Photo by Jim Arnot on Unsplash
By Nancy Krissel, from a talk given in 2017
A War is On
I would like to say a word about fighting. There is a war, and we are in it. We have an enemy, but we need to know who that enemy is.
Ephesians 6:10-12 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NASB)
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd.
Those verses state that we must realize that our fight is not with our spouse, our kids, our coworkers, or our circumstances. It is with the destroyer of our souls.
A key point is not that we would not have difficulties or that God would rescue us out of them, but that he rescues us in them.
Since moving to Texas and returning home in 2008, my life has been full of really difficult things. Life-changing things. I will not go into them here, but for years there has been one thing after another. A lot of which happened simultaneously. I felt I could not get my feet back under me before the next thing was in full swing. Finally, all the “hard” stuff began to resolve itself and I was trying to live with the “new normal”, but I was just so weary. Doing more “just surviving” and a lot less living.
One day I said to my sister-in-law, Kyle, “This last year has been really hard.” She just looked at me a minute and said, “You know, you have been saying that for a long time.” It took me back a minute. It was like God was saying, “Hello, get up, fight back.”And so I began. I started praying Ephesians 6:10-18 every morning. I prayed that for many weeks. Sometimes during the day at work when I was alone in the office, I would stand right up at my desk and say it out loud. Because some days you know, it was just necessary.
Ephesians 6:13-14a says, 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore…
Some days, I gotta be honest, standing firm is not a thing I was doing. I would come to that place in the verse, and think to myself, wow, stand firm, that sounds so victorious, so strong and I am not feeling particularly victorious or strong.
Then I ran across these same verses in the Living Bible:
Ephesians 6:10-1410Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. 12For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world 13So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.
“I’m Still Standing, After All These…”
I laughed right out loud when I read that. Some days, to finish just standing up is a victory. The verses go on:
14But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval. 15Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God. 16In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. 17And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God. 18Pray all the time. Ask God for anything in line with the Holy Spirit’s wishes. Plead with him, reminding him of your needs, and keep praying earnestly for all Christians everywhere.
As the weeks went on, I began making this prayer mine. It sounds something like this:
PRAYER: “I confess that my strength comes from your mighty power within me Lord. I Put on all of your armor, God, so that I can stand safe in you and against all the strategies and tricks of Satan. I know I am not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies – the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.
I take and use every piece of your armor, Father, to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, so that when it is all over, I will still be standing up.
I take the strong belt of truth, your truth about me, my situation, truth in all areas and every aspect of my life and the lives of those in my family and those I am in contact with. I stand against the lies that the enemy would tell me and those I tell myself. I chose to live in your truth God, your word and your power. I will not sit in the tent of the enemy one more minute.”
(Because isn’t that what we do, we sit right there in the enemy’s tent and listen to and believe all his lies?)
“I put on and wear the breastplate of your approval. I wear the clothes of righteousness that I have in you, Jesus Christ. I take off all the filthy rags that the enemy would put on me and those I put on myself and I take the robes of righteousness that were bought and paid for by you, Jesus, for me and put them on and stand up straight in the wholeness and cleanness and dignity and acceptance that is mine in you, Jesus. I take the breastplate of your approval of me, Father God.
I take the shoes of the gospel of Peace so that at all times I will preach the good news of peace with God. Help me see the opportunities you place before me and give me the boldness to speak for you. I ask for the gospel of peace to reign in my life. Give me the peace that passes all understanding.
I am in a battle every day for my mind and my emotions. My faith is attacked by the fiery arrows aimed at me by Satan. I take the shield of faith that is mine. I chose faith in the one who gave himself for me, in the one that loves me with unfailing love, in the God of the universe the one who holds everything together and who has a plan for my future and hope. Faith in the victory that is mine in him. Faith that not only the war is the Lord’s but the battle as well. I wear the shield in confidence and also I hide in it as in the wings of my Savior who cover and surround me, and who surrounds the evil that surrounds me.
I take the helmet of salvation. I am eternally saved and secure in Christ. I am saved from eternal damnation and I am saved and freed from the bondage of sin in my present life. I am saved from fear, I take that salvation, that is mine. For the Lord has not given me a spirit of fear.
I take the sword of the Spirit, your Word father, thank you for it, I will use it to defeat the enemy in my life. Thank you for the words of truth and victory that you have given me to use in my defense.
I offer myself to you as a prayer, I chose to be in prayer during my day so that I would hear from you and you would know my every desire, fear, and joy, that you would be my life. Teach me to ask in the Holy Spirit so that I will be confident in my prayers. Teach me to fight in you. Amen.”
Let me quickly interrupt our chat. If you would like to talk to someone about questions or struggles this article surfaced for you, go to the Two Rivers Counseling Center’s website and look around. When you are ready, click the “Get Counseling” link. Or go directly to the “Get Counseling” request form HERE. If you are not local to upsate New York and cannot come to my office, we can always make a virtual appointment through using social media to connect face-to-face. Now back to our discussion.
The Fight is Real
One day while I was driving to work I could feel myself getting more and more anxious. Things at work had been very strained. I had been very stressed. And then, the enemy. You would not believe the things that went off in my head. My co-workers are angry with me –“What did I do?” My boss even seemed weird, “I’m getting fired, that’s it.”
Now, I want you to know that I really believed this. I was still faithfully praying my armor. I was pleading for truth, but my emotions regarding these lies were so strong. I asked for truth, but I really believed the lies were the truth.
So I’m driving to work and it is just such a struggle inside my heart and mind. So I pulled into a gas station and got out my prayer and started praying.
I got to the part where I say “I take the shoes of the gospel of peace…” and I just stopped. I always just sort of pray that in the middle of the “real” praying because it’s there, you cannot skip it, but in my mind, it’s like – well yes that is an evangelistic verse and we, of course, need to be ready and willing to share the gospel when we get a chance. But you do not in your everyday life go around sharing the Romans road with people. I am not about to say that this verse is not about literally sharing the Gospel. However, at that moment, God said to me,
“You are the only Peace that these people might ever encounter.”
Bring Peace With You
The peace of God is what I am bringing into that place. Ultimately for their salvation and peace with God. But also, actual, literal, Peace. Something the world knows less and less of. I was not bringing peace with me. I was bringing turmoil and anxiety and fear with me. I needed the shoes of peace in my life so that the people I am in contact with will be pointed to the peace giver. It was shattering. I could not really contain myself. I was fighting for my peace so that the lost and dying world would know his peace. Who will ask me about how to find God’s peace if it is clear that I do not have any myself?
We are in a war. A war against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. The war we are in is for our souls and souls of the people around us.
We need to fight. Fight for (instead of against) ourselves, for our husbands, for our kids, for our marriages, for our coworkers, and in our circumstances so that we are girded (equipped, prepared) in the truth, so we are clothed in righteousness, so we can carry peace, so we are shielded in faith, and covered in salvation.
And just so you know – we do not fight alone
As Paul asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Can you think of anything (I mean anything) that is more comforting and assuring and delighting than that the Lord in his majesty is for you?
What does your battlefield look like? What is the battle that you are struggling to fight, or that you have given up fighting all together? I encourage you to take Ephesians 6:10–14 and write your own prayer. It will not look like mine. You will have different words. Words that mean something to you and describe the battle you are in. Mine did not come all at once. It was an ongoing conversation with God over many days and weeks. Sit and meditate and listen to God speak to you and write your own battle cry.
Again, if you would like to talk to someone about questions or struggles this article surfaced for you, go to the Two Rivers Counseling Center’s website and look around, and then click the “Get Counseling” link. Or go directly to the “Get Counseling” request form HERE. If you are not local to upstate New York and cannot come to my office, we can always make a virtual appointment by using social media to connect face-to-face.