Man!!!!! Just when you think it’s safe to take a breath, the enemy rears and attacks from the completely opposite direction. I’m tired! I’m tired of the onslaught. I’m tired of the constant battle! I’m tired of feeling the need to constantly be on guard. It’s completely exhausting.
In November last year, our family began a new season in ministry. One in which things are a little different for us all. More responsibility for both my hubby and myself; more responsibility and opportunities for the kids; different emphasis on what we are doing and a great big vision to come under. It’s exciting! It’s amazing! It’s Fun! It’s challenging! We are truly loving this new season – but with has come some hurdles, as is normal with change.
We moved house, moved churches, moved schools and nearly everything is different. God allowed much of this to happen slowly and gave us, particularly the kids, time to adjust to one change before the next one came. the transition has been blessed in so many ways, yet not everything has been smooth.
As we started in our new church in November it became evident pretty quickly that the enemy (satan) did not like what we were doing or what we were a part of. One thing I know about him is that he will take any opportunity he can get to tear down what God is building – it’s not personal (even though most of the time it feels that way). Satan doesn’t care about the “who’s”, “where’s” or “what’s”:
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy…. John 10:10 (a)
He looks for any glimpse of weakness, fear, tiredness or low defenses and pounces.
So – since November we have felt the onslaught of his ever-increasing desperation to tear down what God is building. I know we are not the only ones. All around us people are feeling his wrath and frustration. Sickness, issues with kids, self-doubt, metal health issues, relationship breakdowns, fear – all this and more.
For us, we knew we would face the attacks of the enemy – we have been prepared for it, but what has taken us by surprise is where the enemy has targeted – our family unit. We are by no means the perfect family, but we do have a unique family culture compared to so many around us. We truly believe God has called and anointed our family to be deliberately different in a world and a culture that has so much dysfunction and breakdown in families. We have felt, for some time, amazed at how God has built us and shaped us and are fully aware it is all to point people to Jesus. So it kind of took us by surprise when one day I realised I was speaking to my husband in a way I never had before. And it wasn’t very lovely. This happened a few times – to the point where my 12-year-old son got incredibly concerned about the state of our marriage. That was enough to jolt us both awake and realise what was happening. I am heart-broken that my son felt insecure because of the way his parents were speaking to one another.
We have managed to gain our footing back there and I am so very thankful for that, but yesterday God again tweaked my attention to the fact that now the enemy was attempting to mess with my kids. I don’t know what you would do with that, but for me, every primal motherly instinct kicked in – NO ONE MESSES WITH MY KIDS – least of all the king of destruction. All 3 of my girls have suddenly been out of sorts lately, like there has been a shift somewhere, and it took all of them coming home yesterday, each with their own crisis, for me to register what was going on.
I know I am not the only one who is facing these kinds of attacks. Our family is not alone. One of the things God has to prepare us for when we chose to follow Him into ministry was this very thing. We are on the front line – leading the charge for the kingdom; alongside an army of well-trained, amazing warrior leaders – ALL OF US under attack. It is imperative that we know how to handle it. So, what can we do in these situations?
- TAKE BACK YOUR POSITION – We have been given the most amazing weapons against the enemy. Prayer and worship are exactly that. They help us to take back our position on the front line with confidence and strength. They are a tool that we can harness to take fix our eyes on Jesus; a direct line to one who has already WON the victory. They help us to take our focus off storm and shift it onto the One who calms the winds and the sea. They remind us of who God is and what he has already done through His death and resurrection. They remind us of His faithfulness, His goodness, His mercy and His strength. Songs like this are amazing reminders of What our God can do and has done!
2. RALLY THE TROOPS – We all have people in our world that we know have our back. We need to learn to trust them and ask for help – whether it be practical help or simply prayer support. We are designed to live in relationship and community. So many of us withdraw in times of hardship and crisis when really we need to press into community.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – Hebrews 3:13
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:23-25
We all know what it’s like to watch a friend suffer, moved to compassion for them, only for them to refuse help because they don’t want to burden anyone – let’s not be that person! Learn to reach out and ask for support. you may be surprised at just how much help a chat with a friend can be.
3. ARM YOURSELF – Ephesians 6:10-20 says this
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
We need to Arm ourselves for the battle! TRUTH is a powerful tool. When the enemy comes with his lies start to speak God’s truth over yourself. “I am loved”, I am a child of God”, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. Statements like this, and so many more throughout his word, can help defend us against the lies of the enemy. RIGHTEOUSNESS – we cannot control other people’s actions, words or responses, ut we can control our own. We need to be people of integrity and righteousness who make the choice to stand up for what is right; to make good decisions about how we respond to situations; who speak in such a way that our words cannot be misconstrued or used for harm, but only to bring life and love. READINESS – don’t fall asleep at your post. Be ready for the attack. We may not know from where it will come, but e ready for it to come. Prepared with the word of God in your hearts and minds and hearts and eyes lifted to the face of Jesus. FAITH – God is able! Do you believe it? Remember how powerful faith can be. Hold fast to your faith and use it as a shield to defend against the attacks of the enemy. SALVATION – If you know jesus, if you have chosen to follow him… you salvation is fixed. NO ONE can take that away from you. Stand fast in your salvation through Jesus Christ and use it to guard your mind, much like a helmet protects your head. KNOW HIS WORD – Read his word. learn to love his word. Do you have any idea how many truths are written in the bible to help you stand firm in your faith or to help you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus? Do you know how many prayers are written that can articulate things you cannot? Prayers written out of the darkest of places for times such as this! Hide His word in your heart!
ABOVE ALL THINGS – Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12:1-3