May 31, 2016
When Faith is a Battle
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7, ESV)
Friend to Friend
When I was a little girl, one of the highlights of every summer was going to our family reunion at White Oak Park. I loved those reunions because there was always a seven-layer salad, yummy home- made favorites, and lots of desserts. All of us kids played fun games that filled us with laughter and drenched us in sweat. Then after the kid games were done, some adults would join us for a final competition: the tug-of-war.
When it came to tug-of-war, I had a strategy: wherever my dad went, I went. Because in my little-girl mind, he was superhuman strong. (I was ever the rational one.) Dad always positioned himself at the far end of the rope as our anchor, and his strength usually helped our team gain traction and, ultimately, win the game. (My opinion.)
Every day you and I live out a faith adventure that takes us to a different type of tug-of-war: a battle we fight against the invisible. Let’s break down the competitors:
TEAM DEFEAT: On the Enemy’s side of the battle rope, the opponents are lined up and ready to take us down. They want to shove us into a dark, stinky pit. These opponents aren’t visible, but they are very real. We know them: fear, doubt, guilt, insecurity, pride, comparison, inadequacy, indifference, and lies. Power zappers, all of them!
TEAM VICTORY: On the faith side of the battle rope, the Holy Spirit is right beside us. He is the anchor that helps us gain traction. He leads with the help that enables us to stand firm and be ready to fight. He teaches us how to be confident, compassionate, forgiving, humble, wise, and content. He reminds us of who we are in Christ and defends us against the thugs on the other side of the rope.
Each morning when I wake up, a tug-of-war begins again.
Every. Single. Day.
The Enemy we face is real—the Bible tells us so—and our lives give us all the evidence we need to believe it.
Here’s the way I look at it: The Word is truth, and Jesus is the Word (John 1:14). Jesus is the truth and can speak only truth (14:6). If Jesus said that His followers would be better off without Him (16:7) and would do even greater things because of the One He would send in place of Him (14:12)—then who are we to pretend that the Holy Spirit is inconsequential?
Since Jesus made it clear that my life will be better with the Spirit of truth, I want all of the Holy Spirit. I want every vibrant connection possible between God and my life. I want every ounce of guidance, teaching, comfort, help, and reminder He will give me. Bring it on! This happens when—and only when—I live yielded to the Holy Spirit. (When I grab the rope on the faith side of the battle.)
I wish I could write from a place of perfection, but I can’t. The battle between walking in the flesh and walking by faith is as fresh as my morning mug of dark roast. And the pathetic thing is I know what I need to do even when I don’t choose it. I know that I need the Spirit of God to fill and fuel my day with fresh power, which comes as He leads me in the perspective, peace, conviction, and truth of Jesus.
I need the Spirit of God because the battles are fierce. Are you whispering “Amen”? We simply cannot go into a gunfight with plastic knives in our hands. If I want to live with all the power that the Lord has for me, then I have to invite the Holy Spirit to lead. Every. Single. Day.
We Jesus lovers need to be fully engaged and alert. You don’t have to wear camo, but you need a battle plan. It begins with acknowledging that there is, in fact, a spiritual battle raging all around you, and it requires you decide which team you’re fighting for and against.
Dear Lord, Please crush my insecurities and doubts so that I might be an effective witness of Your power. Cover me in Your Spirit today and equip me to fend off attacks from the Enemy.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read John 17: 9-19. (This is a section of the prayer that Jesus prayed for believers just before He went to the cross.) What about this prayer encourages you? What would it look like for you to pick up the rope of Team Victory today?
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