I'm on staff at a church that exists to set captives free. All the power required for freedom, healing, and restoration is found in Christ, and we are resolved to communicate this through every thing we do as a body. Naturally, these things find their way into many of our conversations throughout the week.
Nearly every Sunday, I hear things like this:
I want to step up and be a leader, but every time I do, all I can think about are all the ways I failed in the past, even if I know I'm forgiven. I know Satan wants to keep me focused on my old junk, so he's really stepping up his game.
I want an amazing marriage, but every time we disagree I get so angry and blurt out hurtful things to my husband to cut him down, just like my mom did to my dad. I know the enemy wants me to do the same thing, so the closer we get, the more he brings those thoughts.
Every time I walk into church, no matter how badly I want to be here, I just want to run in the other direction! I can't sit here without thinking about all the ways I was hurt by the Church as a child- but I know that was wrong and this place is good, so I'll keep coming anyway!
As I talk with Christians struggling with the presence of warfare in their walk with God, I find myself encouraging them with a few key things over and over. Here are some ways we can encourage one another in the face of enemy resistance:
This is a battle.
We are in a battle. We have an adversary, we are opposed. Sometimes that opposition is from the outside; but often the war is within. The enemy does want to remind us of every way we've failed, every insecurity and struggle. He wants nothing more than to steal, kill, and destroy in any way he is able. And Jesus prayed not that we'd be removed from this, but that we would be protected from the evil one (John 17:15.) As we obey God, as we pursue him and choose him and let his love transform us, we will notice these kinds of attacks.
We will certainly face opposition of many kinds, but know that to be made clearly aware of the presence of darkness in your own heart and life is a work of the Holy Spirit. This is God opening your eyes and allowing you to see the methods of the enemy, the places you're broken down or wounded. It is evidence of your growing sensitivity to the voice of God and the voice of a liar.
Dark devices want to stay hidden in the shadows, but you are a child of light. You were bought with a price. Jesus brought God glory on earth by finishing the work God gave him to do (John 17:4) and now he is seated in heaven, the work to set you free completed on the cross. Jesus Christ is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being. The same power that raised Christ from the dead now lives in you (Eph. 1.)
With that kind of light in you, how could the darkness possibly hide? That perfect light expands, exposing and driving out every presence of darkness as we choose to walk in the truth.
When we say yes to God, his love moves freely in us, bringing to light any thing that contaminates the connection between our heart and his.
Love is winning.
Your holy heart is a supreme threat to the enemy. As we pursue God, awareness of opposition is not an indicator of the enemy's increased strength, but of his growing weakness.
When I hear Christians talk about warfare, the discussion is nearly always framed within the presupposition that as we pursue God, the enemy steps up his game to stop us. This is where we need to be wise and discerning, asking God to give us clarity. Many times, increased temptation to sin, or increased struggles with old feelings of worthlessness, anxiety or fear are not a sign that the enemy is advancing stronger than ever in our lives, but rather that love is winning. The darkness within us is being driven to the surface where it's exposed and ready to be called out, cancelled, and cleared away.
Don't assume this is the enemy gaining ground. When God reveals weak spots vulnerable to attack, it's an invitation to get healed, whole, and free.
As the Holy Spirit lovingly reveals those sharp, sensitive places, take those hurts to him. There very well may be places in your heart that are not yet completely healed. The enemy attempts to keep us stuck in those places, avoiding them, afraid to ever bring them into the light. These are the places in our lives where we know the truth, but just can't break out of old cycles or habits, where we want to forgive and let go, but just can't somehow. Satan would love for God's children to stay trapped there; saved and knowing the truth, but not completely free from entanglements.
If you resolve to walk with God, the enemy would like you to walk with a limp. But this is not your inheritance. It is for freedom that Christ has set you free (Gal. 5:1.)
Awareness of the work of the enemy in your heart is not the power of darkness, but the power of light! This is an invitation to rest safely in the arms of your Father, to bring him every wound and splinter, and to let love set them right.