Problems And Pain // Overcoming Difficulties

Day 3 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

How You Combat Darkness: Spiritual Warfare

There is more to this world than what you can see and touch. I have told you this before. But it is easy to forget. You are conditioned to react to what is in front of you, to what you can tangibly experience. But there are things you experience that cannot be explained by the rules of this world. Remember, while my Son, the Light of the World, defeated darkness, evil yet exists upon the earth. It is folly to ignore it. It is foolish to pretend that it does not exist. For it wants to hurt you. It wants to destroy you. It wants to rip you apart from Me. Even though it can’t, even though, because of my Son, nothing can ever separate you from my love for you.

I am greater, more powerful, than darkness. And ultimately, it has already been conquered—by Jesus, by Me. And that is why it is angry. It rages—against you, against this world, against everything I create and I love. It envies Me. It envies my goodness. It envies my love for you. It envies my power. It envies that I am in charge and I am God and it is not and there is no way that that will ever, ever change. 

So, in its rage, its envy, its pride, its evilness, its hatred, its contempt . . .  it schemes and it lies. It distorts goodness and turns beauty into something completely different than what I originally planned. It is here; it is in this world where you live. And because you know Me, and because you love Me, darkness’s war against you is personal . . . and intentional. It is no mistake that combatting darkness feels challenging. Your body and your mind, after all, still live in this world. Yet your spirit and your heart ask you to listen to and follow Me.

Because you are my own, you have tools; you have weapons; you are not defenseless. So use them. For what is the point of having weapons if they sit upon the floor, in the corner, ignored and unused? First, the weapon of praise—turning your heart’s attention to me. Second, the weapon of gratitude—remembering what I have given you sheds discontent, malice, false conceit, an attitude of pride and self-centeredness and desire for control and power. Third, the weapon of love—loving people, in my name, and claiming your identity as the heir of my kingdom; knowing I give everything I have to you. Fourth, the weapon of prayer—recalling your authority as my child who can call down all powers of heaven. I do not hold back anything from you. All I have is yours. All authority is given to you. Call heaven down. Know that I stand by your side.

You are not alone, but you forget that don’t you? Well, remember this: Nothing can stand in the way of Me and my love. Nothing. Nothing. I have come for you, and I am coming again, and right now, right now, you can invite Me into your every moment and ask Me for help. I am with You. I do not abandon you. And with Me at your side, you have the power to combat anything that comes against you—even the darkness you can’t see. Trust Me. Watch Me. Together, let’s go forward into the light. All darkness will be made light. You’ll see.

Exercise:

“The great and terrible clash between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness continues,” wrote author John Eldredge. “They are fighting for the human heart.”

But we can’t see it, can we? This battle that Scripture says we are in the midst of is occurring in the spiritual realm. And we are physical beings living every moment in the physical realm. But we are not just physical beings. For we are created in the image of God, and John the apostle wrote, “God is spirit.” That’s from John chapter 4, verse 24. So, while we have a physical nature, we each have a spiritual nature too. And, therefore, spiritual warfare affects all of us.

But how?

Well, John’s wife, Stasi Eldredge explains:

 “Spiritual warfare is designed to separate you from the love of God. Its goal is to keep you from living in the freedom that Jesus has purchased for you. Satan whispers to us when we have failed or sinned or are feeling horrid that we are nothing and no one. He is a liar. And our fight for our freedom involves exposing him for who he is even when the lies feel completely true. The battle is waged and won in our thought life: in our minds and in our hearts.”

We’ve all heard the lies. We’ve heard the whispers. And they can sound so true. You are worthless. You are unlovable. Your worth is defined only by what you have, what you accomplish, what other people think of you. You can’t love other people well. You are no good. God isn’t real. And if He is, He wouldn’t love you. Not you.

We fight against these lies by learning to identify them, when they come—and to reject them. And we must. Because, if we go on believing them, and making life decisions because we believe them, then we give our enemy tremendous power to wreak havoc in both our spiritual and our physical lives.

Not long before He went to the cross and defeated evil and death, Jesus said, “the ruler of this world is coming.” That’s from John chapter 14, verse 30. And Satan did come. And this world now “lies in the power of the evil one.” That’s from 1 John chapter 5, verse 19. Jesus rules us—you and me—His followers, and He will rule the world to come. But, for now, right now, the enemy holds sway. And He wants “only to steal and kill and destroy.” That’s from John chapter 10, verse 10.

Satan has a kingdom—the kingdom of darkness. And it is here. And it’s goal is to steal and kill and destroy you. And its weapon is deceit.

So, we must open our eyes to reality that there is battle raging—and we must learn to fight back.

Here’s a bit more from Stasi: “Jesus came through for us before we were even born. He fought for us before we even knew we needed him. He came; he died; he rose again for us. He was given all authority in heaven and on earth for us. He has won the decisive victory against our Enemy. But we must apply it. Christianity is not a passive religion. It is an invasion of a Kingdom.”

So, let’s open our eyes to the battle, right now. Let’s ask Jesus about the lies we’re believing.

Jesus, because this spiritual battle is being waged in my mind and in my heart, I consecrate them to you, now. I consecrate to you my beliefs, my thoughts, and my imagination.

I don’t want to believe lies. I want to believe Your truth. But it’s difficult to separate falsehood from fact when they all sound so true. So, I need your help here, Jesus. I need your wisdom and love. I need you to speak.

And here is my first question. What lies am I believing about myself or about You?

Here is my second question, Jesus. What do You have to say about these lies I’ve been believing?

What is the truth?

Jesus, thank you for speaking into my life. Thank you for helping me to see things with new eyes—for helping me to see this battle for what it is—and for equipping me to fight back. Now help me to stay in the fight. Help me to be able to recognize the lies when they come again. Help me to know, and to remember, what is right and what is wrong. And help me to have courage to pick up a weapon and fight.

In your name, Jesus, Amen.