For We Wrestle Not
Over the past few weeks, some people have come to me about being attacked in the workplace, in their relationships, in their marriage, and in their faith. By faith I mean that they’ve been discouraged and somewhat doubtful that God will come through for them.
Their experiences immediately reminded me of 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.” (NIV)
Recently, this scripture has been brought full circle for me, and it has inspired me to write this post.
I started having really vivid dreams when I was about 12 years old. My dreams have always revealed some sort of future life event or have given me warnings. I learned early on that my dreams were one of many ways that God speaks and reveals Himself to me. However, I was not initially able to distinguish the dreams that were sent by God from those that were sent by the enemy.
Growing up, I had many dreams about me being attacked in some form or another. As a result, I lived in constant fear. The spirit of fear faithfully followed me everywhere I went no matter how much I quoted Psalms 23:4, Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. I was always told that fear is not of God. Although His Word backs this statement up in 2 Timothy 1:17, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, it wasn't enough to help me overcome my fear. At one point in my life, I was so afraid of the enemy, to the point where I wanted to live a "lukewarm" life. I felt this way because every time I was 100 percent team Jesus, I was attacked from every corner. I was so afraid that the negative dreams I had would come true and that the enemy would completely destroy my life. Sounds crazy, I know. But I had yet to learn that you cannot serve two masters. But more than that, I underestimated both the power of God, and the power that God birthed into me when I became one of His. Actually correction, I didn't know the power of God at all or the power that God had given to me to defeat the enemy and live my life in total freedom from wiles of the devil.
I also dealt with severe issues of low self-esteem, some of which has stemmed from my life history. My issues weren't only about my appearance, but they were also about my sense of self-worth and my value. I always doubted myself and my abilities. I didn't believe I was good enough for much of anything. As a result, I always took a "back-seat" approach to life. For example, God lead me to study Journalism when I was in college. He equipped me with everything I needed to pass my classes and be a successful J-school student, before I even began. I had a natural knack for it. But as a result of my low self-esteem, and low sense of self-worth, I didn't like to volunteer to write or pitch stories. My professors sometimes literally had to push me to step up to the plate. I always thought that I wasn't as good as my classmates. It was almost like I felt that I didn't even deserve to be in the major.
After I graduated, I built up a little confidence since the time that I was a student. I worked up the nerve to go after the desire that God had placed on my heart for Journalism. A few years after I graduated, I started working in my field. On one particular job, I experienced work place bullying from a colleague that was working in a senior level position. This person just had it out for me and I couldn't understand why, especially since they had so much seniority over me. As a result of the bullying, I thought I was doing so terribly on the job. They depleted the little self-esteem that I did have, caused me to believe that I was not on the right path and that I would never be good enough to succeed in the career.
My thoughts and feelings were the complete opposite of what God had told me. First of all, He's the one that opened that door for me. As a matter of fact, I didn't even apply for the position, they miraculously found me. Everything leading up to my acceptance of the position told me He opened the door. When God opens a door, He equips us with ALL that we need to be successful. That means He affirmed me for the position before I even started, regardless of what anyone else thought. But, I let the voice of the enemy overpower the voice of God in my life. I began to question God and ask HIM where He was in the situation? I began to believe that He had forsaken me. Sometimes even thought that He was against me. I let the enemy run me right out of the very thing that God had established and ordained for me. I believed lies, lies and more lies, and I let those lies control my life.
But recently, I came to know the truth. It wasn't God who sent those negative dreams when I was younger, but instead it was the enemy that sent them to instill fear and confusion early on in my life. It wasn't God that made me believe I was worthless or inadequate, but instead it was the enemy that told me those lies so that I would continue to take a back seat and never fulfill my God-given destiny. As a matter of fact, it wasn't even my colleague as a person, that was bullying me, but a spirit of the enemy operating within the person that the devil used to come against me, and stop me from finishing my God-given assignment for that current season.
That is why the scripture says, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Therefore, I came to understand that the only way I would have overcome, was in my prayer closet. This is why it says, we are fighting against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The battle was not one to be fought in the flesh. But, instead it was one to be fought in the spirit and in the heavenly realms. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have fought in my prayer closet and I guarantee, I would have won.
One of the reasons why the enemy was able to bully me for so long and why I allowed his voice to over power the voice of God, is because I did not KNOW MY WORD. He was able to feed me lies because I did not study TRUTH that lies within the Word of God. Not only did I not know my Word, but the parts that I did know, I didn't even believe. That is why I was able to quote, "I will not fear for you are with me," and still be in utter fear. I didn't believe that God was really with me. The Bible says that God's word is sharper than double-edged sword. That is pretty sharp.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow... ~Hebrews 4:12
In other words, you fight by opening your mouth and by speaking God's Word. When you speak, your words are like fire. They are burning hot flames. They are extremely powerful. That is why the Word says that life and death are in the power of the tongue.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ~Proverbs 18:21
When the enemy tells you that you are inadequate, worthless, not handsome enough or pretty enough, respond with Psalm 139:14, For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. When He causes you to believe that God is against you and that He wants nothing good for you, respond with, 3 John 1:2, It is His will that I may enjoy good health and that all may go well with me, even as my soul prospers. When he tells you that you are not qualified for your position at work repeat Hebrews 13:21, May he equip you with everything good for doing his will. Or, Romans 8:31, What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? When he tells you that nobody loves you, you respond with Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself." When you look at your circumstances, and seems like God has forsaken you, you respond with Deuteronomy 31:8, "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
When the enemy sends confusion in your marriage and into your relationships, open up your mouth and say 1 Corinthians 14:33, My God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Then, tell him to stay out of your marriage, out of your relationships and out of your home. When you open your mouth, and speak, he has to heed to the power that is within you as a child of the Most High.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7
Not only must you speak the Word, but you must also believe it. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. ~Mark 11:23 Believing is the key that we often forget.
Just like there are angels assigned to protect us, there are demons sent to destroy us. The enemy comes to do three things; steal, kill and destroy. He is absolutely relentless and what he does, so you have to be too.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8.
This is by no means a blame-game for the devil. No every bad thing that happens in life is not a result of the works of devil. There are things that we bring upon ourselves as a result of poor decision making. I do believe that the enemy will often lead you to carry out certain things in your life. This is to help you recognize the adversary that is working against you 99 percent of the time, and to help you to come to know the truth, that you serve a God that is madly in love with you and wants nothing but good for you. He thinks you're amazing and He admires you. This is to help you recognize that God is 100 percent team you, even when it does not look like it or feel like it.
The enemy does not want you to recognize your worth or power, because he is worthless and powerless. That is right, He can’t harm you. Luke 10:19 says, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
Did you read that? Let me repeat it for you. GOD HAS GIVEN YOU THE AUTHORITY TO OVERCOME ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY. The devil is a punk. Don’t let him bully you.
Know the truth about who you're fighting. Come to know the truth that lies in the word of God. Don’t just come to know it but believe it. When you speak, speak with power and authority and believe what you say. Be on your guard always. Never cease to pray. Get in your prayer closet and fight. Fight for your marriage. Fight for your family. Fight for your children. Fight for your life. Know the power of Jesus, and recognize the power and the authority that He has put inside of you. The same POWER that conquered the grave lives in you.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power, that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. ~Ephesians 1:19-20
I used to think that I was tiny in the body of Christ. But, now I know that I am a great and mighty Giant in Jesus. The enemy knows how much power you have. Why do you think he’s been trying to stop you? But, if you don't come to know that power for yourself, you will never overcome. I WANT YOU TO KNOW YOU ARE A GIANT IN JESUS!
So today I ask you, What are you willing to rise up fight for? You have the power within you take this life by force!