We all know how quickly the ordinary can take that sharp left turn into chaos…how your days can slide into hard with the inevitability of so many lined-up dominoes, and before you know it the Enemy of your soul is whispering in your ear that well-worn soundtrack of how you’ll never be enough for this life. And I know all about his lies, but somehow he still manages to catch me unawares at times.
But I am learning that when you have been blindsided by the Darkness, all you really need is enough presence of mind to run to the Father and lean into His love. Because we who stand in His presence are being given the power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…” (Ephesians 3:18) And the Father promises that whenever we make the choice to turn away from the Accuser and toward Him, He will be our shield and protection.
It’s downright strange how long it takes for us to learn that spiritual life-skill, considering that it is one of the first lessons we learn in the tangible world. We teach our children that when danger threatens, you turn and run the other way, into the safety of someone bigger who can protect you. I wonder why that is so much more difficult in the spiritual world. Is it that we cannot clearly distinguish the danger? Or that we are hesitant to trust the source of our safety? Or maybe it’s just the mistaken notion that grown-ups don’t need help any more. And I know how suddenly the attack can come and how you can get paralyzed by the spiral of circumstances: grown-ups or not, any one of us can get swallowed up in the darkness if we aren’t careful. Jesus’ friend Peter warned the early believers from his own experience: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He knew firsthand how easy it is to fall victim to the Enemy’s lies, and how much he needed a Savior to rescue him.
God clearly intends for us to be able to stand against these attacks, because the Church-planter Paul took a lot of time detailing for the early believers the armor of defense and the weapons that have been given to us; it is the body armor of a foot soldier on the front lines. Take them up, he says, and stand firm. I look at this inventory and see how they are all connected to Christ and what He has accomplished for us: the truth of His Word, righteousness, peace with God, faith, salvation– and my job is only to receive them. And for the first time I am seeing that this isn’t an action-filled battle strategy of things I have to do and remember. Paul’s injunction is to “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10) I tend to focus on the being strong, but Paul is focusing on our relationship with Christ.
Our job is to stay close to Jesus, and remember we belong to Him, because He has already won the victory in this battle. I can’t think of a better foundation of truth to build a life on, and who doesn’t want to stand strong and sure, in Heaven’s protective gear? James talks like everyone’s big brother, and he too puts it in relationship terms: “… humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” (James 4:7-8)
And maybe it is James who gives us the key, when he puts humility in first place. When I am listening to all the wrong voices and in danger of losing my way in the dark, it takes humility to admit that I need a truth-check. When I feel like a failure or less than I want to be, it takes humility to accept that I am indeed not all-sufficient. Humility runs for the shelter of the Almighty in the howling storm instead of trying to figure it out myself. Childlike humility knows that I need someone to rescue me. And the same humility that says Yes to God says No to the Enemy’s lies, and in the split-second of my reaching out to Him, Christ already has my back. When the darkness presses in all around, I can press into Him and know that after the battle I will still be standing in the Light.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:37-39
We will not be movedOvercome, Elevation Worship
When the earth gives way,
For the risen One has overcome;
And for every fear
There’s an empty grave,
For the risen One has overcome.
He shall reign forever–
Strongholds now surrender,
For the Lord our God has overcome.
Who can be against us?
Jesus our Defender–
He is Lord and He has overcome.