“And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. And they cried to the LORD, and the priests blew the trumpets. Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.” 2 Chronicles 14:14-15
Have you ever been there? I’m sure you have. You know, that place where you look up and the battle isn’t just in front of you, it’s behind you too. You’re surrounded, and trapped and helpless. There is a choice to make in that moment, keep fighting or surrender. And it is in that moment where it is key to know your opponent! Who is it exactly that you’re fighting?
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
We aren’t fighting other people. We’re not in a battle with the attorneys, or against the bank, or against our spouse. We are batting with the spiritual forces behind the attorneys, the bank, our spouse. These people are the hostages held up between us and the true Enemy. And the longer you battle the flesh and blood problem and not the spirit behind it, the longer that Spirit will continue pushing you further back.
Right now, if you’re having trouble with your finances, and it seems like money is running through your fingers faster than sand, you’re not struggling with money. You’re struggling with Greed. Fight Greed not money and you’ll win every time.
If you’re struggling with your weight and it just doesn’t seem to want to come off. You’re not fighting the battle of the bulge; you’re fighting the spirit of Indulgence.
In both instances the world will tell you to tell yourself, “No, I don’t need that new pair of shoes. These work just fine.” Or, “No, a second cupcake is too much.” But you’re not fighting you! The battle isn’t against flesh and blood; it’s against the spirit that has been influencing your flesh and blood. Yes, you still need to say “no” to those things. But you’re not telling you “no”, you’re telling the Spirit-monkey on your back “no”!
Let’s say it, just for fun. Say, “NO!” as loud as you can! In James 4 verses 7 & 8 God reveals to us the secret of victory. “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” There’s a formula here that I want you to see:
Submit yourself to God: Submit yourself to His leadership in the battle, to His authority over you (AND the spirits you battle) and to His amazingly abundant love for YOU. He wants to see you saved from this light and momentary trouble even more than you do! Submit to Him and He will be your shelter. Not just a storm shelter, your home shelter. Your place of refuge, comfort and REST from the battle that rages outside that door.
Resist the Devil: He is doing everything he can to cause you to trip and fall and screw things up. Ignore his temptations! God has made the POWER of His Holy Spirit available to all who believe in the name of Jesus and call on Him for salvation (“Jesus save me”) and power to defeat this Enemy (“Holy Spirit of Jesus, I welcome you into my heart. Please guide me into all truth and away from this father of lies! In Jesus Name! Amen!”)*
He will flee from you: This is an ongoing battle. We push the Enemy back, he retaliates. It’s a cycle, but it’s a diminishing cycle! The more ground we win the less ground he has to stand on. The more we resist his temptations the more ground we gain and the less ground he has. Every temptation we cave to is allowing Satan to gain our territory. So every time you stab your fork into a spinach salad instead of cake you can picture yourself piercing the heart of the spirit of Indulgence and gaining lost territory. The longer you do it, the better you will get until it’s not even a battle anymore. He just turns into a pesky fly that you smack and kill.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you: I have been harping on this a lot this week and I’m going to keep doing it (a) because the Holy Spirit is leading me to and (b) because I know it’s important. You’ve got to read a portion of your Bible daily! God has blessed me with a reading plan that is simple and quick. 30 minutes a day is NOT a lot! There are 1,440 minutes in your day, spending 30 reading your Bible leaves you with 1,410. See, it hardly leaves a dent! But the impact that those 30 concentrated minutes with God can have on your life is immeasurable!
The words that you read in those 30 minutes will stick with you all day long. God will use them to give you the strength and hope to keep going when all you want to do is quit! Those 2 ½ pages of reading are like spinach to Popeye, they will make you strong to the finish, because you ate your spinach!
And it will make it possible for you to say, “O Satan, do not fight against the LORD, MY GOD, for you can not succeed!” (adapted from 2 Chronicles 14:12)
* If you prayed this prayer please email me (tamarknochel at gmail dot com) and let me know so my team and I can pray for you by NAME! We love you and want to do everything we can to support you!