“Still others, like the seed sown among the thorns, hear the word but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:18 & 19
I’ve learned to love my early mornings. Up at “zero dark thirty,” my first thought is often, “Good morning, Lord.” From there I focus on thanking Him for my blessings….the purpose He has for me in the new day, my family, my friends, His provision, my health and the ability to break a sweat each day. Any negative or self-condemning thoughts from the previous day are purposefully met and diffused with the truth of ‘His grace and mercy are new every morning.’ (see Lamentations 3:22 & 23).
This morning, as I made my way outside to the car for the drive to the gym, I paused to take in the sunrise as it began to paint the sky….
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
I continued my dialogue with God as I got into the car and began to think of those that have asked me to pray for them recently. I turned the key in the ignition and…. “KSCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”….a blaring radio filled with nothing but static. I jumped in my seat as the conversation with God was abruptly interrupted….
What a practical example of our lives in this world. How often do the consuming worries, stresses, fears and emotional ups and downs, the “static” of our lives, cut us off from that intimate fellowship with God?
I believe the first thing we need to do is to be determined to be purposeful in our pursuit of His truth in our lives. Similar to the example above of being purposeful in countering the lies/self condemnation/guilt, etc., with the truth of His Word, we need to be wary of and be ready to take action against the spiritual schemes being planned against us. Some of these schemes are obvious but many are very, very subtle. How easy is it for us to passively accept the negative self talk (or is it really being whispered into your consciousness)? We don’t fight it. Like standing at the edge of the sea, we allow ourselves to be pounded by the surf of these lies, seemingly forgetting that many times we can just step back from the water’s edge to regain our focus and perspective.
The habit of practicing positive self talk can help, but only to a limited degree. This is because the concept is completely self focused and our strength alone, especially over the long haul, is no match for that of our adversary. What we need to do is apply the Word of God (scripture)….
“To stand firm against the enemy, take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 (b)
You might be wondering, “Where do I begin? How can I apply this in a practical sense?” There are a number of ways.
- Become a student of the Word. Pick a book of the Bible and commit to reading one chapter per day. Prior to each session ask that God would teach and equip you through this process. The book of John is a great place to start. In addition some of my personal “go to” books include Romans, James, 1 and 2 Peter, Revelation, Proverbs and the Psalms. As you come across verses that speak to you highlight them or write them down on a 3×5 card and try and memorize them. You can then pull these from your arsenal and stand on these truths to use against the enemy. Also don’t just read the Word but look for ways and opportunities to apply it to your daily life. This should be a refining process that plays itself out in real world ways.
- Familiarize yourself with some Christian worship songs/choruses. When the attacks come, stop what you’re doing and sing to God in praise, even if it’s only in your head (although I would encourage you to belt it out, if you’re able to). Sometimes I find that when I feel the darkest, simply joining the constant chorus of praise in Heaven by singing to the King breaks up the shadows very quickly.
- Download a “verse of the day” app on your phone (Living Word is my personal favorite) and use it throughout the day for encouragement and insights. It’s amazing how many times God will bring you the perfect reminder for your situation through things like this.
These are some simple and practical tools but much like a workout program, you need to use the tools daily in order to make the changes you want to see. The enemy doesn’t want you armed to fight back. What other motivation do you need? So arm yourselves, stand your ground, draw close to Him and take back the territory the enemy has stolen from you. In His strength and honor….Amen!
“The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.” St. Augustine