“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 AMPC
**Warning, this post is longer than usual**
Have you ever had to serve someone who was unthankful?
How about having to serve this unthankful person daily?
What about several times a day?
What would be your posture if with each act of service – you are always greeted with either criticism or complaint?
Can you imagine if this was the job the Lord required of you for the rest of your life?
How would you upon each act of service respond?
Would you give up and quit?
Would you join the grumbling party?
Would you serve with joy or do it grudgingly?
For the past three weeks, I have had to face these questions.
I confess, I have grumbled more than I have prayed.
I have murmured and have even found myself asking, “Lord, why me?” or even “How long?”
As I continue to endure this process, and journal my frustrations, Holy Spirit does what He usually does when I turn to Him for help – He teaches me valuable lessons and shifts the focus to what is truly important.
Today, I will share one major lesson (which may have many mini lessons) with you. Join me next week for Part 2.
Now before you roll your eyes and walk (scroll away), hear me out.
What is spiritual warfare? In a nutshell it is the fight we must endure and participate in on a daily basis against the strategies of the devil, his demons and our flesh (our enemies).
How do we engage the enemies to ensure we are victorious? Let’s take a look below.
Our key text from 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 highlights that though we are living in this flesh, we are not to carry on our lifestyle (warfare) according to the flesh. We are commanded to not operate using human weapons or our natural fleshly tendencies. Rather, we are called to utilize the spiritual weapons given to us by our Father. Paul further expounded on this subject matter in Ephesians 6:10-18, reiterating that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, cosmic powers and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
This means dear friend, that we have adversaries who are working against us and are trying to thwart the purposes of Abba in our lives- right around the clock. They are doing everything in their power to shift our focus from Christ. They aim to leave us frustrated, filled with doubt, and ultimately, separated from our Father for all eternity.
Dealing with someone who grumbles incessantly, I was left feeling extremely discouraged. With each act of service, I began feeling more and more frustrated. Bitterness began creeping in my heart. In fact, I almost fell into a state of despair…But God!
“But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).” Ephesians 2:4-5 AMPC
As I continued to endure the character development process, for this is just what it is – Holy Spirit patiently walked me through various passages of scripture and frequently spoke to the depths of my soul.
He caused my attention to shift to Abba by urging me to dig even deeper in the Word. This would allow me to draw closer to the cross, spot the tricks quicker and remind me to walk in Christ’s strength, not my own. He brought my attention to the fact I was in a battle – this was not just a grumbling and discontent individual – this was warfare.
He began giving me glimpses and deeper insights into what was happening. The person I should be annoyed and upset with was not the one being served. I was under attack.
The enemies’ plans were multi-fold.
One strategy was to zap the joy of the Lord which is my strength. If I am miserable, I will not want to serve and if I did, it would be with meanness instead of in the spirit of humility and with cheer. With my strength gone, I would be emotionally exhausted and spiritually tapped out. (Nehemiah 8:10, Romans 12:8).
Another tactic of the opposers, was to cause me to not see the magnitude of who my Daddy is. Rather, I was to focus on the size of the issue I faced. With me fixated on the problem, I would miss seeing the Problem Solver – my Giant Slayer.
Next, the adversaries of my soul wanted my heart to cultivate bitterness which would in turn become unforgiving to the one I was called to serve. With this harboring of sin and iniquity in my heart, I was sure to be separated from my Daddy – I was sure to not have my prayers heard (Psalm 66:18).
With a bitter heart and a grumbling spirit, I was sure to pass on this stinking thinking and attitude to those in my home and my closest friends. In fact, I’m pretty sure strangers would become ‘partakers’ of the venom I would unleash and no longer would the fragrance of Christ be smelt, I would begin rotting and those around would smell my putrid scent.
Finally, it was their intention for me to depend on my own strength instead of depending on the Father. My focus would be on finding a way to get out of this duty or do it in a way that benefited me. I would seek to glorify myself and not the Lord. Walking in the flesh, I was certainly on the fast track to fail. Leaning on Jesus however, I was and am guaranteed victory.
Get where I’m going with this.
The enemies of our souls want us to focus on the problems at hand AND be annoyed with the persons involved. They want us to not see their tactics and tricks but be mad at individuals and ultimately, distrust our Father’s Sovereign hands in our lives.
Husbands and wives – you are on the same team!! See the enemies’ ploys. Are the sandals of peace on your feet?
Parents and children, the same goes for you; the enemies do not care for unity nor do they wish the home to be filled with harmony. Check if you are wearing your breastplate of righteousness.
Friends, the enemies hate when there is sweet communion and fellowship; especially when it comes to building each other up. They want hatred to brew, discord to be sown. They strive in malicious behavior, and discord. Are you wearing your helmet of salvation?
Workers and employees – neither your boss nor your coworkers are the true enemies. Take a step back and see that you are the target. There is a bullseye on you- grab your shield of faith.
“Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth. This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal).” James 3:13-15 AMPC
We are in a war.
We are fighting for our very lives. Marcus Rogers coined this statement, “Casual Christians will become casualties.”
We have to use the weapons given to us: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace for our shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit aka the Word of God, and of utmost importance, prayer at all times.
We must have these weapons 24/7 as warriors of this mighty army. There is no day off – ever!
Holy Spirit really impressed upon me that in order to go through this character development, and in order to win this fight, we must be more equipped by the Word.
Do not only read simply because it is apart of your morning devotion – or because you have a message to preach or a blog to write.
You have got to drink the Word because it is the water you need to keep you hydrated.
You must eat the Word because it is the bread of life.
Ensure you bathe in the Word because this is the only way you can be clean.
Sleep in the Word for only there you can find rest.
The Word will reveal ABBA’s truth.
The Word will unfold His promises that equip us and remind us we are never alone.
The Word will point out that without Christ, we do not have the power to go forward or to even stand still.
The Word will teach us how to pray; how to respond, and even how to serve.
The Word will be our light and guide. It will dispel darkness and show us the way we should take.
The Word will bring overcoming power through Yahweh – not an argument – not deliberation – not complaining, – not being resentful – and definitely not leaning into our own strength.
Come to think of it, when our Lord was tested in the wilderness, did He not respond with the Word? (Matthew 4 and Luke 4). He did not go back and forth with the enemy or even attempt to use His strength (though He could). He SPOKE THE WORD.
How was He able to use the Word? He ingested it from His youth. He obeyed His Father. He made sure to spend time with Abba. He became the Word
Bottom line: As our Lord lived according to the Word – so should we.
Despite our complaints over and over, He continues to serve us several times a day in spite of our complaints. It is through His love towards us (in His service) we receive square meals, oxygen, have clothes and much more. His love, dear one, causes us to see our enemies and position us for victory.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I ask you to join me next week for Part 2 of ABBA’s lesson to me(us).
*images taken from online