“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.” Ephesians 6:12
Yesterday was CRAZY! All day long nothing but strife, frustration, and arguments –from all of us –including me, especially me! I was especially caught off guard by this, because I had just come off of an amazing weekend where the Lord brought new restoration and deliverance in a couple areas of my life. I wanted so badly to stay on that mountaintop of peace and power for at least a week and a half, but instead the battle raged. I suppose I should not have been surprised by this, but as I reflect now, I think I believed somewhere deep down that I had arrived. I had been delivered and so now everything was going to go perfect!
The next morning I was asking the Lord to help me know how to remain in the freedom and truth that he gave me over the weekend.
First, I was reminded that power and peace did not leave me. Jesus is power and Jesus is Peace. Jesus has not left me, and He never will. Second, I forgot all about Ephesians 6:12, which says, “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.”
I forgot this in regards to my husband and my children. I made my battle against my husband and my children. I had so easily remembered that I personally was in this spiritual battle. I never fail to recall the hard times and struggles in my own life, but I failed to remember that my husband and children were also in the throws of this same kind of battle. I was reacting to them like they were just horrible because of the way they were acting, I allowed a spirit of contempt and hopelessness to flood my thoughts in regards to them. Lord I repent! No More!
The more I contemplate this, the more that compassion and love floods my heart for them. It brings me to tears, to think about it now. At this point I had to decide “Am I going to believe the Word of God in Ephesians 6 and allow it to move me to action?” Our fight is not against the people in our lives, it is not against the circumstances that we face. We face a spiritual battle and it is only won at the victorious cross of Christ. Yesterday my husband and children had been the target of an assault. They too were dealing with the wiles of the enemy of their souls and I sat in contempt towards them, rather than recognizing it and fighting in the name of Jesus for them, I drove the nail further in.
I am constantly humbled by how many times the Lord reaffirms himself to me. Time after time I revert to doubt or a misconception about Him, and the Faithful One, time after time comes and brings light and truth to my mind and heart. He clears up the lie and brings more freedom. All we have to do is the hardest thing ever, enter his rest. This experience was no different.
I think that is why trails and suffering are so hard, but so essential. I will never be formed into the image of my Savior if everything is going great. In times of abundance, I remember his goodness, but if I am honest, I never grow like I do when all I want to do is run away, hide, and escape. Trials and hardships are spiritual in nature. They must be fought in spiritual ways. There is no other option. During the darkest times of my life the following words have been life to me. When all is barren and everything seems hopeless, this is the truth. Read this slowly and take it all in.
“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous
Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords
And strengthen your pegs.
3 “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.
And your descendants will possess nations
And will resettle the desolate cities.
4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5 “For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
6 “For the Lord has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.
7 “For a brief moment I forsook you,
But with great compassion I will gather you.
8 “In an outburst of anger
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,”
Says the Lord your Redeemer.
9 “For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
Says the Lord who has compassion on you.
11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.
12 “Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,
And your gates of crystal,
And your entire wall of precious stones.
13 “All your sons will be taught of the Lord;
And the well-being of your sons will be great.
14 “In righteousness you will be established;
You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear;
And from terror, for it will not come near you.
15 “If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me.
Whoever assails you will fall because of you.
16 “Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals
And brings out a weapon for its work;
And I have created the destroyer to ruin.
17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.
Thank you Jesus you are a God who loves, cares, and restores. You are a God who forgives and a God of power. I ask your forgiveness for participating with the lie that things are hopeless. You are gentle. You are the way, the truth, and the life and I pray that you show me what to do. For now I go to you in prayer and in your Word.
Sister, daughter, and friend be open to the One. It will not be easy to lay it all down, but it will always be worth it. To Christ be the glory forever.
Expanding wisdom, extending grace,
Jennifer Dow, wife to Ernie and homeschooling mom to three great children, is passionate about teaching and writing about the things that make us more human and the tensions we experience along the way. Jennifer maintains her blog, ‘Expanding Wisdom: A Christian Classical Homeschooling Blog’, teaches writing and literature throughout the homeschool community and online with CiRCE Academy, and serves other homeschool moms at a weekly Bible study group.