armor

Finding protection against spiritual warfare

Humbling (verb) – 1. to make meek; ex. to humble one’s heart.
2. to destroy the independence, power or will of.

Humbling.

That’s the word that sums up the last three weeks of my life.

The interesting thing about being humbled is it can be both a positive feeling and an unfavorable one. I’ve had both.

God has done some amazingly big things in my life the last few weeks — guiding me through leading my first women’s retreat, my first public speaking opportunities, and calling me to travel half-way across the U.S. to serve a hurting, struggling population that our country has forgotten. The way God can use us for His purpose, the way He has used me the last few weeks has been humbling in a good way. A way that reminds me that He is omnipotent and worthy of the highest praise. Like the first definition, He has humbled my heart with gentility and meekness.

On the flip side, some pretty difficult things have happened the last few weeks. Challenges at work and with my kids; attacks on my marriage and on my health. It’s been humbling…but more in the sense of the second definition. A feeling that my independence and will have been destroyed.

While God will humble our hearts and make us meek, He does not set-out to destroy us. That is the work of the enemy; and it’s been abundantly clear that Satan has been on the attack in my life and some of those around me.

Spiritual warfare
Growing up in the church spiritual warfare was not a term I recall hearing, and even the concept of  “an enemy” was a bit abstract, to say the least. As I entered young adulthood conversations by other Christians referring to attacks from Satan made me a bit uncomfortable, as I wasn’t sure what I believed here. I put these thoughts away in a corner cabinet, along with topics like speaking in tongues, intercession, the entire book of Revelation, and anything else that my narrow Protestant view struggled to understand (and please know this is not a statement against the Protestant church, just that my exposure to these topics and ability to process them was limited).

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen first-hand that spiritual warfare is very real. It took me years to be able to identify this and understand the difference between normal every-day struggles and full-on attacks of the enemy. And it took even longer for me to feel comfortable speaking about this to others and learning how to identify when it was happening.

If you grew up in a more traditional or conservative church like I did, this may be an unfamiliar or uncomfortable topic…but it’s so important that as Christians we are able to identify when this is happening so we can strengthen our defenses and draw closer to God for help, instead of letting the enemy pull us further away with doubt and hurt.

One pattern I have identified is that when God is doing big work in your life or community, the enemy goes on the attack. Is your church having a season of growth and expansion? Don’t be surprised if conflict arises within your leadership team. Are you starting up a new ministry? Watch out for unexpected set-backs or opposition. Helping to lead people to Christ?  Be prepared for attacks in your personal life.

I don’t mean this to sound alarmist or to deter people from following God’s call in their life. In fact, quite the opposite. If we are able to identify spiritual warfare and call it out for what it is, then we are able to pray for God’s protection and not let the enemy’s attacks divide us from God or from each other.

Ephesians 6:10

I once heard a talk by author and speaker Lynn Cowell and she shared how every time she was about to speak in front of a big group, there was a guaranteed attack from the enemy on her family. Whether is was conflict in her house, gossip about her children, or other challenges, it had happened so many times she and her husband began to identify it for what it was. It didn’t necessarily make it less stressful or difficult to face these attacks, but at least by being able to identify and prepare for them, they were able to face them together as a family, instead of letting it divide them, or deter Lynn from her ministry.

I won’t lie, the last few weeks have been a challenge. I thought about cancelling my women’s retreat. I fought with my husband and my kids. I let stress from work tear me down emotionally, and I considered backing out of the mission trip I leave for tomorrow. But in my moments of weakness I was able to discern God’s voice and see what was really happening, and that enabled me to pray for protection and strength.

While the enemy may be capable of humbling me in all the wrong ways — to destroy my will and power — I must remember he does not have the authority over God’s will nor is he a match for the power of God’s protection.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against…the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)

God will call you to serve Him in mighty ways, and do things that will humble your heart.

The enemy will try to sabotage God’s plans. But if we remain watchful, remembering that our struggle is not against “flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil,”  and put on God’s armor, the enemy will not prevail.

Are you feeling under attack from the enemy? I offer up this prayer for you:

Heavenly Father, no one knows the cunning, hateful ways of the enemy better than you. Satan despises all that you intend for good and he will use any means necessary to try and interrupt your good works. I feel his attack and it has weakened my resolve, brought chaos into my life, and at times caused me to turn away from You and those I love. But You are more powerful than anything he might throw at me. You will not be defeated by his evil schemes. God protect me. Arm me for this battle. Teach me to wear your Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, and Salvation like armor. Show me how to fight, not with my own merits or strength, but with the power of your word and the protection of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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5 thoughts on “Finding protection against spiritual warfare”

  1. Amen! This is so true and a good reminder for me with my family to stand firm and not give in to the doubts and difficulty that flood in when we seek to fulfil God’s calling. Thanks!

  2. Jelise your post was perfectly timed. We also have had a lot of “stuff” thrown at us since we made the commitment to go on the mission trip. With each attack, Father was faithful to keep us protected. Every trial became a triumph when we called on Him for protection and guidance to stay on course.
    Right now, my house is a mess in trip prep but, my Spirit is undaunted. Every obstacle was overcome, every situation settled and all through the power of prayer, humility and the attitute of gratitude.
    We serve an awesome God/Yahuah. Like you, I have a favorite Scripture that turn to when Satan puts a bulls eye on me. Psalms 27 was written by King David during a time of great distress. His words are a wonderful prayer of comfort to me.
    Psalm 27King James Version (KJV)

    27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
    2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
    3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
    4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
    5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
    6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
    7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
    8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
    9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
    10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
    11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
    12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
    13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
    14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

  3. Each of us has a way our faith guides us through these time of conflict when we struggle with Yahweh’s will versus the distractions of life placed in our way by haShattan. Faith for me is giving up worrying about the outcome once I am sure what I am doing is the will of Yahweh. I pray with my wife (Anita) and then put on my toolbelt of spiritual tools and go to work doing whatever the Father wants. He has called me to do many things I would not have chosen to do on my own but each task has given me so much shalom and satisfaction when completed that I can’t wait for the next. Unlike Jelise and Anita I do not feel personally attacked, but more like a constant pull to be distracted by things that take my focus away from Yahweh’s will in my life. It is less immediate but more insidious in nature because it creeps up on you until you find yourself a ways off the narrow path that the Father wants you to walk. It requires more work to get back on the path but the solution is the same as a direct attack. Prayer and listening to the messenger of Yahweh to guide me back. Of course an occasional smack to the back of the head by the Father also helps move me along quicker when I dawdle.

  4. Being humbled can be a very emotionally painful experience and it’s an ongoing process. Whenever I find myself in a “mess” in my life, I try to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to the “messages” that are going to come to me from Him in the midst of – or following the chaos. The spiritual warfare struggle is real; that’s for sure. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject. I lift you up in prayer as you head out on the mission trip to SD and I pray that He will continue to keep you in His care. Love you!

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