Have you ever experienced a feeling of heaviness in your chest accompanied by a convincing feeling that God doesn’t love you or has abandoned you? Even though intellectually you know it isn’t true and you know that God promises He will never leave you or forsake you, it still feels very much like truth. That’s just one example of my own spiritual battle I often face. There are many more examples. Fear is another one I struggle with. Satan can have me so paralyzed with fear that I become convinced I’m worthless.
One thing I’ve learned from my years as a Christian is that a spiritual battle can sneak up on me at any time. Sometimes it can be predictable, like when I can feel God is doing something big in my life. However, sometimes it can come out of nowhere. Friends, spiritual warfare is very real. Maybe you have experienced it first hand or maybe you haven’t given it much thought. The truth is, eventually everyone faces a spiritual battle of some kind.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Perhaps your story is different. Maybe you’ve never been in a spiritual battle. Whatever your journey of faith may be, I encourage you to stay alert, because you have an enemy and he’s looking for where you are most vulnerable. When life is going well it can be easy to get consumed with what our eyes can see and we can easily lose our discernment for what is unseen.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
We are not living in peace time. There is a war and we are in it whether we like it or not. And if you are a disciple of Christ, then you are a soldier.
I come from a military family. I grew up hearing war stories and watching war movies. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII and my precious Daddy served and died in the Iraq War in 2004.
Last year my husband and I watched “Flags of our Fathers”, a movie that shows the intense battle of Iwo Jima in WWII. I don’t usually use movies to make a spiritual point, but I am convinced the Holy Spirit revealed something to me during this movie. At the time, I was going through an intense spiritual battle of my own. I had been glued to the Psalms and had grown very close to the Lord. Every day had become a struggle and my heart was incredibly heavy. As I watched the battle scenes in this movie unfold, I felt the Holy Spirit impressing profound spiritual lessons upon my heart.
I remember one scene in particular where our American soldiers pull up to the beach unaware of the hidden schemes of their enemy. The Japanese Army controlled the island and had created a dense network of hidden bunkers and underground tunnels. Our troops didn’t know anything about the hidden schemes of their enemy, so they walked onto this beach thinking they were prepared.
From the hidden bunkers the Japanese ravaged our vulnerable ground troops from all sides. Our soldiers were brutally killed or injured. It was horrific to watch. Although our military power outnumbered the Japanese, our troops still walked into a bloody fight and the casualties were devastating. The United States eventually prevailed and captured the island but not without a lot of bloodshed.
Maybe I’m just a deep thinker or maybe the Holy Spirit was trying to show me something; that our spiritual battles are as gruesome as physical battles where wounds are inevitable, limbs are lost, and sometimes prisoners are taken. We limp off of spiritual battlefields all the time. With broken hearts and wounded minds we do our best to heal but the scars that remain either leave us bitter or make us stronger soldiers for Christ.
Friends, we cannot see this war through physical eyes.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
As you go about your day, I encourage you to see things through spiritual eyes. I pray for you to walk with confidence, fully aware of your calling. I pray you would be aware of the schemes of your enemy. Of course not everything is an attack from the devil, but some things are. I pray that God will give you eyes to see the battle that wages around you, discernment to recognize spiritual warfare, and wisdom to respond with godliness. May His grace overwhelm you with the hope that you are never alone in the battles you face.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9