Every last nerve feels raw and exposed right now, like the enemy is tap-tap-tapping on it with his pointy little fingernail saying, Does this bother you? Does it? How about now?
Have you ever noticed that trials seem to come in multiples? And you think to yourself, I could have handle one or two things but now THIS, too? How God? Why?
The easiest way the devil gets to me is by hurting my spouse or children, or through hurting people around me that I love. He quickly makes it personal that way and drives it deep into my heart and mind.
Why is it always a battlefield for the mind?
The lights are blindingly hot and the crowd is a cacophony of sounds. Outside of the spotlights, all around the ring, is darkness. The mat is hard on the bottom of our boots and we find ourselves standing before an intimidating opponent.
Sometimes we just take one too many blows in the boxing ring before the final bell. We may already be bleeding when the uppercut comes, and it lands us on the mat. It ain’t pretty. The opponent is gloating as he arrogantly raises his own hands in victory, wanting to go in for the kill, but the referee pushes him back to his corner.
It’s often a complete surprise when believers find themselves in direct contact with him in the battle ring like this.
Surprised that we’ve been knocked down, we scramble to get up. The boxer’s dance begins in earnest.
Our eyes lock onto the enemy. We can hear the jeers of his fans.
We may be “all in” in that moment but our focus is “all off.”
At the point of impact, photographers capture snapshots in fireworks of flashes–blood and spit and snot fly through the air as the enemy’s glove connects. Splatter marks on the white mat…bloodlust in the crowd…satisfaction on his face at the sight of it all.
There’s no cutman to bandage us up because there are no rounds. There’s no time between blows to smear on the Vaseline or to even catch a breath. We can’t retreat to our corner or take a timeout; the enemy eggs us on.
Another direct hit, this time below the belt. Eyes roll to the back of our head, arms and legs curl to fetal, we go down hard…stars…tweety-birds…
We get up and shake our heads, clearing away cobwebs. Pupils dilated, eyes coming back into focus, we think, What are we here to do, again?
We are to stand.
But the gloves feel heavy and hot on our hands; there’s the sharp taste of iron– blood in our mouth. It’s becoming hard to swallow, and the sweat stings our swollen eyes and the cuts in our skin. And, as we go round after round, we find ourselves weakening. Through the din of the roar of the crowd, we hear the voice of our coach shouting, “Come to me!”
We look over into His eyes. He’s been ready to come into the ring and fight for us this whole time. What made us think we could fight alone?
Friend, the fights we have with the enemy in our own strength always leave us beaten and bruised, but we are never meant to fight in our own strength! We are told in Scripture to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, to take our stand against the devil’s schemes. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12, NIV84)
He dresses us in His truth, His righteousness, His readiness from His good news of peace. We take up our faith, reminded of our salvation and His victory over death. In the Spirit– with God’s Word upon our lips, in our hearts and on our minds–we fight again, this time praying to and praising our God. We cast our eyes upward to heaven for Jesus to hear our requests and petitions. He makes intercession, and we can hear the songs of angels, of the saints around us, cheering us onward to the final bell.
We are still “all in” but now our focus is “right on.”
Trials are meant to test our faith. Where will we look for help?
Once trained through them, they give us perseverance–the ability to keep going and remain steadfast, even if things are hard. God wants us to be mature and complete, not lacking anything where faith is concerned. (James 1:2-4)
In one giant Holy Spirit breath, He blows…whoooosh…the enemy is toppled in one shot. He’s not getting back up this match.
DING DING DING!
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…” (Ephesians 6:13-14a, NIV84)
The day of evil will come.
Put on the armor.
And stand your ground.
Do everything you can.
Stand…and STAND FIRM.
We all have these days and weeks, don’t we? This triggers me to go into “Self-Care Mode” once the battle is finished. What do you do take care of yourself on days like these? List them below!