We sang a song at church recently with the line, “Every victory is Yours.” It was a proclamation of praise to God for reigning victorious over the enemy, which usually brings imagery to my mind of how the Lord conquered death through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. Verses like 1 Corinthians 15:57 remind us of his victory over sin and death.
This particular day, however, I was distracted by some frustrations that I was having with the kids. A couple of them had gotten into trouble in Sunday School for arguing with each other, which had turned into a shoving match, and then one of them made a mess and didn’t bother to clean it up. I was embarrassed, quite frankly. I just wanted one weekend where we could go to church and I didn’t have to worry about how anyone behaved. I feel like every time one of the kids causes trouble, it’s a reflection on me as a parent. Sometimes I just want to melt into the background and not have negative attention drawn to me.
As I sang that song, this prayer-thought occurred to me: “If every victory is Yours, then why do I feel like every setback is my personal failure?”
Proverbs 21:31 says that we can prepare ourselves for war, but the verse quickly points to the Lord as the source of battlefield victories. In this situation, I think it means that I should certainly train and discipline my children to be respectful and behave well (prepare them for battle against worldly influences), but when they make poor choices, I shouldn’t automatically take it personally. (That’s a lot easier said than done; is it not?!?)
I referenced a verse above from 1 Corinthians 15; the following verse (58) goes on to say, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (NLT). We face battles every day, and we won’t win all of them. The enemy wants to tear you down, humiliate you and incapacitate you, but don’t quit the fight. Stand firm in the knowledge that we serve a mighty, awesome God, and he is the ultimate victor!
Spiritual warfare is real, & our enemy seeks to knock us down every chance he gets. Read Psalm 27 for encouragement when you feel attacked.
Scandal tales take us by surprise because we don’t know people’s private lives. In the same way, we don’t know others’ spiritual struggles.
Ephesians 6:10-18 describes the armor of God, and his word is a sword – our offense when we wage spiritual battle. Read it. Know it. Use it.
Have you ever thought about your spiritual life as a battleground? Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we wage war against a spiritual enemy.
There is a stretch of about 4-5 blocks along my morning commute where the radio turns to static. I don’t know what causes the interference, but invariably, I’ll be driving along and suddenly lose my music in the same spot every day. I usually just turn off the radio, but one morning I left it on because I knew that the static wouldn’t last very long. It was interesting how I could still make out the song behind the garbled airwaves. It was difficult to understand and rather annoying, but I could still hear it.
Isn’t that how our spiritual lives are, sometimes? We go through patches that feel like static – nothing seems to be getting through during our prayer time, and the background noise feels overwhelming. And yet, if we concentrate, we can still listen amid the chaos.
One of my kids is dealing with a lot of static right now; in fact, he’s been handed more chaos in his young life than many adults I know could cope with. Sometimes the static makes it difficult to make good choices, and he feels overwhelmed. We sat together one evening and talked about prayer as a way to help him make better decisions, a way to cut through the distractions and temptations. We talked about James 4:7, which says that when you take a stand against Satan, he runs away like a coward. We also talked about Philippians 2:9-10 that tells us the name of Jesus is so powerful that every creature in heaven and earth must bow to his authority.
Guess what, friends? Satan is a big loser, The End. I’ve read the last chapter, and I know that Christ conquers! But what do sore losers do? They try to drag others down with them, don’t they? Satan wants us to feel overwhelmed by life’s static. He wants us to get distracted from our faith-walk and lose sight of God in the midst of the chaos.
Yet, through our faith in Christ, we have the mightiest weapon of all in our arsenal: the name of Jesus. When you don’t know what else to say, where else to turn, where to even begin, call out to Jesus. Say his name aloud, in bold defiance of the enemy that seeks to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). Cry out to him in the quietness of your heart (Psalm 34:17-18). Then listen for his voice through the static.