Many Christians walk around perpetually guilty and condemned. This should not be the case. So what do you do about this? I am going to walk you through exactly what to do based on the truth found in God’s Word. Read on and get free of guilt for good.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV
If we know this verse is true why do so many of us struggle with what seems like perpetual guilt? If we know we are no longer condemned, how do we overcome? Our feelings should not control us, and walking around feeling guilty and accused is not a fun or joyful thing to do, and it is not what God wants for us. I believe there are three different reasons a we feel guilt. There could be more I’m not thinking of, but I will share these three. If you think of something else while reading please share with me in the comments.
Reasons we feel guilt:
#1 – Accusation and condemnation from the devil: The devil wants you to walk around accused, condemned, and guilty. He wants you to feel unworthy and incapable of pleasing God and experiencing His love. Ultimately, he wants to destroy you. In my opinion, living with guilt is a terrible thing to do. So what does God have to say about the devil and his accusations?
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17 ESV
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. Revelation 12:10
It is obvious that the devil and his demons accuse and condemn followers of Jesus.
#2 – Conviction/Guilt over sin: When we do something wrong we should feel guilty about it. Why? Guilt is a natural God given emotion that helps us recognize when we’ve sinned so we can correct our behavior and not walk around hurting people. Individuals who do not feel guilt and remorse over their wrongs hurt a lot of people. When you have the Holy Spirit in you he will also guide you and lovingly and let you know when your behavior isn’t right. Side note: if you don’t spend time in the Bible renewing your mind with truth it’s a lot harder to recognize the behaviors that, to the world seem fine, but to God are not. Some sins aren’t as easy to see, yet have the same negative impact as more obvious ones.
#3 – Guilt and shame from pain or trauma: Sometimes we walk around feeling guilt and shame because of unhealed pain or trauma. For example, children who are blamed by their parents for everything that goes wrong might grow up believing everything is their fault. This needs to be identified and healed. If you were abused you might feel false guilt and shame. This also needs to be identified and healed. These are just a few examples, but you get the point.
So how do we determine what we are dealing with and experience freedom? This can be a simple process if your heart is right. I will share what God tells us to do and how this has helped me overcome guilt and experience true freedom. Let’s read the following very important verse in the life of a Christian, a verse that, in my opinion, isn’t taken seriously enough. This is a vital key to freedom.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV
If we could fully understand the truth of this passage of scripture and live in it I believe so much would change in our lives. First of all, our high priest and savior Jesus sympathizes with our weakness. He cares about our pain and struggles. Deeply. He loves us beyond what we could ever imagine. It is not his will for us to walk around guilty and condemned. Second of all, he wants us to confidently go to his throne of grace expecting to receive mercy, grace, and help with what we are going through. A few verses back we are told “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).
Listen, God wants you to sit with him and let him know what is in your heart. He will hear you and he will respond. This is the truth. His Word is real and powerful, and when we do what it says supernatural things happen.
Hear me when I say this, as a child of God, a servant of Jesus Christ, you do not have to walk around guilty and condemned. I am going to explain what to do based on these truths as best I can, but then it is your job to do it. I hope and pray you will.
Go to God’s throne of grace, get alone somewhere, sit quietly before God. Let Him know you are coming confidently to His throne of grace because He told you He wants to provide help, and you believe Him. Spend some time praising Him and thanking him for His love and mercy, and then ask Him this question in your own words:
Lord, I feel overwhelmed with guilt right now. Is this conviction from sin in my life? Or is it condemnation and accusation from the enemy? Lord, please reveal any lies or accusations from the devil so I can get rid of them. Please show me if there is any past pain or trauma contributing to these feelings. Reveal if there is anything I did that displeased you and tell me what I need to do to make it right. This seems simple, but it can be hard to do. It can be scary not knowing what God will reveal. Have courage and God will help you.
-If your guilt is from sin, The Holy Spirit will absolutely make that known to you and He will reveal what you need to repent of and whatever you might need to do to make it right. Confess, repent, receive his forgiveness, and make proper steps to change whatever you might need to change. This will relieve any feelings of guilt you might have. God’s Word is clear on what happens when we confess and repent.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Proverbs 103:10-14
I have many personal examples I can share on this. Listen, God is so incredibly loving and forgiving. One day I was feeling very distant from God. I hadn’t really wanted to pray or connect with Him for about a week and I was feeling pretty guilty about it. I did not like how I was feeling at all so I went and prayed and asked Him what was going on. He IMMEDIATELY let me know exactly what the problem was and why I was feeling distant and guilty. I had been watching a show that, to me wasn’t too bad, but was not pleasing to the Holy Spirit. This was putting distance between us. He let me know right in that moment that if I kept watching that show I wouldn’t lose my salvation, of course, but I would be giving up some closeness with him temporarily. I have to tell you honestly in that moment I broke down in tears. This was devastating to me. The thought of choosing to watch a show over being closely connected to the Lord broke my heart. I immediately repented and told Him I was not going to continue watching it. I want to make something clear, I am not talking about legalism here. I am talking about our sin causing us to desire being with God less. This is a fact about sin and we have to face it. Our choices truly do determine our closeness and connection with the Holy Spirit.
The beautiful thing, if we choose to ask Him if there is something we are doing that isn’t pleasing to Him that is impacting our connection, He will tell us. Then we get to choose what to do with that. Some people want to focus on God’s grace and downplay sinful behavior, while others are legalistic and walk around both condemning themselves and others. Neither of these are helpful. Walk closely with the Spirit, recognize when you don’t feel as close, ask Him why, let Him lovingly show you, and make it right. Simple as that. When he showed me why I didn’t feel as close the last thing I felt was condemned or accused. He was gentle about it and gave me a choice. Keep this verse in mind here and make your goal to walk in the Spirit. This is where you find freedom from guilt.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
-If your guilt is false and is coming from the accusations of your very real enemy, God will make this known to you. If He does, the path to victory is clearly laid out for you. Read these verses with me.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ESV
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22 ESV
I reject every lie condemning me in Jesus name. (Reject the lies God revealed to you out loud in Jesus name.) I thank you Jesus that because of what you did for me on the cross I am no longer condemned, I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I am covered by your blood. I stand in your righteousness. Thank you God that you will sustain me and you will not allow me to be moved. You are faithful! I cast this burden of guilt and condemnation at your feet Lord and I ask you to take it from me for good and silence every enemy accusing me. In the mighty name of Jesus! I bind, rebuke and cast off every unclean spirit of accusation and condemnation that is coming against me now in Jesus name.
Let me share a recent example of this. Something significant happened (I can’t share details due to confidentiality) and I woke up the next day feeling completely overcome with guilt. I could not quite identify if I had done something wrong. Side note: when the enemy attacks with condemnation and accusation it is hard to put your finger on what you did wrong, it is more an overwhelming and overall feeling of guilt and shame. I made a choice I would not walk around guilty all day so I went to the throne of grace. I asked God to show me if I did something wrong so that I could make it right. I’ll be honest, the feelings of guilt were heavy and hard to bear. God quickly revealed this was a demonic attack and he gave me clear instruction on what I needed to do next. God still speaks and guides his children in the same way he always has. I did exactly what he said. He actually instructed me to call the person involved. I cannot share details, but WOW! What this person said to me came directly from The Lord and every single feeling of guilt was resolved instantaneously. I took a breath of relief and praised God for his love and faithfulness to me. This is the kind of thing that happens when we confidently go to the throne of grace, believing that God’s Word is true, and we choose to obey.
-Sometimes feelings of shame, guilt, and condemnation are a result of past trauma or pain. If you ask, God will reveal it. He might heal your trauma right then and there, or He might want you to get some additional help to heal your brain. For me, I have seen him do both. Needing clinical help for past trauma is no different than needing surgery for a broken leg, and there is no shame in it. God could heal a broken leg miraculously with prayer, or he might lead a person to a surgeon. Either scenario, it is God doing the healing. He chooses which way he will heal. I encourage you to pray and ask God what he wants to do with your trauma and pain. I know he doesn’t want you to live in it unhealed. If He wants you to go to a counselor for help ask him to show you which one. He absolutely will! It is amazing to me how God divinely brings my clients to me and I have seen countless miraculous healings through the techniques I use. If this is how God is leading you, look into accelerated resolution therapy and find a spirit filled therapist trained in it who can help you.
Let’s recap on steps to take to overcome guilt and condemnation:
We get to choose to walk around guilty and condemned, or forgiven and free. God already paid the price, so don’t hold onto these things when He doesn’t want you to.
Ask the Lord, is this from my sin? Or am I being condemned by the enemy? Sit with that question and wait on the Lord for divine revelation. Do not believe every word you hear. Know that if it is your enemy condemning you he will try to speak to you and confuse you. When God reveals sin we need to repent of it is clear, to the point, and there are clear action steps to take. Confess, repent, receive God’s forgiveness, and choose to make the change you need to make. Then thank Him for revealing your sin and forgiving you. Praise Him for his faithfulness and love for you. This will leave you feeling freedom, gratitude, and relief. If what you are dealing with is demonic condemnation you will not feel clarity, you will feel confusion and shame. You will most likely feel like there is nothing you can do to fix it and that these feelings won’t change. Pray: Lord if this is not from you, please take this guilt and shame away and give me peace. I cast this burden of guilt and condemnation at your feet and ask you to sustain me and bring freedom from the lies and emotions I am struggling with right now. Don’t stop praying until the condemnation is gone. If He instructs on something you need to do, obey.
Shift your mind to the truth and thank God for freedom from guilt:
I thank you Father that I am forgiven and free from guilt and shame. I confidently come before your throne of grace like your Word tells me I can and I ask you to please provide mercy and help and take away every feeling of false guilt and condemnation in Jesus name. Please silence the voice of my accusers. I rebuke every enemy speaking lies to me and accusing me in Jesus name. I have overcome you by the blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony and command you to be silent and leave me now in Jesus name. I am covered by the blood of Jesus and stand before God forgiven and cleansed of all sin.
God hears every word you pray. He still speaks and reveals hidden things to his children. His heart is to love you with a perfect and everlasting love. By his love he sustains you and enables you to repent of sin, and to overcome false guilt and condemnation from the devil and his demons. Put these steps into action today and start walking in freedom from guilt.
As followers of Jesus Christ we are on Satan’s radar. I believe he is always plotting against us and looking for an opportunity to attack. What we need to realize is that through faith in Jesus Christ we have authority and power to fight back and win. Spiritual warfare is very real and is not something to be ignored. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are a direct threat to the devil and he has plans to utterly destroy you. In this post I will introduce this topic as simply as I can with the hope that it leads those reading to learn to understand, recognize, and resist these attacks of the devil and gain victory. Read the following passage out loud and let this truth sink in for a minute.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 5:8-11
This was written to Christians, confirming the truth that we have an enemy who wants to devour us. He is looking for ways to do so, and as he puts those plans into action we need to actively resist him, firm in our faith. Demonic spiritual attacks are forms of suffering for Christ, and they do not last forever. How long they last and how it goes is partly up to how well you resist. I say partly because there are times when these attacks are allowed for our own testing and strengthening, and last as long as they need to.
Don’t believe the lie that demonic attacks of the devil only come against you if you are engaging in dark practices or living in unrepentant sin. Of course, those things can invite evil into your life, creating strongholds, giving the enemy power over you and making it harder to resist him, but the devil seeks to devour every single one of us. He wants us to be fruitless and in despair, and will use his evil forces to make it happen, regardless of whether you invite him in. This passage shows us that its not just about what we do, but also about who we are as children of God and warriors for the kingdom of heaven.
We are told to be watchful and alert because these attacks are coming and we must be able to recognize them and ready to fight back. Merriam Webster defines resist as to withstand the force or effect of and to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat. The spiritual battle is very real and takes hard work. It’s not just something we say that doesn’t actually happen.
The devil will attack you with lies and feelings. His goal is to produce doubt, to lead you to sin, and to ultimately get you to reject God. He wants to devour and destroy your life. He attacks through temptation, using lies and your own weaknesses against you. He will tell you that you’re too weak to resist the urges within you. He will play off of your emotions and fears. If you are worried, he will speak lies to feed your fear and intensify the anxiety within you. He will tell you the worst is going to happen, and when it does it will be too much for you to handle.
Let me be very clear here. When a believer is being attacked spiritually there are evil spirits speaking into their minds. For me, and most people I talk to who are able to discern spiritual attacks, this voice is heard and recognized as a voice in the mind that is not your own. I do not recommend attempting to converse with evil spirits, but to command them to leave, out loud, with authority in Jesus Christ. Many times I have seen evil spirits flee, some quickly, and some after a long fight. this might sound scary, but it is the reality of the spiritual battle for a christian and cannot be avoided. I have personally seen individuals who had been unknowingly tormented by evil spirits in the form of anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts, get free after submitting to God and fighting the enemy. When a believer truly surrenders and submits to God with all their heart the evil oppressing him often makes itself known. Is this happening to you? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ this has happened to you and will happen again. Remember the truth of God’s word that says ”submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).
The devil will also use your past pain and sin against you if he can. He will try to convince you that you are too broken and too condemned to be loved by God and to hold any value. He will seek to depress and discourage you in order to keep you from living out your faith. He will use his demons to plant all kinds of imaginations in your mind in order to distract and devour you. If the devil can’t get to you directly he will try to get to you through others. This includes your partner, your friends, your co workers, your children, your enemies. He will use any and all means necessary to shoot flaming arrows at you in order to leave you beat down, in despair, and ineffective for the kingdom.
Look at what we are told in scripture regarding the war we are facing as Christians.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
Take every thought captive. We have the divine power to destroy the lies that the devil speaks to our minds. The devil and his evil forces literally speak into your mind with voices that are not your own. Have you ever stopped to consider whether the lies and distorted thoughts in your mind are even your own or not? Once you take time to think about this you will begin to recognize the voice of your enemy. This is an incredible truth and one Christians MUST know and believe. Once you recognize this and learn how to fight back everything changes.
In order to resist the devil and win we have to be prepared for battle. We have to be wearing the armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18 says,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”
Belt of truth: Do you know and believe the truth of who God is? Of who you are as God’s child? Do you know the truth of scripture? Knowing truth holds all of our armor together. What are you believing about God right now? About yourself? Check those beliefs with the truth of God’s Word, identify the lies, and reject them. Without truth we can’t resist the devil. As Christians we also have to make studying and knowing scripture a number one priority. God said we don’t live on bread alone, but also on the Words of God. we will starve spiritually without God’s Word and we will be incapable of defending ourselves. So study the Bible as if your life depends on it.
Knowing the truth requires that you truly value what is true over what you have been taught. If you don’t challenge every single belief you hold about God and Christianity, and ensure it lines up with scripture, you will be highly vulnerable to the Devil. Sadly, many people have a hard time letting go of lies in favor of the truth. If you want to win the spiritual battles you are sure to face you cannot let this be you.
Breastplate of righteousness: “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:8-11 ESV
We are children of light, not darkness. We are called to live a life of righteousness that is pleasing to the Lord. If we are choosing to continue in darkness we are not wearing the breastplate of righteousness and we are vulnerable to the devil. This does not mean we don’t sin. This means we actively pursue living in the light, we seek to change patterns of sin and behavior that are displeasing to God, and we repent when we do sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us the truth that ‘For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The Devil, and even other Christians, wants you to believe that you can’t have freedom from sin and live in righteousness. The truth is you can only do this by the blood and power of Jesus Christ. When we make our goal to live each day according to the spirit and not our flesh we have victory, not only over our sin, but also over the devil. The Christian life is a life of grace and forgiveness, but it also a life of daily sacrifice and dying to yourself. If you aren’t interested in making this your desire and goal I’m afraid the Devil is already winning his battle against you. Make this change now. Choose to stand in the righteousness of Christ and stop allowing the devil to have victory over you. You CAN make the decision to wear the breastplate of righteousness and live victoriously over sin and the Devil.
The shoes of the gospel of peace: We are called to live at peace as best as we can with others (Romans 12:18) and to seek and pursue peace daily. One way we do this is by bringing the gospel of peace and salvation to the world. 1 Peter 3:11-12 says “let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Notice how this verse tells us to turn away from evil and to seek peace. Turning and seeking requires movement with our feet. And bringing the gospel to the world requires the same. True peace comes only through the blood and redemption of Jesus Christ. Peace is the opposite of evil. The opposite of bitterness. The opposite of internal chaos. When we are at peace we are ready for the fight. How do you know you are putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace? Are you seeking to do good and to proclaim the gospel, even to those who you disagree with? Are you seeking to forgive and have compassion for your enemies? Are you allowing worry and fear to control you, or are you being controlled by the supernatural peace of God?
Every piece of armor we miss gives Satan an opening to attack us. We don’t need to make his job any easier. He will use your bitterness, evil intentions, and fear to destroy you if you let him. When you are living outside of God’s peace it’s hard to even want to bring the gospel to others. Remember Jonah? He ran from God because he did not want to see the people of Nineveh repent and receive redemption. He hated them with a deep bitter hatred. Repent and surrender those things to God and ask him for his peace. This will close the door that was open to your enemy and enable you to be ready to stand firm.
Shield of Faith: This piece of armor literally enables us to extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one and we are told to take it up in every circumstance. What does this mean for us? If our faith is not secure we will have nothing to block the attack of the devil. Every lie of Satan seeks to produce doubt within us. Doubts about who God is, what He said, His promises, who we are as God’s children, our ability to overcome, and what our futures hold. If our faith is weak we don’t stand a chance. This is why knowing truth is critical to wining spiritual battles. How can you have faith in something you don’t really know? Something you’ve not experienced as truth? If you don’t learn the truth, believe the truth, and live based on that truth, you will not experience the truth of God in your life. Your faith will not grow and develop. It will be built on sand and will crumble from the first flaming dart.
How do we grow our faith and ensure that we are carrying the shield in every circumstance? Make drawing near to God and seeking His face your daily goal. Hebrews 11:6 tells us “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” If you believe in God you will draw near to Him and he will make himself known to you. The more you do this the more you will know and trust Him. Faith in God is not blind. It is not something you hope is true. It is something you KNOW is true because your life with God is real and powerful. This is how we walk in faith that moves mountains and extinguishes the weapons of the devil.
You can’t do this with blind hope and weak faith. Why do you think Jesus performed miracles and signs and wonders? He did this to confirm the truth of who he was. He will do the same right now in your life if you choose by faith to take up your cross daily and follow him. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” I am telling you right now that when I draw near to God and seek His face it is miraculous. When you have experienced the truth of God your faith cannot be shaken. Remember also that trials strengthen our faith. Why? It’s not simply because you’ve gone through something difficult. It’s Relying on God’s power and strength during those trials that does it. God’s faithfulness is seen and experienced in powerful ways and your faith is proven. When you through faith follow him daily and rely on him in trials you will experience God in real and powerful ways and your faith will increase.
Helmet of salvation: Without salvation in Christ Jesus we have no ability at all to defend against Satan. This piece of armor is critical. This piece of armor lets our enemy know that when he attacks us he is attacking a child of the living God, it lets him know his attacks are pointless. He knows that, but if we forget that truth we become weakened and won’t fight back from our place as children of God. When we forget our salvation we forget our authority. When we forget our authority we will not use it and we will be temporarily defeated by our enemy. The only reason I have any authority over darkness at all and any ability to fight is because of my salvation in Christ Jesus. When I stand firm on this I fight hard without fear because I know without a doubt that I will win. Don’t forget your source of strength when the heat is on, stand firm in it and fight hard.
Sword of the spirit: the Word of God: Knowing the truth is where we begin the fight. Using the truth is where the fight ends. When we speak the truth of God’s holy word to the devil he HAS to obey. His evil demons cannot stand against the word of God when spoken to them with the truth and authority of a servant of the living God. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert he used scripture taken out of context to do so. Jesus knew the truth and could not be deceived. Do you?
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:5-7
Clearly the devil knows scripture and he also knows how to use it against us. If we do not know the truth and how to use it we will not have a weapon to use against our enemy. Satan spoke a lie to Jesus using scripture, Jesus was able to discern that what was spoken was a lie, and then he spoke the truth of scripture back to the devil, striking with a supernatural blow of his sword. Look at what happened next,
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:8-11
Jesus directly told Satan to leave, using the words of God, and he left.
Another incredible truth brought to life in this passage is that angels literally minister to and serve the children of God. You might not see them, but they are there. Hebrews 1:14 says regarding angels, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Just as angels went to Jesus and ministered to him they will do the same for you. What’s interesting is that Satan tried to pervert this truth, as he still does today. Many people either worship angels or pretend that they are not active in the lives of Christians. Neither is Biblical, and both give our enemy an advantage.
This is what God says about those who make the Lord God their dwelling place, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” While your enemy is coming against you, God is sending hosts of heavenly angels to serve you and minister to you. There are several accounts in scripture in which God speaks to his children through his angels. I believe this is something that God leads, and not something we should seek out. God sends, we receive. I do not pray to angels, as I don’t see this demonstrated in scripture, but I certainly pray and ask God to send his angels to fight for me, to support me in battle, and to guard me and my family. Many times doing so has brought strength and victory.
Constant prayer: This passage concludes by reminding us to pray at all times in the spirit, not only for ourselves, but for all of the saints. Our prayers are powerful out effective and enable us to not only battle the devil when he comes after us, but to also intercede on behalf of others in the spiritual realm. I have experienced this many times. When you are under attack, tell someone else you trust and ask that person to pray for you as well. Prayer is real and powerful.
A few months ago my daughter was acting up and hit her sister. I sent her to her room to take a break and think about what had happened. I went about my business when I suddenly felt in my spirit that the devil was attacking her that very moment with lies. I stopped what I was doing and prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to guard her mind and speak truth to her, I commanded the devil to leave her alone, and I prayed that she would be convicted and go to God herself for help (something she had never really done on her own before). A few minutes later she came back outside and told me that she talked to God and told him she was sorry for everything she did and said. I asked her what she said and she told she was yelling out that her whole family hated her. She then told me that she told God that she was sorry for what she said and that she wanted to live for him. What a moment of incredible victory! I was blown away! I regularly experience things like this in my life with God.
The topic of spiritual warfare is one that needs to be handled with great care and truth. One that, if twisted or manipulated in any way, can do harm. I choose to approach this based on the simple truths taught to me in scripture. I have fought spiritually using these simple truths for all my life and I have always had victory. Never have I been unable to resist, sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes the attacks persist on and off for many days and I need to ask others for help, but I have always been able to resist and the devil and his evil has always fled.
I have never engaged in any ritualistic behaviors, I have never sought to discover my families history in order to break any curses, I have never engaged in any conversations with demonic beings who have been attacking me. some people engage in conversing in order to figure out why the evil is there and how it got there in an attempt to get rid of it. I don’t believe we are ever told that this is necessary. Not only that, the devil is a liar, he will lie to you in order to distract you from the true means of getting rid of him. I personally believe we should not attempt to communicate with the devil or his demons, other than speaking truth to them concerning their lies and commanding them to leave by the blood and authority of Jesus Christ. You are new in Christ, what your grandmother did no longer applies to you unless you yourself are engaging in the same practices. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”2 Corinthians 5:17
If you have a lot of past trauma that is not resolved and healed, hidden sin you have not repented of, weaknesses you have accepted and chosen not to work through, this can give the enemy power over you and he will use these things against you. The more healing you get, the more you learn and apply God’s Word, the more your mind is renewed, strengthened and restored, the less the enemy has to use against you. This is why Jesus said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
He wants us to let go of our heavy burdens, to learn a new way and have our minds transformed. Stop avoiding your pain, your sin, your struggles. What is left in the dark can be used by your enemy to keep you in bondage to the dark. When you bring those things to the light and get help, healing happens. Satan’s power over you is diminished. What pain, sin, and weaknesses have you been avoiding and keeping hidden? Bring them to the light and get victory over those things.
I believe the devil often attacks subtly and discreetly when we aren’t doing much for the kingdom, trying to slowly drive us to a fruitless life far from God. He wants us to believe what’s going on in our minds is actually due to ourselves. Our own fears, failures, and weaknesses. The truth? It seems that way because he strategically attacks us using the specific details and struggles of our personal lives. If it looks like it’s just me then why would I fight back spiritually? I believe we all need to prioritize the truth on this topic, not to distract or scare us, but to prepare us for the fight. When we are working hard for the kingdom of God all bets are off. Subtlety often goes out the window and Satan comes after us hard. He does this in order to get us to quit rather than resist him, fight, and continue in our calling. Yes, it’s easy to recognize, but it still takes diligent effort to fight back. It is exhausting, and without the power of the Spirit and Biblical truth we will buckle under the weight of the attack.
When we are being attacked by Satan and his evil we are partaking in the sufferings of Christ. I used to think I wasn’t suffering for Christ because I don’t live in a country where Christians are severely persecuted and I have a safe and comfortable life with an amazing family. The truth is, when we are faithfully following Jesus and doing what he asks of us and Satan seeks to devour us and attacks us, we are partaking in the suffering of Jesus Christ. This suffering strengthens us and tries our faith like gold in fire. This is truly something to rejoice in. The demonic attacks I have faced in the last year or so have been persistent, overwhelming, intense, and painful. It has taken great effort to resist and stand firm. It has truly been a time of suffering and it is happening because God is allowing it. I will tell you that my faith is stronger than it was before every time I get through one of these attacks.
1 Peter 4:12-13 says “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” In my experience, these types of fiery trials bring me to my knees and remind me of my weak state and desperate need for Christ. I end up broken before the throne of God, which leads to me experiencing his love and presence in the most incredible ways. It’s like I’m in this shadowy valley of suffering, yet surrounded on every side with overwhelming love and grace. It’s amazing and brings me to a place of gratitude and rejoicing. If I need a fiery trial to bring me back to this place I welcome it. I recently laughed so hard at the devil after he attacked me hard because it brought me to a place of such amazing surrender to God and I felt more loved than ever before. His weapons do not prosper, and when we resist him, firm in our faith, God truly does himself restore, strengthen, confirm, and establish us.
Let me be clear on something, often, intrusive lies are a result from our own unhealed hurts and traumas. I am not saying the only way to overcome lies and negative feelings, thoughts, and behaviors is to fight spiritually. I am saying that sometimes these things are a result of the Devil and his attacks and these attacks specifically can only be fought spiritually. My personal rule is if I am doing everything I can clinically to address my problem and it is persisting and not improving, it is likely spiritual. The more we heal, the less the devil has to use against us. Just a few days ago this happened to me and I was convinced my struggles were from past trauma. I didn’t realize until later that it was spiritual.
We must face our difficulties both spiritually and clinically, as spiritual warfare ALWAYS appears to be a clinical problem. However, clinical problems are definitely not always spiritual. I hope that clarifies some things before I continue. I will be posting another article soon on how to heal trauma and intrusive negative thoughts/emotions from a clinical standpoint. For now, this post addresses the spiritual aspect of our struggles as Christians only.
So how do I stand firm in the power of God and resist the devil during these attacks? Regardless of how I feel, I choose to speak truth to the lies, I pray continually, I worship God, I directly rebuke the devil and his evil spirits, I speak the truth of scripture over the enemy in the authority I’ve been given as a child of God. When under attack it is common for me to not feel like doing these things, but I choose to do it anyway. I tell the devil “no weapon you form against me will prosper because I am a servant of the living God and my righteousness comes from him, you must leave me in the name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 54:17).” I command the devil to leave in the name of Jesus and remind him that he cannot have my life and that I will never stop following Jesus. I remind my enemy the truth that his attack will not prevail and that God will deliver me, as I am told in Psalm 91 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:14-15
A few weeks ago I was having an argument with my husband and I was feeling really irritated with him and not very loving toward him. I got up and walked away. I started realizing I was being attacked spiritually and began to pray and rebuke the evil coming against me. As I prayed I suddenly heard laughing and taunting in my mind. It is hard to share something so personal, but I hope this helps someone reading. I immediately recognized the voice for what it was, and commanded my enemy to leave me alone in the name of Jesus, reminding him that his weapons against me will never prosper. As soon as I prayed this out loud a verse that I hadn’t read in a long time came into my mind replacing the laughter of my enemy. Psalm 34:7. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them.” I spoke that truth out loud, and everything changed. Instantly I felt love and kindness toward my husband and the rest of our night was great. I share this very real example in hopes that my vulnerability helps even just one person.
The morning I decided to write this post I didn’t realize the spiritual attack it would bring on. Satan and his demons came after me with full force, and not subtly either. I fought hard to combat the attack and eventually, after many days, had victory, but it was a tough and exhausting fight. It often left me feeling drained of energy, frustrated by the enemies constant plots against me, and even caused me to question whether writing this was worth the effort it would take me to stand firm against the evil hard at work against me. A week ago after helping someone handle demonic oppression and teaching that person what to do with it, I told God I knew this would result in a target on my back, but that it was worth it to help people get free. In the heat of the battle I often regret statements like that. Reminding myself I will get through and it will not last forever gives me strength to push through. Reminding myself of the privilege of suffering for Christ also gives me strength. The devil likes to lie and tell us that if we walk in God’s calling and live for him we will be worse off. Yes, the devil attacks you more, but you quickly learn that his attacks are fruitless and don’t last forever. The joy that comes makes it all worth it. There is nothing in this life that compares to living every day to love and please God and walk in his purposes.
I have heard many people talk about spiritual warfare and discuss the fact that we do not have to fear Satan because we are children of God. I have told many people the same thing. This is true of course. The truth goes deeper, however. For those Christians not seeking to live to please God, who also don’t know how to defensively fight back, satanic demonic attack is quite terrifying and can do a great deal of damage. It can leave these people enslaved to fear, evil, and bondage. No, Satan cannot steal your salvation, but he can destroy you while here on earth and render you useless to the kingdom of heaven. Trust me, I have seen this many times. I have even had periods of time in my own life where I was unprepared and weak, and highly impacted by these attacks. This is Biblical truth and needs to be openly talked about so the body of Christ can be prepared for the battle.
When a believer is not armored up and is vulnerable, Satan and his demonic forces have easy access and will strategically lie to manipulate and push the believer toward darkness and despair, further away from God and his will. They will also use their lies to influence your behavior toward others in a negative way. Not only that, demonic spirits bring with them negative and distressing feelings and imaginations as well. If there is peace and freedom in the presence of God I can assure you there is torment in the presence of Satan and his demons. To have a demon attacking you is to feel it’s presence. Maybe you have never noticed this experience, but if you are a believer you have absolutely felt it. Once you understand this and learn to recognize it, trust me, you will feel what I am talking about and you will be more able to fight.
Without acknowledging my very real enemy and preparing myself for battle I can’t resist the attack. Paul told Timothy, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him” (2 Timothy 2:3). I believe Christians who choose to faithfully follow Jesus and answer his call are soldiers for the kingdom of heaven. This brings suffering and intense warfare, but the rewards both in this life and for all eternity are worth it. The promises of God are real and beautiful. This spiritual suffering is not unending, but lasts for a time. When we are prepared to resist, these attacks make us stronger on the other side.
Because of the work I do and the fact that I have chosen to follow Jesus whatever the cost, I experience these things regularly. Maybe that sounds scary? You know what else I experience regularly? The overwhelming presence of God when I get on my knees before him. I regularly feel the power of his love and grace and his loving arms around me. I’m Not just saying this. It is literally what I physically and spiritually experience. I also regularly experience seeing broken hurting people healed and delivered. People with immense pain and trauma getting free from debilitating symptoms who are able to move forward and live a life worth living. I regularly experience a marriage with incredible spiritual closeness and intimacy that many people I know don’t experience. I get to see my children experience God in real and beautiful ways. I regularly get to see God respond miraculously and powerfully. I would say the attacks I face, regardless of how horrifying they can be, are well worth it. Yes, when under attack I feel incredible fear, horribly negative feelings, and exhaustion, but that’s really all Satan is able to do to me. when the attacks come in I remind myself that this is all it is and I will get through it. because I fight hard with the power of God and his strength I win. And I always do. And it is always worth it. And I love thinking about how angry that must make Satan.
I believed in Jesus when I was 7 years old and. I loved him and he was always with me. But my family was very broken and life was hard for me to say the least. My dad left us when I was 12, but he wasn’t ever actually there for me even before that. I was broken, unprotected, and very alone. I look back and see that Satan was after me hard my entire life, beating me to a pulp with pain, trauma, horrific negative beliefs and feelings. I’m amazed I survived his beating. When I was so depressed I didn’t want to live anymore, I begged God to heal me and help me and I promised him I would always do whatever he wanted and I would love him forever. A thick veil of darkness was lifted off of me and I believe many demons who had been tormenting me were forced to leave at that moment. Everything changed. Yes, I still had sadness and pain I had to get through, and it was hard work. But the depth of despair and torment was gone, I felt the presence of God in my suffering, and he brought me through with his healing grace. You want to know why I am so obsessed with loving and living for God? Now you know. I know what it’s like to live under the torment of darkness and what it’s like to get free. It’s impossible to go from there to a dimly lit place like that of the life of a lukewarm Christian. Maybe momentarily, but it is so uncomfortable you can’t stay for long.
When my daughter was 5, after she believed in Jesus and had received the Holy Spirit, one day she told me she wanted to donate one of her favorite little stuffed animals that she had slept with every night. She was insistent. I knew in my spirit this was significant and decided not to donate it. A few weeks later I snuck it back in her bed before bedtime to see what happened. When she saw it she got very upset and threw it on the floor. I asked her why she no longer wanted the toy which led her to become extremely anxious. I decided to sit with her and wait for her to tell me what was wrong. For thirty minutes she nervously fidgeted with her hands, trembling voice repeating “it’s because I, it’s because I.” She was unable to say anything else. She must have said those same words over a hundred times. Despite the fact that I was frustrated, I somehow stayed calm and reassured her she was safe and could tell me anything. My words did not help at all. She looked terrified to tell me the reason she no longer wanted the toy. After thirty minutes I decided to put her on my lap and pray over her. I started praying, asking the Holy Spirit to open her mouth and allow her to speak, I told whatever was keeping her mouth shut and keeping her in fear to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. When I finished praying she immediately told me exactly what was going on. She was SO relieved! And so was I. Praise God. The enemy wanted my child to believe the lie that she wasn’t able to tell me difficult things. There is freedom in confession and sharing, and Satan knows that. He wants us to believe we have to keep the lies, thoughts and fears in our minds a secret, which will leave us in bondage. After that day my daughter has been able to come to me about anything. This was spiritual warfare, and because I was able to recognize that and I knew what to do I had victory. This is critically important.
I want to finish this post with an example of a prayer I might pray, not just while facing spiritual attack, but also to guard against it. Remember, fight until the enemy leaves, no matter how long it takes and how tired you are. The Lord God will strengthen you.
“Holy Spirit I pray in the name of Jesus Christ that all evil and darkness would leave me right now. That any attack of Satan that is coming against me would stop in the name of Jesus. I cast away and condemn the lies that the devil has placed in my mind and I pray that you would fill my mind with truth and peace. Lord God I ask you to send your heavenly angels right now to minister to me and guard me in all my ways. I pray that you would guard and protect my family. That your holy presence would surround us and fill our home, that no evil could even attempt to come near in the name of Jesus Christ. I command any and all evil spirits of the devil to leave me now in the name of Jesus. You may not stay. Your weapons against me and my family will not prosper and must cease. As I submit and surrender to God in heaven I command the devil to flee and you must obey. In the holy name of Jesus Christ.”
The past four months have been some of the most difficult months I have faced in years. My little brother has been in a coma since the beginning of May, and although he is making some progress, there is no telling when or if he will wake up and what things will be like for him If he does. In addition to the horrible pain and agony over my brother’s suffering, this situation brought up a lot of difficult family conflicts as well as painful reminders of past family brokenness and trauma. Before I was even able to grieve what was happening to my brother I had to face the anger and intense pain I was feeling over the past. I had to grieve, not act on my anger, and forgive all over again. For months I was isolated from everyone but my husband and kids, broken, angry, unable to do any of the things I enjoyed, and angry at God. Add to all of this the ever present Covid-19 situation, fights about vaccines, political disarray and feuding, racism and hatred. Not to mention the many responsibilities of a wife, mother, and therapist specializing in trauma. Much like many Christians right now, I was overwhelmed, confused, and a prime target for Satan’s attack. Why do I share this? Because I believe it’s important right now that we not pretend that as Christians life is easy. That our faith is never shaken. That we are never overtaken by anger and emotion. That there isn’t a spiritual war raging against us. That we don’t have to fight hard. We need to be real with each other so that we can encourage and strengthen one another in love and truth.
Satan, as we know, is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), with the goal of bringing utter destruction to his targets and the world as a whole. Satan has a way of saying exactly what he needs to say to us to discourage us and make us believe God isn’t as good as we thought. The more we question God’s goodness the less we desire to be in his presence and to please him. Why would I want to surrender every day to please God when it seems like he is against me? Satan will tailor his lies and attacks specifically to fit the deepest sufferings, insecurities, failures, and fears of his prey. This is exactly what he was doing to me. I had some of the closest most beautiful moments with God these past 4 months and some of the most discouraging hopeless moments as well. What I’ve realized in my spirit is that Satan is fighting hard against me lately, perhaps harder than he has in many years. Maybe he is doing the same to you. Many Christians are allowing the enemy to have temporary victory, as I have on and off for the last four months, mostly unknowingly. I had been fighting and overcoming only to be met with yet another attack. I believe he is fighting hard not just against me, but against all followers of Jesus right now.
What is resulting from these immense attacks on the children of God? Satan’s goal is to get us Christians to do the opposite of what pleases God. To hate instead of love. To deceive instead of live in the truth. To allow bitterness and anger to evolve rather than overcome them with goodness and prayer to and for our enemies and those we disagree with. To give into our sinful pleasures instead of walk in the spirit in faithfulness to God. To replace the power of the Holy Spirit with a bland religiosity. The only way this will change is for the children of God to recognize these attacks and fight the enemy with continual prayer, truth, obedience, and the power of the Holy Spirit. We have to get real with ourselves and start fighting the spiritual battle we are entangled in. We will win, but this must begin on an individual level. Each one of us has to start standing up against Satan, firm in the freedom we have been given by the blood of Jesus Christ. We have to stop following the Christian masses and start following Jesus and what he said. This is truly all that matters.
Perhaps it is our familiarity with the words of Jesus that is our downfall. Have we heard them too many times and they have lost their power? We memorize, study, learn, study some more, and yet sometimes we never take the next step of actually doing the things we are studying and learning to do. One of my favorite quotes spoken by Alfred to Batman is this “what’s the point of all those push ups if you can’t even lift a bloody log?” What is the point of all of our studying and memorizing if we can’t even do what we are supposed to do? There is none. Too many times I have allowed fear, discomfort, anger and selfishness to hold me back from doing what Jesus wants me to do. If we stay on this path Satan will continue to gain a foothold.
Peter literally saw his friend and savior crucified before his very eyes. His friend was stoned to death for preaching the gospel, yet he was still called to be at peace with and love those who did not believe. The very people who killed his friends. Somehow we believe that things are different for us. That somehow a world that is lost and following satan demands we fight with aggression and anger, rather than approach that world the way we are told to by Jesus himself, with peace, love, and truth. This might seem an impossibility, but so do all things Jesus asks us to do. We cannot do this without the power of the Holy Spirit supernaturally working through us. We have ignored him for too long and the effects are evident. Your hatred and disgust toward your enemies (and those you might think are your enemies) is not of God and is putting out your light. Sadly this has happened to me, and I’m sure it will again. It is possible to love people while standing firm on truth, Jesus did it and so did the apostles, and we must do the same.
Read this passage aloud and carefully listen to these words spoken by Jesus himself
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5: 3-12
Jesus also said, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Jesus spoke these words during a time when people were being persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, even murdered for going against the system. A time when women had no rights at all, and children were sent away even by his own disciples. He was speaking to us when he said those words, knowing exactly what it would be that we would be living through, and we need to start taking him seriously. If we don’t, we give Satan a stronghold in our lives and our salt loses its flavor.
I have seen myself question the love and goodness of God, I have seen children of God hate those who think and believe differently than them, cling to a person rather than to Jesus, bully and shame others over a vaccine (whether vaccinated or unvaccinated), spread lies about the power of the Holy Spirit of God, distort and pervert what the church should actually be, lie and cheat, abuse and cover up, all while acting as if we are somehow close to God and honoring him. Things have to change. Shame on all of us. We are called to be at peace with all people yet peace between Christians and other Christians, and Christians and the world, is often the last thing I see right now.
So many people speak truth to an unbelieving world with no love at all, sometimes while not even obeying that truth, causing division and destruction. So often we argue with other christians about unimportant things. We focus on a few examples where Jesus got angry, using that as our excuse, rather than focusing on everything he told us and desires for us to do. Read this next passage aloud and let these truths permeate your soul.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:22-26
Kind to everyone. Able to teach. Patiently enduring evil. Correcting with gentleness. I’m sad to think of how many times I have failed to do what pleases God, giving into my emotions and sin instead. Think of the person who makes you the most angry, who has hurt you or someone you love, who disagrees with something that you feel strongly about. Pray for that person and ask God to heal and bless him. He is not your enemy, he is either a lost soul who needs rescuing from the power of Satan, a brother or sister in Christ acting on their sin, or someone who is just doing something you disagree with. We need to have healthy boundaries and sometimes it’s best to stay away from unhealthy and unsafe people, but that doesn’t mean we cannot show love and kindness from a distance. Years ago my mentor told me that he was suddenly having bad dreams about people from his past and he was really upset by it. He asked me what I thought he should do. I don’t think the answer I gave was from me, but from the Spirit. I told him to pray for those people, that God would bless them. A few days later he told me that he did it and the dreams stopped and he had peace.
Satan wants to torment us with lies and hatred. As soon as we give in and go against what Jesus tells us to do we are giving into the enemy and allowing our spirit to weaken. Recently out of nowhere I had a sudden desire for vengeance on someone who had harmed me and others I love. Sounds bad I’m sure, but I’m being honest. I felt sick and horrible about this. I got on my knees and confessed to God what was in my heart and begged him to forgive me. Then I prayed for that person and all those feelings left. I want to encourage you, and myself, to read those passages again to see which of Jesus’ commands we are ignoring or doing the opposite of. Even if it is just one we are giving Satan an advantage over us and quenching the power of the Spirit in us. I am not talking about perfection and this is not a one time deal. Trust me, I would give anything for that. This is a daily battle against the dark powers in spiritual realms that we must fight. I personally have come against demonic spirits oppressing Christians multiple times in recent months, and with prayer, they left. This is very real. If demons can remain subtle and keep us believers from recognizing them, we won’t fight as we should. Sometimes Satan fights harder than usual and trust me, he always has a reason. We have to fight back with truth, obedience, prayer, worship, and love with the power of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t, we will find ourselves spiritually asleep, incapable of discernment and hearing God’s voice, ineffective in our ministries, and open to demonic oppression.
Jesus spoke the truth directly, yes, but he only spoke exactly what the father wanted him to. Do you? Do I? How did Jesus know? Because he had perfect fellowship with the father. We have fellowship with God almighty through the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us, and our active daily decision to enter into Gods presence, die to our flesh, be obedient, and walk in the spirit. What does this mean? As we draw closer to God and his presence and we are able to discern what it is that he, not our emotions, wants us to do and we do it. It is then that we are being like Christ.
If you are speaking harsh truths to people who do not yet know Christ out of self righteousness or anger you are not doing what the father wants you to do. If you are speaking hateful angry things to people you disagree with, regardless of your suffering, this is not what the father wants you to do. Our painful experiences do not justify hate and unkindness. This only gives Satan power over us. Trust me, I know. Hebrews 12:14-15 says “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Bitterness will defile you. When I allow bitterness to grow I lose my joy and my connection with the Holy Spirit is diminished. Praise God he is faithful and will reveal this sin to us so we can repent and replace our bitterness with love, forgiveness, and kindness. This is a battle we will face and one that we cannot allow Satan to win.
Yes, Jesus got angry in the temple, because that it was the father wanted him to do, and his perfect fellowship and oneness with the father allowed him to know that. His disciples recognized this as a fulfillment of Psalm 69:8-9. Scripture tells us, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” Colossians 4:5. These aren’t just nice sayings. They are the very commands and desires of God for his children. When we do not obey his words there are spiritual consequences. This does not impact our eternity, but it severely impacts our time here on earth, and that does matter.
What does Jesus tell us to do? We are told to stand firm and grounded in our faith, to obey, to live holy and set apart, to speak the truth in love, to care for the broken and hurting, to love each other, to be examples to outsiders because of our love, to love and pray for our enemies. This is not what I see right now when I look at Christianity. This is not always how I respond and I’m ashamed to say that. The difficulty is that following Jesus and doing the things that please God requires supernatural strength and can’t be done in the flesh. Satan is counting on us to ignore the Holy Spirit, hate rather than love those who disagree with us and look and act differently than us, ignore the broken and hurting, and to be a church divided. We have to unite as the church of God almighty and start loving and living like Jesus.
Times today are just as evil and wicked as they were before. People are just as against Jesus Christ and against us. What we were told to do then still applies today just the same. If Satan can get us angry and hateful enough he has victory over us and will successfully keep us from obeying Jesus and shining our lights to the world around us. Let’s start obeying Jesus and stop allowing him to do so.
Last week I was so discouraged and beat down, believing God did not love me very much and did not really care. The craziest part? These lies came after reading scripture of all things. Just as Satan twisted scripture in the wilderness when he tempted Jesus, he had done the same to me. I have to tell you honestly, I have never in my life as a child of God believed these specific lies and struggled in this way until now. Yes in other ways, but not to the level of questioning God’s love and goodness, despite a horribly traumatic childhood and countless pain I have endured. Finally I recognized the discouragement and lies were an attack from Satan, I fought back in the right way, and the darkness lifted. I got angry and commanded the enemy to leave and I spoke the truth to those lies. I begged the Holy Spirit to give me strength and help me overcome. I was honest with him about where I was at and confessed the things that were in my mind. The next day I couldn’t even believe what had been going on for me and how I was unable at first to recognize it was Satan. He is cunning and deceptive, and without faith we cannot overcome.
If you are feeling anger and hatred right now take it to the Lord in prayer. No matter how justified you feel in acting on that hatred I am telling you that you are not. Do not give Satan that victory. Ask God to heal your hatred and anger and to give you a heart of love and kindness, even toward those who you are angry at. If you are feeling defeated and discouraged, believing negative and evil things, acknowledge that it could be a spiritual attack. Tell Satan and his demonic spirits to leave in the name of Jesus. If you have the Holy Spirit living in you they will. Fight back, submit to God resist the devil and he WILL flee. He is not allowed to stay when we choose to resist him with the authority given to us from God through Jesus Christ. I promise God will help you through and give you peace and victory if you do. I know what it’s like to act on my anger and hate and to allow Satan’s lies to take root in my mind and what it’s like to obey Jesus Christ, take my thoughts captive, and love and pray for my enemies. Trust me, obeying Jesus brings freedom and there is nothing like it.
I have really been seeking God on what He expects from me and my life with Him. What does God ask of me? How can I live in a way that really pleases Him? One thing I’ve realized is I need to spend a whole lot more time in prayer. Prayer alone with God, prayer with my husband and children, and prayer with other Christians. Prayer for me should be like drinking water. I can’t survive without it and there are noticeable side effects when it’s lacking. When I don’t drink enough water my skin gets dry, my joints get stiff, and I feel more lethargic. And of course the biggest problem… I would die after three days without it. Are many of us Christians spiritually dry, stiff, and lethargic? And even worse, headed towards spiritual death?
I’m afraid Satan gains a huge advantage when Christians don’t pray. So what’s going on here? How did we get to this point? You can hardly read a passage in the Bible without reading about prayer. Whether that’s instruction on praying or a story of someone actually praying and talking to God. I’m not saying this is a problem with everyone, but based on what I’ve seen, prayer is seriously lacking and Satan is gaining some footholds he shouldn’t have. My guess? Satan’s best bet is to keep us from praying. Why? Because we can study all day long and still have no relationship with God almighty. Sadly that’s what many Christians do. Attend bible study, do devotions, read Christian self help books, and listen to sermons, but fail to pray as they should. I’ve been guilty of this at times, have you? These things are good, but done without the same devotion to prayer they are seriously lacking.
After studying and reading what the Bible says it is so clear to me that prayer is absolutely crucial in the life of a Christian. Not just prayer before meals or a quick prayer to start your day. Continual prayer in all circumstances of life. Also, it should be expected that when you are with other Christians prayer happens. And I’m not talking about one person saying a quick prayer for the group. I’m talking about Christians gathering together to pray. Why do I say this? Because it’s what the Bible teaches and we need it to survive spiritually.
ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray at all times. “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”
Romans 12:12 tells us to be constant in prayer.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.“
Colossians 4:2 tells us to Continue steadfastly in prayer.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Jesus told us in Luke 18:1 that we ought always to pray and not lose heart.
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
Philippians 4:6 tells us in everything let our requests be known to God.
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
These passages of scripture make it very clear that Christians are commanded and expected to pray at all times, constantly, without ceasing, steadfastly, always, and about everything. From what I’ve seen, God doesn’t ask us to do something without telling us why. So why is it imperative that we pray at all times, constantly, without ceasing, steadfastly, always, and about everything? The following verses provide insight into the point of prayer.
Psalm 145:18 says “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”This is so encouraging to me! The Lord is near to me when I call on him in truth. Being near God enables me to walk with Him. If this doesn’t make me want to pray and call out to God as often as I possibly can then I don’t know what will. Prayer allows me to be in the presence of Almighty God. What happens when I don’t call out to God? Is it possible to be near to Him if I’m not calling out to him in truth? Based on this verse I would guess that it’s not. Can I have a close relationship with God if He isn’t near to me? In my experience, when I’m praying like I should my relationship with God is thriving. The opposite is true when I’m neglecting prayer.
Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Through prayer we receive Gods help and mercy. I can honestly say that this is something I need every single day. Why would I choose to neglect the very thing that enables me to receive the grace and mercy of God? Can you even believe that we can confidently approach Gods throne of grace? Do we really understand the magnitude of this truth? If we did, I think we would be at His throne more often than anything else.
Proverbs 15:8 says “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Our prayers please God. How amazing that the God of the universe accepts my prayers? Dwell on this truth for a minute and let it sink in.
James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”We are called to share our struggles with, and pray for, each other! Why? Because we find healing through the power of prayer! We also experience freedom from sin in our lives when we confess it and have other Christians pray for us. The temptation is to keep our sin secret because of shame and guilt. This is exactly what satan wants because he knows the power of confession and prayer. He knows if we don’t confess our sin and pray we will remain in darkness. The second half of this verse is amazing. A righteous person’s prayer has great power and it works! We cannot afford to neglect this. My prayers, your prayers, they are powerful! Why? Because when we pray God draws near to us, and when God draws near amazing things happen!
Psalm 139:23-34 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”The purpose of David’s prayer in these moments was for his sin to be revealed and to be lead by God. Prayer helps us get free of sin and allows us to hear God and understand His way. We aren’t always able, or willing, to see our sin. I believe our sin becomes clear the closer we draw near to God in prayer.
Matthew 18:18-30 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”Again, when we gather together in prayer Jesus is with us! Think about how amazing this truly is. Not only that, but this verse points to the fact that our prayer is powerful and does not go unheard or unanswered. God may not always answer in the way we expect, but He always hears and responds. This verse also points to the necessity of Christians gathering together to pray. We have to be doing this! And I’m not talking about more programs and entertainment. I’m talking about getting together to pray. To experience the presence of Jesus and his power through prayer. Is this still enough for us?
If you know the story of Daniel in the lions den then you know that he prayed three times a day. Have you ever wondered why he did this? The following verse Provides a perfect explanation for his daily prayers and it was most certainly not routine or tradition that drove his prayerful actions.Daniel 10:12 says “Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” Think about this for a minute. I have come because of your words. (For the context of this passage please go read the entire chapter. It’s amazing!). What was going on here was incredible. God sent his angel to go to battle for Daniel in times of spiritual attack. Why? Because Daniel, with humility, spoke to God. Believe it or not (please believe it) there is a spiritual war going on around us and drawing near to God through prayer is crucial in battling our enemy. Satan is very real and he wants to destroy you. Gods Word and prayer are your weapons against him. In Ephesians 6:10-18 we learn about the armor of God. It’s no surprise that one of the final verses of the passage says this; “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” We are to be alert and praying on ALL occasions, not just for ourselves, but for all of the Lord’s people.
Daniel did not pray out of habit or routine. He prayed because his heart was set on understanding and humbling himself before his God! Think about this? Daniel’s understanding and humility before his God was even more valuable than his life. He was willing to be throw into a den of lions for it. Am I?
Acts 2:42 says “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” The believers in Acts were devoted not only to teaching and fellowship, but also to prayer. This is repeated in Acts 6:4 when the apostles say “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The apostles knew that their ministry would not be effective without devotion to prayer. And what was their main goal? To please God and have an effective ministry. Do I want to be effective in my service and worship to Jesus Christ? Do you? If I really want this then I have to devote myself to prayer, just like they did. Not only were they devoted to prayer, they also asked other believers to pray for them as well. They needed to both pray and be prayed for.
Jesus was our greatest example of prayer. Hebrews 5:7 tells us “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” When I read this I can picture Jesus Christ crying out in prayer. Wow. If we don’t think we need to pray constantly we are deceived. Do we have the same reverence to God, the one who is able to save us from death, that Jesus our savior had? He also, on many recorded occasions, prayed all night, for his disciples, and also for all believers. (Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12,Matthew 26: 36-46, Luke 22: 31-32, John 17) I Can’t even begin to imagine how often Jesus actually spent time in prayer. If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was devoted to prayer, how in the world can I expect to live for him if I don’t do the same? To be a Christian is to follow Christ and walk as he walked.
There is honestly so much I could write regarding why we need to pray. I have to shorten it, otherwise this blog would be way too long and nobody would finish reading it. Take some time to search scripture for more on why it is imperative to pray as if you can’t live without it. Also seek God’s wisdom on how to pray. Personally I don’t think there is too much in the Bible on how to pray, you can find guidance here. Prayer is talking to God with pure motives. We over complicate it (as I fear we tend to over complicate everything). My advice, just starting crying out to God in truth. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit will guide you on how you should pray.
How can we expect to live out our Christian life to the fullest if we aren’t praying at all times, constantly, without ceasing, steadfastly, always, and about everything? We can’t. Have you ever been afraid to pray? Have you ever thought, “I’m going to sound stupid?” or What if I don’t say the right thing?” These lies come directly from Satan because he does not want us praying. We have to throw these lies out and start praying. The truth is, as long you are calling out to God in truth with a right heart, your prayer could never sound stupid and is completely adequate before God.
How do we act on what scripture teaches us about prayer?
Start praying about everything. When you start praying to God about everything in your life amazing things happen. It truly solidifies God as Lord and you as servant. I believe God wants us to submit every single request to Him, even small ones, in prayer just like Philippians 4 tells us. Do we paint the people who pray about everything as extremists or weirdos? Claiming that a lot of things we can figure out on our own without bothering God? I’ve often done that myself. Am I saying that Philippians 4:6 is wrong? That I don’t need to in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let my requests be made known to God? God tells us to bring everything to him. Satan wants us to think we are a nuisance to God. That God doesn’t want us bothering him so much, especially about the small stuff. Guess what? Most of our days are made up of lots of small stuff. Small stuff that God truly cares about. Satan also wants us believing we are in control and don’t really need to bring things to God. Also not true. What would happen if you decided to start praying about everything? Do you think your attitudes and decisions would start to mirror those of God? Do you believe God would be near to you? I mean, have you ever stopped and thought, what does God want me to do today? What is devotion to Jesus? When you choose a life devoted to Jesus Christ it means your life is not your own. We don’t get to just do what we want when we want to. If the thought of bringing everything to God and doing what He wants sounds like a bad plan to us then we probably aren’t devoted to Jesus. Simply put, we don’t do a thing without first bringing it to God, followed by a choice to obey whatever the cost. This is true devotion. I fail so much, but my desire and goal better be to live truly devoted to Jesus or else I’m afraid I’m missing the whole point of being a Christian. I can tell you that when I have gotten this right, and I have prayed about everything, my life has never been more full and beautiful.
Pray with your spouse if you have one. In recent months my husband has been leading us to do this a lot and it has been amazing. Sometimes we both pray multiple times, other times we both pray once. Sometimes we get on our knees, and sometimes we don’t. There is really no right way to do it apart from calling out to God together in truth. Let me warn you. It feels a little weird at first but it is a beautiful thing and it gets better and better the more you do it. Not only does it draw you closer to God and bring you into His presence, it encourages spiritual intimacy between you and your spouse. This truly requires vulnerability and humility, two things that I believe greatly strengthen your relationship with God and others.
Teach your children how to pray. I seriously cannot say this enough. Teach them how to really pray. How do we do this? First of all we have to pray for them about everything. This teaches them the valuable lesson of bringing everything to God. They will see his power at work when you do this. Instruct them on how to pray. When my little girl gets scared at night first I pray for her, then I tell her what to pray. I want my children to be comfortable talking to God without always having me do it for them. I’m constantly reminding them they can talk to God whenever they want about anything. They also know how to tell Satan to get away. I love when I hear them doing this! The other day my husband told me that my five year old randomly started punching the air and said “Satan’s mean and I’m gonna fight him! I have the power of God and I have Jesus in me. Satan can’t touch me!” One of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard! How does she know this? Cause this is what I’ve taught her to do when she feels spiritually attacked. (Which does happen to children by the way).
When my kids aren’t in the mood to pray I don’t push it. I want their faith to be their own, not something I forced on them. When they don’t want to pray I tell them that’s okay and I pray for them. Let me just tell you this, when they do want to pray, they pray some of the most amazing and convicting prayers. It often blows me away! On her first day of pre-k my daughter was super nervous. I prayed for her and helped her pray and ask God for help. Her day went great! Months later out of nowhere she randomly said to me “mommy, remember when I was nervous about school and I prayed and God helped me?” She was 4 years old and already seeing God work through prayer. Even better, she wasn’t prompted by me to remember this or bring it up, it was in her own heart and mind and came up all on its own. This will nurture her own personal relationship with her God. Children are never too young for this.
Start praying with and for other Christians. This is where God has been convicting me the most. I spend a lot of time each day praying about what’s going on in my life, for my kids, and for my husband, but I’m afraid I have often failed when it comes to praying with and for other Christians. Why? Probably because of selfishness, busyness, fear, a lack of belief in the power of prayer? What is your reason? If you have ever had the privilege to pray with your spouse or a friend over a dark spot in their hearts, that took some serious strength to even share, wow! There is serious power and healing in that prayer. You think Satan wants us Christians getting together to pray? Not just for God to do great things in our church and nation and whatnot, but for God to bring light to our darkness, to heal brokenness, to provide strength in challenges, to bring freedom. A group of Christians praying together telling God how amazing He is and thanking Him for all He Has done and will do. “The prayer of the upright person has great power as it is working”. It’s no wonder to me that praying out loud with others is the biggest challenge I face when it comes to prayer. I have a great friend who I seriously love so much. She has always encouraged prayer together. We would get together for a playdate with our kids and she would end with “hey let’s pray together.” She has always inspired me! I remember I was talking to a friend recently who means so much to me. This friend was sharing some deep deep pain and heartache with me. At the end of the call I said 5 words all of us Christians should stop saying, unless they are followed by actual prayer. “I will pray for you.” In that moment I thought of my friend, the one who inspires me with her prayer, and what she would say. I stopped myself and said “actually, can I pray right now?” What do you think she said? Yes! I was nervous and felt weird to pray on the phone, but it’s not about how I feel. Or how you feel. It’s about obeying Gods Word when it comes to prayer. I prayed over her and it was powerful for both of us. We absolutely need to pray for others in our personal prayer time, but God’s Word is clear that we need to pray with other Christians. I’m ashamed at how many times I’ve said those 5 words when I could have stopped and prayed right then. Jesus would have been with us in those moments ministering to us through prayer.
Another thought, pray and ask God for discernment to recognize when you are under spiritual attack. Once you are able to recognize this happening you can pray against it specifically. Use the authority you’ve been given as a child of God and command satan to leave! I’m telling you, he has to listen. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but if you keep battling he will eventually have to retreat.
Some people encourage prayer journals and lists and whatnot and that works great for some. I’m not knocking that at all. But for someone like me, lists and journals discourage me a little from stuff because it starts to feel like an assignment. That just doesn’t work well for me and the way my brain functions. What I’m proposing for myself and others who maybe aren’t keen on the journals and lists is to just do it. Just make a decision that you will pray, and pray. Pray alone, pray with your spouse if you have one, pray with your children, and pray with other Christians. Don’t over complicate it or turn it into an assignment. Just start talking to God all the time, about everything.
I’m not interested in convincing anybody to do anything. To be honest, I believe this is a big problem today. So much time is spent trying to convince people to start living for Jesus rather than discipling and building up the people who already want to. So, if you want to live in the beauty of Gods presence and His plan start making prayer a priority. Otherwise, keep doing what you’re doing and don’t expect anything to change. The most important question to ask is do I believe everything the Bible says about prayer? If I do and I choose not to make prayer an essential part of every single day I am choosing to forfeit the fullness of Gods presence, his strength, His help, His grace and mercy, spiritual intimacy in my relationships, and His power working in amazing ways.
Writing this blog has truly convicted me and inspired me to make some changes when it comes to prayer. As I have done this I have seen so much impact in my life. I am closer to God, more passionate about reading the Bible, I have a more positive attitude (not dependent on circumstances), I have more patience and love toward my husband and children, and I have a deeper desire for the things of God in general. I truly believe that if I, and all God fearing surrendered Christians, devote ourselves to prayer, we will experience God and His power like we never could have imagined. We will also, as the body of Christ, bring God more glory and honor than ever before as we humbly surrender in prayer. I truly believe prayer is the catalyst for acting on what God teaches us in His word.
One last thought..
What if your boss gave you two big projects to complete. You gave one of the projects everything you had and did an incredible job executing every little detail. Your boss was beyond thrilled with your work. But when he asked about the second project you presented something sloppy, half done. You told him that you put so much time into the first project you just didn’t have time for the second. Not to mention, you didn’t really think the second project was totally necessary. Would he be pleased? Would you be successful in your job? This is the same when we dedicate boatloads of time attending bible studies, reading spiritual books, listening to sermon after sermon, and studying our bibles, but neglect praying with the same focus and magnitude. This just can’t happen if we expect to live in a way that pleases God and have an effective ministry. We have to start studying Gods Word and discovering what God actually tells us to do as Christians and start doing it. Don’t just do what others tell you to do, including me. Go to God in prayer and read the Bible. The Holy Spirit will direct you and teach you how to be truly devoted to Jesus.
Submit is a scary word, especially if you prefer to be in control. To submit is to let go of control and surrender all. Webster defines submit as yielding oneself to the authority or will of another. I think as Christians we can sometimes latch onto parts of verses that encourage us or offer us something of value in the moment, while ignoring other parts. One verse that offers me comfort that I hear spoken of often is James 4:7 which says “therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The funny thing about this verse is that the part I hear most often is the “resist the devil and he will flee from you part”. It’s important to remember that the Bible cannot be broken down and picked apart, it needs to be accepted as a whole.
There have been times when I have felt attacked and have prayed and feel as though I am resisting the devil, but for some reason he isn’t fleeing. Does this ever happen to you? What I’ve realized is at these times I am not fully submitting to God as I should be. The thing is, apart from submission to God, we aren’t strong enough to resist the devil and his attacks. We need to be fully submitted if we are to successfully resist Satan. In fact, verse 6 in the same chapter says “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Wow, God resists the proud! If in pride you are trying to resist the devil, the truth is God is resisting you. If this is the case do you stand a chance against the attack? What is pride but the need for control, possession, accomplishment, etc.? Can you submit to God while holding onto pride? You cannot.
What does it really look like to submit to God? Honestly this is a difficult yet rewarding task. I find myself revisiting it and realigning myself often. It is easy to neglect submitting to God and, for me, this is when I find it more difficult to resist Satan. When I get back to a place of submission I feel a renewed strengthand freedom. Submitting to God means accepting His plan over your own. It means not taking credit or seeking to find a sense of worth in your own accomplishments or possessions. It means giving God free reign to do whatever He wants to do in your life. It offers the ability to have peace and calmness when things don’t go as you expected. It means not making a decision in life without first consulting God, and when you don’t like His answer, it means doing what He wants regardless.
Submission is a choice and it is what separates you from being a humble follower of God to an interested yet uncommitted “Christian”. Honestly, I know for a fact I cannot expect myself to be in perfect submission to God at all times, but the goal is to recognize when I make this error and get back on my knees humbled before God. If I don’t make this a regular habit I know I will not be able to resist the devil when he comes after me. Maybe you are at a place right now where you feel incapable of resisting. Check yourself to see if you are fully submitted. If you find that you aren’t, choose to submit and give God control. As His Word tells us in James 4, He will lovingly offer grace, and the devil will indeed flee from you.
Our society is set up in a way that people cannot do whatever they would like and they are willing to accept these parameters. If you don’t pay your taxes, you commit burglary, or assault someone and get caught you will be held accountable for it. Most people would agree consequences should be faced in these kinds of situations. Somehow we are willing to accept this, yet unwilling to accept the parameters placed on us by our own creator. Why is this? Many believe that a good God would never send someone to hell, and because of this reject Him altogether. This is by far one of the most difficult arguments for a Christian to face when talking with someone who doesn’t follow Jesus Christ. Let’s consider this argument in the form of an illustration.
Consider you and a friend have committed murder and are on trial with a likely outcome of a death sentence. One day the judge tells you that another man has come forward and has offered to take on your death sentence. All you have to do to go free is admit your fault, accept his sacrifice, and choose to follow a new way after you get released. The judge tells you that regardless of your decision this man is going to take that death sentence on your behalf. You ask why would he do such a thing for us? Doesn’t he know what We’ve done? The thought of admitting your guilt and accepting this man’s sacrifice, and not only that, but surrendering to a new way of living, is too much for your pride to allow. You reject the offer. Your friend on the other hand, astounded by such a loving and undeserved sacrifice, is willing to do whatever she has to do to accept this gift. Including admitting her guilt and making the decision to live a different way from that point on. She knows it will be tough, but that accepting this man’s sacrifice will change her forever. The Judge declares her not guilty and she walks undeservedly free, while you receive your earned death sentence.
This is what God offers everyone through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. A not guilty verdict. Freedom from our earned sentence. If a person ends up in hell its not because God sent him there. It is because he rejected the free gift of justification and salvation. Christ suffered death so we don’t have to suffer eternal punishment in hell for our wrongs. He took all of our sins on himself. 1 John 2:2 tells us “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” He wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us and nailed it to the cross! (Colossians 2:14) Do you understand how amazing this is? Maybe you would say, well I’m not a murderer, I’m a pretty good person. The truth is, nobody is good (Mark 10:18), we are all evil inside and need to be transformed from the inside out (Romans 12:2). Deep down you know you are guilty and you’ve been living with guilt for a long time. But you don’t have to! Accept the gift Jesus offers you and walk free from your sentence.
Another of Satan’s greatest deceptions is that following Jesus is bondage and not following Jesus is freedom. The opposite is actually true. Because I follow Jesus I am no longer a slave to the sin and darkness in this world and the Holy Spirit of God himself lives in me, providing all that I need (Galatians 4:6-7). I get to experience peace during turmoil (Isaiah 26:3), comfort in pain (2 Corinthians 1:4), strength in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), wisdom in decision making (James 1:5), forgiveness from my wrongs (1 John 1:9), calmness in fear (Romans 8:15), and the list goes on. I don’t just say this because it’s what the Bible says. I literally experience these things daily in my life. Do you experience the same through rejecting him? When you reject Jesus you are accepting the fact that you are a slave to someone or something else. You can call it what you want but deep down you know you are not free.
Jesus offers the same freedom to every single person. All you have to do is believe and receive Him (John 1:12). You will no longer suffer the punishment you deserve for your sin because he already paid that price for you when he surrendered to death and punishment on the cross. He loves you that much! Reject the lies of Satan and choose to believe and receive Christ so you can walk free in all that God created you for. My prayer is that this post changes even just one person’s mind about Jesus, because when even one turns from sin the angels in heaven rejoice (Luke 15:10). That’s how much you matter to God, your creator. I hope and pray that those angels are rejoicing even now because of your changed heart.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
Someone close to me recently told me that during a dark time in her life she tried to go to God. She begged him to heal her and rescue her from the pain she was feeling. But He didn’t. She never claimed to believe what the Bible teaches about who God is. From her perspective she tried God and that didn’t work. I wonder how many people would say the same. This breaks my heart, and there was a time in my life this would have left me rather upset with God. Thinking, God, why would you not heal someone who cried out to you and begged for healing. Especially someone I care so much about. To expect this of God is to expect him to force himself on those who do not really believe in who He is. I personally don’t believe he does this.
The person who truly believes, will go to God for redemption, not relief. Why? Beause she believes in Who God is and she understands her desperate condition and need for a savior. She is a sinner in need of saving grace, not a victim in need of help in a troubling circumstance. The reality of an eternity without salvation and life in Christ is far more significant than a current struggle, no matter how challenging. God wants to transform your heart and mind, not fix your problems. Does God care about helping us through tragedy and pain we face while on earth? Of course! But this only comes once you have believed in your heart in who God is and have received Jesus Christ as your savior. You can’t go to God expecting his reward without believing who He is.
“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Romans 10:10 NKJV
When we believe who God is we will naturally want to diligently seek Him. Webster defines diligent as being characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort, and to seek, as going in search of or trying to discover. So we are to seek to discover God steadily, earnestly, and with great effort. Would you do this without believing who He is? Possibly, if you were set on gaining knowledge for the sake of knowledge. But I think for the most part, you wouldn’t. I don’t diligently seek God because I hope He is real, I do it because I know and believe what the Bible teaches me about God, along with what creation shows of Him. Add to this the personal relationship I gained when I answered His call, believed and received Jesus as savior, and the incredible and amazing things He has done in my life since.
Maybe you are that person who “tried” God when times were tough, nothing miraculous happened, and so you determined that He must not be real or at least must not care about you. This just isn’t truth.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Did I seek God for relief from a difficult circumstance rather than for redemption? Relief from struggle is appealing, but it doesn’t compare to redemption in Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
2. Did I acknowledge my sin, my need for a savior first, and the reality of not accepting the gospel of Christ? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 NKJV, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” II Thessalonians 1:8-9 NKJV (not trying to be all fire and brimstone, but this truth shouldn’t be avoided simply because it is unpleasant)
3. Did I really believe who God is? That He is the God and creator of the universe and everything in it, “I have made the earth, And created man on it. I—My hands—stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded.” Isaiah 45:12, NKJV), that lack of belief condemns me, (“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” John 3:18 NKJV), that He sent His son Jesus Christ to live a sinless life and die on the cross to pay the price for my sin, offering me the free gift of salvation? (“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” Romans 5:18 NKJV).
If you answered no to these questions it could be that you went to God for relief, rather than for redemption, because you didn’t really believe that He is. So what’s the good news? It’s not too late to believe and receive the reward that God has to offer you, eternal salvation in Christ and spiritual blessings that blow worldly comfort out of the water. God doesn’t offer bandaids, he offers complete redemption through His son Jesus Christ to those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord. Once you have gone to Him believing who He is, your life can never be the same.
Maybe you just don’t know who God is because you have never sought out the truth. Go get a Bible, pray with belief in your heart, ask a Jesus follower you know. If you diligently seek, believing who God is, you will absolutely never be the same. How do I know this is true? Because He told us in His Word!
Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from my secret faults.
This verse sheds so much light on why so many of us struggle in the various relationships in our lives. All the way from our familial And professional relationships to our relationship with God. We all have secret faults that we are blind to and none of us are immune to this fact! If each of us were praying this prayer, as David did, and opening our eyes to see these faults in ourselves, don’t you think it would eliminate a lot of our relational struggles? Perhaps the biggest of which being our relationship with God. To make it worse, often our faults that are secret to us are not so secret to those around us, causing frustration and conflict. So what can we do about it?
Here are some things I’ve learned and have had to work on in order to see my faults more clearly. By the way, I’m still a work in progress!
I have had to accept that I am not immune to secret faults and I am not everybody else’s savior. Maybe you have a tendency to always see the faults in others but not in yourself. If we were more focused on our own sins and flaws and changing them maybe we wouldn’t be so bothered by the faults of others. If you always find yourself feeling the need to confront others and “help” them by sharing your thoughts on their sins it might be because you are not looking at yourself and the areas you need to change. Are there times when we need to confront the people we care about in love? Of course! but this should not be happening all the time. It is God’s job to save not yours. If you have this savior mentality it is likely hurting your relationships and blinding you to your own faults.
I have had to stop being so defensive: when someone confronts me on something I’ve done wrong, whether it’s the Holy Spirit or a person, It can be really hard to see and admit my fault. Something I’ve always kind of struggled with when confronted with faults is the tendency to become defensive. Maybe this is true for you? When someone shares a hurt with you and you make an excuse it tells the other person that you think they are crazy and that you don’t care about their feelings. There’s a pretty good chance that you have in fact done something wrong. Especially when it’s the Holy Spirit doing the confronting! Instead of defending yourself, try objectively looking at the situation to find your fault in the matter. This will enable you to not only be more caring, but to see the areas you need to work on changing. (This is a hard one for me!)
I have had to specifically pray that God would reveal my secret sin and help me make changes. This doesn’t happen naturally, it takes serious work. It
All comes down to how badly I want to change and whether or not I’m willing to do what it takes. I personally believe that Satan can really create strongholds when it comes to secret, indiscreet sin because it’s different than the BIG in your face sins. Maybe you don’t get hammered every night, cheat on your spouse, or lie on your taxes. Maybe instead you judge people who think differently than you, live with discontent, or neglect spending quality time with Jesus (all of which at times I’ve been guilty of). These are the sins satan can easily trick us into believing aren’t really sins at all. If we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to reveal them to us we are in serious spiritual and relational danger. The good news is God always comes through if your heart is willing! He continues to do so for me and desires to do the same for you.
If you’re married you’ve probably been given this advice: “If you want to be satisfied in your marriage lower your expectations.” This advice is awful so don’t believe it. Couples who have high expectations and standards are the ones who experience satisfaction and have lasting marriages.
Expectation is defined as “a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen.” To put it plainly, what you expect is likely what will happen. If you expect greatness in your marriage you will fight for it. If you expect anything less you’ll accept it. This is a pretty big deal in my opinion. I don’t know about you, but I want my marriage to be great! Not just okay. Having high expectations, or better yet, expecting what God expects, is the way to achieve greatness in your marriage. Don’t be confused. High expectations are not the same thing as unrealistic expectations, in the same way that low expectations are not the same thing as realistic expectations.
God thinks pretty highly of marriage and so should we. It is beyond me how we as christians have been accepting of so much less than God desires for our marriages for so long. This truly needs to change if we are to reclaim what God has designed to be beautiful and satisfying. God tells us that men are to love their wives like Christ loved the church and died for her, and that women are to respect and honor their husbands as the great women of the Bible did before us. Not to mention, have you read Proverbs 31!? Biblical expectations for husbands and wives are seriously high if you ask me! So why are we ready and willing to accept such low worldly expectations for our marriages?
Lets talk about some ways to go about setting high expectations and throwing out the low ones you’ve allowed yourself to adapt to in your marriage.
Determine what your expectations for your marriage are. You have to make the decision that you want what God wants for your marriage. Anything other than this will leave you unsatisfied and longing for more. This doesn’t just happen naturally because you’re a Christian. Next, you have to Define what this actually looks like. Simply saying you want a godly marriage isn’t enough, you have to know what a godly marriage should be. If you’re not sure pick up the Bible and start reading! Honestly that’s what I had to do. I didn’t have a perfect example of this growing up so I had to go to God’s Word and figure it out. Defining your expectations will get you nowhere if you don’t Discuss it with your spouse. Be honest about your hopes and fears. If you have never talked to your husband or wife about what you are expecting for your marriage now is a good time to start doing it. This will put you on the offense. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Proverbs 27:12 says “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.” Be on the lookout for those things that might threaten your marriage and guard against it.
If you do these things I promise you will notice when something’s off. When this happens, because you’ve set these standards and talked about them, your natural instinct will be to do something about it. This doesn’t mean that it wont be a challenge, it means that you will be willing and ready to fight hard and win the battle.
For any of this to really work you have got to let go of the low and negative expectations you’ve allowed yourself to have regarding your marriage. If you expect it, when it happens you likely wont do anything about it. You might think you can “just get over it” but this will not last forever, I promise you that. Not only that, but it will chip away at your marriage until you find yourself at the place you feared all along. In a marriage that is empty, together for the kids, and headed for destruction. In a society with a divorce rate of 50% it’s not enough to just assume this could never happen to you.
Below are four negative expectations that I believe can kill marriages and what God’s Word has to say about them:
-Are any couples really best friends? Its silly to expect this in my marriage. Genesis 2:24 says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In my opinion, being one with somebody translates to the deepest level of intimacy. This is knowing someone inside and out, and to me, this is what it means to be best friends. If you don’t feel this way about your spouse you might have this negative expectation in your marriage. I believe that a deep friendship is the key to everything in marriage.
–It’s okay to check out other women and men and watch pornography, this is normal. If you expect this in your marriage you need to do something about it immediately! Nothing will kill your intimacy and friendship faster. God’s Word has a lot to say about this in fact. Matthew 5:28 says “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” God sees this as adultery, not a normal acceptable thing. I promise it will destroy your chances of having a godly marriage.
–Couples don’t have sex much after kids are born. That’s just the way it is. This low expectation is a huge marriage killer. 1 Corinthians 7:5 says about sex in marriage ” Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” This verse applies before and after children. Listen, I have two children and I will tell you that you can and should expect to be intimate with your spouse after children. Don’t believe the lie that it’s normal for intimacy to dissolve after children, this is certainly not God’s opinion.
–My husband or wife likely won’t meet my needs and that’s okay. Yes, it is true that God is the one who should ultimately be meeting your needs, but one way that He does this is through your spouse. In Genesis God said that it isn’t good for man to be alone so He made him a helper. As a wife you are your husband’s helper, you alone are capable of enabling your husband to be the man he needs to be. In the same way, as a husband you are called to care for your wife in the same way that Christ cares for the church. This is huge! Expecting that you will meet each other’s needs is critical to your marriage thriving. You have to talk to each other about what you need and work together to define what this looks like.
Having high standards and expectations won’t prevent trials or conflict in your marriage. What it will do is enable you to face and overcome them, coming out stronger and closer than ever before. You don’t have to be exceptional to accomplish this, you just have to fight hard for what you want your marriage to be and rely on God and His Word to help you do it.
I can promise you one thing, you’re marriage doesn’t become what you fear overnight. It’s a slow progression that results from low expectations and standards. Thankfully you can change this by changing your expectations and expecting what God expects for your marriage, Greatness.
I have contemplated writing about this for a while but honestly didn’t feel like it. I decided to do it because, what the heck, why not? This seems to me to be a highly debatable and touchy subject when it comes to Christians of most denominations. I’ve thought and read about it a lot and hope that I can discuss it in a way that is honoring to the truth found in God’s Word. This isn’t a post condemning or condoning alcohol, I simply wanted to share my thoughts on what I think God’s Word says about the matter. If you disagree or feel like something I say is way off base please feel free to share as I value your input!
Lets start by looking at some verses that condemn drunkenness, not alcohol itself.
Ephesians 5:18: And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit
Isaiah 5:11: Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them! Definition of woe: things that cause sorrow or distress; troubles.
Romans 13:13: Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
These verses make it pretty clear that drunkenness is indeed sinful and leads to trouble. I certainly don’t disagree. So why is this such a hot topic among believers of Christ?
Some people have the opinion that alcohol of any amount should be avoided at all costs due to the risk it poses. This is fine unless it leads to judgmental thoughts towards others who don’t hold the same opinion, and vice versa. Overall, the Bible doesn’t state that followers of Christ should totally avoid alcohol.
Is there anywhere in the Bible that does say something like this? Well yes, leaders are called to a higher standard and are urged not to drink. In Proverbs 31 king Lamuel is encouraged by his mother to avoid wine and strong drink so that he may rule his people justly and with wisdom (Proverbs 31:1-9). 1 Timothy specifically instructs elders (overseers of the church) and deacons (ministers and servants of the church) to not be drunkards.
These verses clearly indicate that drinking alcohol is to be approached with great caution and discernment. Another problem with the idea that alcohol should be avoided entirley is that this approach might not be taken regarding other issues. For example, the bible teaches us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10), yet does this mean we should avoid having money at all costs just in case? In fact, I would argue that while alcohol clearly poses more danger to someone physically, the love of money poses a greater threat to a person’s spiritual health. We cannot pick and choose with God’s Word based on our opinions.
So does this mean that as long as you aren’t getting drunk everything else goes? Not quite. It can’t be argued that alcohol is a potentially dangerous substance. After all, many people have been greatly impacted by the damaging affects of it. My grandfather was an alcoholic and died when he was in his fifties from liver damage. His family was impacted deeply by his alcoholism. This is the story for many others as well. Considering this and the warnings God offers in His Word it seems that drinking alcohol should be something that is done cautiously and with discernment.
It’s a pretty common thing these days to hear about Christian fellowship in which alcohol is involved. I’m not saying at all that this is sinful, but it could potentially be harmful. For example, Romans 14:21 says “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” We are accountable for how we impact those around us. Don’t assume that the people around you have the same views on drunkenness that you do. In fact, you don’t know if someone you are offering a drink to has had struggles with alcoholism or is heading in that direction. Again, I am not saying that the Bible teaches us not to drink with other believers, what I am saying is that based on what I have read I believe it teaches us to ensure that what we are doing is not going to cause another brother or sister in Christ to stumble. We need to take this very seriously.
One other point I thought I would mention is that alcoholism is not the same as drunkenness. A person can become a slave to alcohol without being a slave to drunkenness. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” If for some reason you feel a deep need for alcohol and cannot say no to it there may be a problem. Maybe you have wanted to stop drinking for health or other reasons but can’t, or maybe you avoid gatherings where you know there will be no alcohol, as you need to have it to enjoy yourself. These could be signs that alcohol may have a grip on you and could end up becoming a struggle. This verse is true for anything in our lives, not just alcohol, but obviously that’s what we are talking about here.
I hope that if you are reading this blog you don’t walk away thinking that I am judging people who drink or who choose not to drink. I just felt a desire to write about what I feel that Bible teaches us as it relates to drinking. In my personal opinion because of the dangers of alcohol that the Bible does describe I do believe it is something that should be approached with much wisdom and discernment. Thanks for reading!
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