The Good Fight, Part 1– We Wrestle

the good fight.pngHe warns us in His Word that we are fighting a battle, and so I’m not sure why I’m always so surprised to find myself under attack again, caught unawares and unprepared for the storm of fiery darts of doubt and fear and anger and lust and shame.

He tells me to take heed lest I fall.

He tells me to be sober-minded and vigilant, because my enemy is like a roaring lion, seeking to devour me.

He tells me I don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against all sorts of unseen forces of darkness.

He tells me to not be surprised by the fiery trial that comes against me.

And yet, when I finally figure out that I’ve stumbled upon a battleground, I’m usually face down in the dirt, shocked and surprised with a hungry carnivore growling over me.

It doesn’t have to be that way. My Father– the Lord of hosts– He has warned me about the battle I face and given me all I need to face it. My Savior– the Conquering Son– has defeated death and gone before me as Victor, guaranteeing my own victory. My Comforter– the Spirit of Power– indwells me and strengthens me and prays for me in every battle, enabling me to wield the Word of God as a sword against my enemy.

The real problem lies in my own blindness and lack of awareness of the real battle going on around me. The more closely I walk with Jesus, the more I really see what is happening when I am suddenly beset by doubt, when I keep on falling into sin again and again, when my Christian walk seems harder than it should be, or when I feel oppressed. This is a battle of epic proportions, fought in my heart and life every day. It is very real, very fierce, and the stakes are very high.

If I am not willing to fight this battle, I will fall to the enemy, and I will become just another worldly Christian, content to go to church on Sunday and check off my holy to-do list. There is so. much. more. beyond that. Life in Christ is not a checklist– it is glory and joy and abundance and freedom and it is Jesus and one moment of that is so worth every battle scar.

And so I have decided to begin a series about spiritual warfare. I’m not an expert on this subject, but I can’t avoid the pressing of the Holy Spirit on my life, prompting me to take on this subject. I am not a champion on the spiritual battlefield, but the One I follow is. And I believe that in these times in which we are living, we need to be reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood– it’s not against each other, against a political candidate, against any of that. Our battle is against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places– and it is often against ourselves, our old nature– our own foolish hearts and mind so easily led astray. This is what we are fighting, and we need to be aware of it.

Even more than that, we need to remember that Christ has already overcome all of these things. We fight an enemy who has already lost and has no real power over us, but who can make us lose our joy, our effectiveness, our sense of purpose and belonging. Satan is real and he is cunning but he is defeated, and the One who defeated Him is the One in whom we trust, and in whom we hide. Jesus goes before us and leads us, and our faith in Him gives us the victory.

We will talk about our enemy and the lies he uses to defeat and devour us. We will discuss our own flesh and its weakness and the nature of temptation. We will joyfully turn to the finished work of Christ on the cross, and discover the hope this gives us for the daily battle. And we will study the armor of God in depth, looking at each piece and what it means to put it on.

At least, I hope we will. I struggle with follow-through, as some of you may have noticed.

So as I begin this series, I would like to ask you to pray for me. These are heavy topics and writing about them puts me on the front line of the battle. So many days it seems so much easier to just close the laptop and walk away– go read a book or check out Facebook. I believe that He who calls me will do this, and I rest in Him. Pray for my mind– that it would be clear and free from doubt, shame, or fear. Pray for my heart– that it would be humbled continually before God. I struggle with pride and a fear of man. Pray that these sins would have no place in me as I seek to obey my Lord. Pray that I would have wisdom and discernment and the right words to say.

Pray that I would stand strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. And come along with me– an army of believers, ready and armed for battle, protected and cared for by the God of the universe. Greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world.

We are more than conquerors.

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