I strongly believe there is an unseen battle raging all around us. I know this sounds wacko and bordering on conspiracy theory, just listen up anyway. No matter your religious beliefs, everyone knows of good and evil. We see it played out in our lives and constantly on the big screen like
Woody and Buzz v. Emperor Zurg.
Did you know there is a battle happening right now as you read my post? Oh yes, there are forces waging an all out war to win your soul.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
No joke. This stuff is real. I've felt the battle surround me with a breath-stealing weight that carries with it an umbrella of overwhelming heaviness. Nothing visible to run from or to confront head on, just darkness in a fluorescent-lit room.
This is not an anxiety attack, a depression swing, or PMS. This is, without a doubt, spiritual war. I have felt this darkness surround me a handful of times in my life and I usually notice the following:
1. I am about to hear or share about The Gospel (or someone near me is about to hear it).
2. I am doubting my faith in God or something about His character.
3. I am separated from others. (Like the baby gazelle who can't run fast enough to escape the lion!)
Let me share a very recent example from tonight. I am a youth group leader and we meet every Wednesday night. We start off the evening with some social-chatty time, then begin worship. After worship there is a brief teaching/sharing time and then we move out into smaller groups. I have made it a habit, during song time, to pray over the nights festivities. I pray for the students, the band, the leaders, everyone in that place, I lift 'em up. Tonight, I couldn't even bring myself to sing. I stood there in the back of the room checking my pulse because seriously, I like to sing loud and give glory to the Most High. That's when I felt it. It rolled over me like a soft, feather comforter, slow, heavy, and almost choking. As the worship music played on and I watched these awesome high schoolers lifting their hands and
dancing like David, I felt as if I had disappeared and all I could feel was the weight of the room. I immediately began to pray and I prayed hard. I texted a friend to ask her help in prayer because this felt big and a tad scary. I was trembling in knowing that God's Army was fighting against the Enemy and that Hell would lose. As the worship set came to an end and a friend shared his testimony, I could still feel the darkness over me, I continued my prayers. I could feel with each step as we walked to our corners of the church, the heavy weight was leaving me. I couldn't even talk about what had just happened to those around me. There was a peace and an understanding of what just took place, I knew my words couldn't explain it. I may never know what that particular battle was about but, I am thankful God allowed me to feel it. To know it. There are endless amounts of those wars happening daily and we just have no idea. Roadblocks to keep us from walking into truth.
So here's the deal. If you haven't ordered up a straight jacket for me yet, thank you. I need you to understand that I absolutely believe in a God who loves each of us with a supernatural, pure, unfailing love. He has an unimaginable army fighting for our souls with every breath we take and He. Is. Relentless. Once you get to know Him, you will see that He does impossible things all the time.
Make a case against those who struggle with me, Eternal One.
Battle against those who battle against me. Be my shield and protection;
stand with me and rescue me!
Draw the spear and javelin to meet my pursuers.
Reassure my soul and say, “I will deliver you.” (Psalm 35:1-3)
How do we protect ourselves in this battle to win our hearts? Armor.
Soldiers don't go into war without preparation, training, and gear, right? I'm talking helmet, sword, breastplate, boots, and shield (find out more details about this armor in Ephesians 6:10-18). We HAVE to cover ourselves in prayer everyday, we must live by our faith, there is no doubt we must read God's Word to know our true Commander-In-Chief.
I know what you've just read sounds a little crazy (or a lot crazy) but, I ask that you consider what I say is true. If there is a war happening for your heart, don't you want to know who's fighting for you? And more importantly, what happens when there is a victory?