Sep 27, 2022
Although we can’t opt-out of the spiritual battles we face each day, we can opt-into God’s amazing plan of victory that includes laughter and singing. Sound strange?... Keep listening.
Everyday battles turn into everyday conversations and often into song! In talking with many of my friends, I realize that I’m not the only one who experiences battles daily. Some days, the battles are more relentless than others. Then we go to bed and wake up the next day… And it starts all over. Can you relate?
THE BATTLE IS NOT VOLUNTARY
Whether you like it or not, you’re in a battle. There are 2 Kingdoms at war, God’s kingdom and the Kingdom of darkness. There’s no true middle ground like we would like to think and there’s no opt-out. If you don’t recognize the battle, maybe it’s because of spiritual blindness. It’s easy to recognize the battle when I’m tempted or when things are really hard. However, when things have been going really good for me, I often forget there’s a battle. I get lulled to sleep, grow slack and even indifferent to the battle raging in the heavenly realm. My focus tends to settle on me and the illusion of “my kingdom” rather than God’s kingdom.
Today’s featured song is called Enough. The first verse starts out with…
The enemy says THAT choice is no big deal
Just do what you want, do what you feel
And sometimes, it’s laughable the blatant tactics the enemy uses. Sometimes so predictable, so obvious, I just have to laugh. You can think of any particular situation that you want, something that you perhaps struggle with and you want to have a victory over it. So you pray and ask God for strength and then the enemy puts that thing right in your path, sometimes almost immediately, whatever you’re seeking to overcome. There’s times when I’ve actually had the laugh out loud and hopefully, right in the enemies face at the things that he’s trying to put in front of me that go against what God wants for me. I’m telling you, this happens all the time. And it’s just laughable when I recognize it. It’s not laughable when I fall for it. Well, the enemy is laughing for sure.
NO BIG DEAL
How many times have you heard that little voice saying things like, “other Christians are doing it”, “no one will get hurt” or “God understands” and you feel justified doing what you want, what you feel? How laughable that the same enemy who tells us “THAT choice is no big deal” is the same one that immediately condemns us for giving in, calling us losers and unworthy. What a weird cycle to keep falling into.
DOES IT REALLY MATTER
The verse continues:
He says there’s nothing we can do or say that can change this world anyway and he says what a waste of time it is to pray.
If we don’t fall for the “no big deal” trick, our enemy might try to disarm us by raising doubts about prayer. I love the quote by Samuel Chadwick that says, “Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”
Sometimes we feel like praying and feel like prayer works; other times it’s an act of faith and obedience! But trust me, it works!
The song continues…
Then God reminds me of who I am! I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
This is powerful!
GOD REMINDS US OF WHO WE ARE
We come to our senses when God reminds us of who we are. We need to wake up and say, “enough”!
Many years ago, Cindy and I went with our kids, my sister and her two kids to Disney World. In the hotel lobby, we saw a sign about “free tickets to Epicot Center”. Considering our tight budget, that sounded awesome! All we had to do was attend a breakfast and short presentation about fabulous Florida vacations. Sounded like a no-brainer. Cindy, my sister and I made a pac we would NOT buy anything but just listen long enough to get the free tickets. So we left the 4 kids alone in the hotel room with breakfast, cartoons and strict orders to stay put.
We arrived at the ballroom and quick ate our breakfast to the blare of festive party music. As we listened to the sales pitch, we started nodding our heads, talking about what a nice gift it would be for our parents. We were slowly loosing touch with our previous resolution. The sales person rambled down a long list of benefits saving the most important one for last. Guess what it was? According to the sales person, “THE SAFETY OF YOUR CHILDREN” was the #1 reason for choosing to stay in the resort rather than any ol’ hotel room in Florida. Flares went off in our heads! We came to our senses and the three of us got out of there as quickly as possible and raced upstairs to the hotel room and the kids. What a life lesson! In essence we remembered who we were as parents and said ENOUGH! It’s important to stay close to the Lord, have His word in recent memory so if you start getting lulled into a wrong direction, He can remind you of who you are and you can snap out of it!
There’s a lot at stake if we don’t say ENOUGH. We might do the enemy’s work for him and beat ourselves up. Or we waste time and strength struggling to believe that God still loves us or that things will ever change. When the enemy makes us feel like failures, I believe it effectively takes us out of any battle. It makes us feel weak and hopeless and we certainly aren’t very effective in our daily struggles. And then we become less effective warriors for the kingdom. We don’t have to allow this. The Lord promises to give us strength and hope and He tells us how to live it out.
ARMOR OF GOD
The power to say ENOUGH and live out God’s promises comes from essential spiritual habits. One of those is putting on the whole armor of God as described in Ephesians 6. Let me read this to you from the English standard version starting at verse 10 of Ephesians 6.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breast plate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish All the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
My pastor told me about a friend of his who symbolically puts on the whole armor of God first thing in the morning starting when he puts his feet down on the floor to get out of bed. He puts on each of the pieces of armor symbolically and then goes about his day. Now that may sound a little silly but it’s actually a very practical application of what this means. It’s making yourself ready, being aware mentally and spiritually for the battles of the day. And you know, there’s gonna be battles virtually every day. I encourage you to dig deeper in the Armor of God. Check out a wonderful resource by Dr Tony Evans at GGSSPodcast.com Episode 16.
OTHER ESSENTIAL HABITS
I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past that spending time in the word of God and praying first thing in the morning are key components of your spiritual success for the day. Giving God your first fruits of the day, the first 15 minutes or so before you do anything else, is honoring to Him and prepares you spiritually. Right along these lines, this is when the enemy usually starts his attack, when we first open up our eyes and our mind gets going. Sometimes it’s “what’s the use…” thinking, or, “I’m soo tired” or “I’m just too busy” lines that the enemy feeds us and we buy into it. That is when we need to draw the line in the sand and start the day with the Lord. It is a deliberate, intentional act to stand against the enemy and to stand with the Lord. It’s a deliberate intentional act to put on the whole armor of God and to use the word of God in the situations that come throughout our day. And the only way we can use the Word of God against the enemy is to study the Word of God and to pray and be connected to the Lord of the universe.
DIFFERENT DAY, SAME OLD STUFF
God is faithful to remind me of who I am. But am I listening? Sometimes. Other times I’m preoccupied. Preoccupied with grief or stress or something fun. Sometimes I’m preoccupied with a cycle of failure, repeating the same behaviors but surprised when I don’t get different results. Sometimes, like the song says, “It’s a different day, but the same old stuff.” Does any of this sound familiar?
I heard these people talking one day about Celebrate Recovery. It was on social media I believe. People were talking about the great experience that they had with Celebrate Recovery. But one guy weighed in and he said this, “Celebrate Recovery works for some people but I attended for a whole year and yet I still drink.” He was effectively blaming Celebrate Recovery for his continued drinking problem rather than his own actions.
Knowing the truth is important! Being with people heading in the direction you want to go is powerful! Nothing can take the place, though, of a close personal relationship with the Lord, your life source, and consistently taking actions of trust and obedience, day after day after day. It takes practice till new habits are formed and cycles of failure break down; habits like spending time with the Lord, praising, reading the Word, praying and listening throughout our day, doing life with believers who will care enough to call you out, speak into your life and expect you to do the same for them. With new habits comes a new awareness and new results. I’m not saying perfect but new results.
The bridge of the song says this:
I’ll lift my head up, I’ll put my armor on
I’ll join the battle and we’ll be singing your song
Of your greatness and your victory
Of your redemption for the world to see
LIFT YOUR HEAD UP
This simple act can make such a difference. No matter how you feel at a particular moment, refuse to walk around with your head down acting as if defeat is inevitable. It’s an act of faith, agreeing with how God sees us.
PUT YOUR ARMOR ON
Put on the whole armor of God daily, not just when we feel weak. We must do our part in preparing for the battle each day!
JOIN THE BATTLE
Like I mentioned earlier, the battle is not something we can opt out of. It is a fact of life. It’s not something we do alone as a lone ranger either. Sometimes pride sneaks in and we think we can tackle the world, just us and God. Nope! We are meant to love, serve, do battle, and stand strong alongside fellow believers. They remind us of who we are and who God is when we need it, and we do the same for them.
Join others in the battle and for heaven sake, sing! You might say, “Mark, you’ve never heard me sing before.”
That may be true but you’re not singing for me, you’re singing for the Lord of the universe. And He loves your voice and He loves your choice to sing glory and praise to Him.
Throughout the Bible are numerous passages about singing. When you and I sing to the Lord, we are being obedient, we are making war, strengthening our spirits, opening ourselves up to His joy, digging our roots deeper in the Word and building up others in a group setting. You can see scripture references for each of these at GGSSPodcast.com Episode 16.
The song, Enough, has an amazing groove that’s driving and I guess I would look at it as sort of, decisive, if that’s possible in music. I think you’ll like the feel of this song and I think the words will ring true as you listen.
You can listen to Enough on most streaming platforms or at GGSSPodcast.com Episode 16. That’s where you’ll also find a great resource to better understand the armor of God from Dr. Tony Evans.
Thanks for listening. Peace