My spirit has been stirred up this morning, and I find that I am fighting mad.
Not at any people.
Not at any circumstances.
I'm angry at that evil old snake, that greatest of all liars, that manipulator extraordinaire...
If the devil were standing in my living room right now, I'd punch him in the nose, then knee him in the stomach, then elbow him in the face and thrash him good.
Side note: I took a self-defense class a while ago, with an introduction into Krav Maga martial arts, so I'm pretty sure I could give that slippery old Satan a class A butt kicking.
But the devil is way too smart to stand in my living room, or your living room, and make his presence known. He has a much sneakier way about him.
I believed for years that I was an anxious person. That worrying about situations and trying to control them was just part of my personality. I would get so anxious about things that I would have a break out of fever blisters in my mouth.
And then one night, as I was lying awake in my bed (at 3 a.m.), anxiously turning things over in my mind, trying to worry them into a configuration I could control...that night, Satan over-played his hand.
Or maybe it was an angel, giving the enemy of my soul a nudge that pushed him into the open.
Maybe it was my spirit, and the Holy Spirit that dwells in me, that rose up, fighting mad (like it is today) and said "ENOUGH."
I FELT the worry and the anxiety, as if it were two big hands wrapped around my neck, cutting off my air, choking the life out of me.
I could almost see those fingers gripping my throat.
And that was the moment Satan and his demons lost that battle.
Not because I was instantly released from worry and anxiety.
But because I was AWARE of the enemy, and his ploys, and his lies, in a way I had never been aware before.
I saw my struggle for what it really was.
A struggle against a slippery little weasel who didn't have the guts to fight me head on, whose only move was to mask his attacks as character flaws, personality traits, situational fears.
It was a long slow process, let me tell you. I told a friend, one day not long after, that I felt like it was letting go of me one fingernail at a time.
Satan didn't want to go quietly. He had built quite a foothold in my life. Every time I was anxious about something, and it affected my marriage or ministry or personal walk with God...the enemy gained a victory. And he HATED that his win/loss score sheet was no longer so impressive.
Every time I felt worry rise up in my heart, I remembered those hands gripping my throat.
And I fought back.
"Don't worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything." Philippians 4:6
It's been ten years since that night.
I don't get fever blisters in my mouth due to anxiety anymore.
Of course I still get frazzled, and anxious, and worried.
But I no longer believe the lie that accompanies those feelings.
I no longer think there is nothing I can do.
I fight back on the only playing field where I have the upper hand.
My kids have become very used to this. On a particularly stressful day they will hear me praying under my breath, and almost always one of them will say to the others, "Shhh, Mom is praying," which is code for "whatever crazy thing you're doing, cut it out because its making Mom resort to begging God for peace." Smart kids.
Sometimes I have no words, or I don't feel I have the right ones.
Those are the times where I let the Spirit pray. "The Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for believers in harmony with God's own will." Romans 8:27
My fight, the battle for my soul, isn't fought in the four walls of my house, or church, or job, or in the city I live in, or the state I live in.
It's fought in the heavens.
The enemy is tricky. He disguises himself. He's hard to spot.
He's an excellent liar.
I can almost guarantee that you have heard some of his lies today, or that you will before the day ends, and I am quite sure that they don't/won't sound like lies from the mouth of the nasty Evil One.
They probably sound a lot like a rationalization. Or an excuse. Or even a very good reason.
And this morning my spirit, and the Holy Spirit inside me, has had ENOUGH of that.
On your behalf, and mine, I am ticked off.
Because I know what it feels like to have the spiritual life being choked out of me.
Barely able to suck in a breath.
Hardly capable of standing up.
Weak and afraid and alone and powerless.
Except we ARE NOT ANY OF THOSE THINGS.
Hear some truth, gasping soul! HEAR IT!
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against evil...against mighty powers in the dark world..." Ephesians 6:12
"And they defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." Revelations 12:11
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of POWER, love, and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress and protects me from danger, so why should I tremble?" Psalm 27:1 (read this whole chapter!!!)
Pray, saints of God. Pray for each other. Ask each other for prayer.
Don't struggle against the enemy alone. Don't let him choke your spirit!
SEE WHO HE IS.
And now I feel like I've just taught a spiritual Krav Maga beginners class.
"Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and beat against the house, it won't collapse...BECAUSE IT IS BUILT ON BEDROCK." Matthew 7:25