My ladies Bible study group started the Invisible Warfare DVD teaching series by Chip Ingram the first week of January. When I announced to the leadership of the women’s ministry my desire to do a series on spiritual warfare I got more than my fare share of raised eyebrows and dissent. But I felt God was pressing me to do it. I felt like it was important and a subject that needed to be addressed with my group. There was a lot of push back though and I was pretty sure there would be backlash once it was done. My goal as a facilitator is not to cause conflict or strife or disagreement, but to challenge ladies to step out of their spiritual comfort zones, to pick up their Bibles on a daily basis, to get deep into God’s word, and to commune with him every day – not at a superficial level, but at a real, transparent, and authentic level. I believe we all must either grow in maturity, or stagnate and die. And I’m speaking to myself here more than anyone.
Over the past three weeks I’ve heard a number of ladies comment on how timely this study has been for them. And I can’t agree more since it has been for me too. You see, I’m not perfect. I’m not always right – I feel like I am most of the time, but then I remember that we live in reality and I’m usually wrong, or at least misguided in my approach.
Before I started this study I was one of the ‘end of the spectrum’ kind of people when it came to spiritual warfare – the conservative end, that is. I was more likely to discount spiritual warfare as ‘circumstances of life’, ‘consequences of actions’, ‘reaping what I’d previously sown’, ‘my own fault’, and a variety of other excuses that laid the blame everywhere but where it needed to go. I mean, after all, we live in the 21st century and the Devil’s been keeping up with technology as much as we have been. There’s no way he’s going to act on a singular level any more – he’s going to go for the mass attack approach using the Internet or other media outlet; he’s not going to worry about little ol’ me in po-dunk Georgia. But I’m beginning to understand that I’m wrong I’ve been deceived.
In today’s study we started talking about putting on the belt of truth as our first and most important line of defense against the Devil’s schemes and attacks. Belt of truth? What’s that?
Truth is being absolutely forthright with God, ourselves, and others. If we can’t face the ugly reality of who we are, where we are, at our lowest points (and yes, even Christians still have low points), then we’ll never be able to put on the belt of truth or withstand the attacks of the Devil. Oh, we might fare okay for a while, but he’ll eventually wear us down and then completely overrun us.
As I thought about that, I came to this conclusion: Who am I trying to kid anyway? Do I really think that God doesn’t already know everything about me – my every thought, my every motivation, my every action and inaction, my every whim and fancy? He does – that’s why he’s God. I can’t hide from him, even when I try to hide from myself or from others. He sees. He sees it all.
In the DVD lesson, Chip commented that as Christians we need to pray for God’s conviction on our life. And not that we need to fear conviction – it’s not a bad thing, although as defensive people it seems like a bad thing. God’s conviction isn’t meant to shame us, although it often does. His conviction is meant to draw us back to him – to show us our areas of weakness – the areas the Devil is targeting and using against us – things like bitterness, anger, judgmentalness, pride, addiction, secrets and lies, gossip, bad attitudes, unforgiveness, etc.
See, the Devil’s biggest victory in our life is when we buy into the lies that are associated with these feelings. Lies that the world tells us are okay to believe. Lies like:
* I need to take care of myself first, cause no one else will…
* This is righteous anger – what they did to me was absolutely unforgivable…
* I know what I need to do in order to fix this situation – I don’t need God’s help with it I can do it myself…
* After all these years of being hurt over and over, it’s time to just walk away…
Chip encouraged us to pray a prayer that David prayed.
“Search me oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Ps. 139:24-25
As you pray this (as I’m doing), I ask that you listen to what God speaks into your heart. Ask Him to reveal: 1.) Where you’ve been deceived by Satan’s lies. 2.) What parts of your life are displeasing to Him? And then 3.) Allow Him to take control of these areas and heal you. Put on your belt of truth and begin to really live.