Then the LORD replied to me, “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses [forces of evil]? If you stumble and fall on open ground [when things are easy], what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan [obstacles on the way to answered prayers and victories]? Jeremiah 12:5 (NLT)
I have a few people in my life that are hard to deal with. For obvious reasons, I can’t go into details, but if they are reading this, they know who they are ☺. Sometimes I get caught up in the drama of living in their proximity in day-to-day life, or sometimes I get sucked into their games, manipulations, or personal attacks (sometimes I AM them). Sometimes those people are intentionally mean, but most of the time they are just living in selfish-survival-of-the-fittest-without-Jesus mode, and I happen to be one step down on their food chain. And when I take their bait, I can tell they thrive on it. Maybe even enjoy it.
I can get all caught up in the drama of this kind of thing. I can get easily distracted and stressed out, dealing with difficult people. I can get overly emotional, fearful, frustrated, angry, and sometimes even obsessive. It is so stupid, allowing them to get under my skin like this, but I do.
But God says, if I can’t even have the fortitude, calmness, (maturity?) and mental strength in dealing with people, how am I ever going to stand against the spiritual forces of evil that come against me? And from what He describes in His Word, it appears that obstacles are going to become more intense as I near the promises and victories in my life (as in, “thickets NEAR Jordan”). As if it isn’t bad enough that I get my shorts in a wad over people, I do find myself reacting to the spiritual attacks much the same way.
Using these kinds of fleshly methods to try to be victorious over people and evil is not unlike pulling a water gun on a grizzly bear.
A man I look up to, Dwight Bain, spoke these words at a conference recently: “If we try to fight spiritual battles with fleshly weapons, we will lose. We are going to have to fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons.” That is so true. Fleshly weapons (including fretting over, whining and complaining about, pitching fits over, obsessing about) used against spiritual attacks won’t accomplish squat! I’m going to have to take up spiritual weapons of warfare!
What are the spiritual weapons? Ephesians 6 tells us:
- Helmet of Salvation: surrounding our every thought with our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our new nature in Him.
- Belt of Truth: Cinching ourselves up tightly in Truth (reading it, learning it, and living in it).
- Breastplate of Righteousness: Doing righteous acts to ward off evil and selfishness.
- Shield of Faith: rejecting our unstable feelings and choosing to believe God and His Word.
- Sword of the Spirit: Reading, believing, and applying God’s Word to strike down lies and liars (Satan & his cronies).
- Shoes of the Gospel of Peace: everywhere we go, telling others by our words AND actions that we are a child of the Living God.
With this great reminder, I’m going to put down the water gun and decide that I’m not a sitting duck next in line on the food chain—neither for people nor for Satan (or grizzlies). I’ll resolve once again to take up my spiritual weapons and fight in the strength of Christ, my ultimate Warrior.