yourself and inserting personal pronouns ofI” and “me” and even your name where we” and “us” appear in the text. Soon these truths will become not just part of your mind and memory, but an integral part of your life, the weapons of your personal warfare.

I am God’s child! (John 1:12)But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Because I have received God and believe in his name, I am his child forever, regardless of how I feel or how well I have performed!

I have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus, so that I now belong to God, not to this world. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

I have been redeemed, bought back by God from the world system . . . and forgiven! (Col. 1:14) “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

I have been justified! (Romans 5:1) “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I am free forever from condemnation! (Romans 8:1-2) “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

I am free from any charge against me, whether from others or accusations I generate! (Romans 8:31-34) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

I am confident God will work all things out for my good, trusting he sees from a wider, eternal perspective and knows what must happen to eventually bring about the results he desires. (Romans 8:28) “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

I cannot be separated from the love of God! (Romans 8:35-39) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I can find grace and mercy in a time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Let us then with confidencedraw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

I have not been given a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind!  (2 Tim. 1:7) for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

I measure thoughts, accusations and opinions against what God in his wisdom believes and says about me. (2 Cor. 10:5) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”

What God would have me do, he will give me power to do. (Phil. 4:13)  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Think About It.

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