Tag Archives: spiritual battle

Victory In The Valley

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

When reading the story of David and Goliath recently, I noticed something I had read over. I Samuel 17:3 says, “So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them” (NLT). I had never picked up that there was a valley between the two sides. Then verse 40 says, “He (David) picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.” David had to go into the valley to win the victory.

You won’t win victory standing where you are. You are going to have to make the first move. For 40 days, the Israelites were paralyzed by fear. Each day Goliath invited them to fight him, but they stayed put. When David heard Goliath’s taunts, he didn’t get fearful, he got a righteous anger. He knew that this was a spiritual battle that had to be handled in the physical as well. To win the spiritual battle, he’d have to enter the valley and trust God.

Fast forward 14 generations, Jesus was fighting a spiritual battle that required Him to enter a valley as well. John 18:1 says, “After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.” The battle He was fighting was to have the courage to do what God wanted while facing the fear of dying a torturous death on a cross. He could have stayed where He was, but He entered the valley to pray that God’s will be done.

Both David and Jesus recognized that the battle was the Lord’s. They both knew who was fighting on their behalf. That gave them the courage to walk into what seemed like certain death in order to obtain the victory. You and I have to have the same tenacity in prayer and desire to go into the valley if we are going to win our spiritual battles. We are going to have to let go of fear and embrace what God wants to do, enter the valley in front of us, and fight on our knees for victory.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Surrounded

At church, we’ve been singing Michael W. Smith’s song “This is How I Fight My Battles”. It’s a simple song, but it’s powerful. One of the lines says, “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you.” As we sing that song, it reminds me of when Elisha’s servant walked outside one morning and saw they were surrounded by an army. He called for Elisha who came outside and said, “Don’t worry about it. There’s more with us than there are with them. Lord, open his eyes to see.” (2 Kings 6:17)

I also think of times in my life where I’ve been surrounded by turmoil, heartbreak and relentless attacks. Even when that period seemed like it would never end, God would surround me with people who would pray for me, encourage me and help me to stay in the battle. When all seemed lost, God never left me. He surrounded me with His presence and His people when the enemy had surrounded me and tried to take me out.

As you read through the Psalms, David felt that way too. He was chased and trapped in caves by King Saul and the army of Israel at times. Other times it was foreign armies hunting him down trying to take him out. He even writes of family and friends who talk behind his back and want to destroy him. Through it all, he cried out to God because he understood that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord lifts up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19). God surrounds us in our greatest moments of despair.

Psalm 31:21 says, “Praise the Lord! How wonderfully he showed his love for me when I was surrounded and attacked!” (GNT) It’s not time to give up when you are surrounded- it’s time to look up! There are more with you than there are against you. God shows a His great love for us in the moments where we need it most. We have to learn to take our eyes off of the enemy that is surrounding us and look to God who is surrounding them. You are not alone in your fight. You are surrounded by the Lord Of Hosts and the armies of Heaven.

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Keys To Victory 


In just about every situation you face in life, sports or in the spiritual realm, to be an overcomer, you’re going to need the keys to victory. One of the first keys to victory is to have a plan or strategy you can execute on. Do you know hat you will do in certain situations before you’re in them? The second key to victory is to be well conditioned. Paul said physical exercise is good, but to be spiritual fit is even more important. Are you exercising your faith daily? Another key to victory is to go on the offensive. Are you advancing or are you always in a state of retreat?

You and I are in the Army of the Lord and we need to understand that victory is not just given to us. The people you know who walk in victory are the ones who put in the time behind the scenes to grow their walk with the Lord. They study the Bible and pray daily as well. God made us to be victorious and has given us authority over the enemy. We need to know what our keys to victory are and then do them consistently.

Here are some Bible verses on victory. 

1. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].
ROMANS 8:37 AMP

2. I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.
Psalms 62:1 NLT

3. Do your best, prepare for the worst— then trust GOD to bring victory.
Proverbs 21:31 MSG

4. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:57 GNT

5. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
1 John 5:4 NLT

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Declaration Of Independence 


On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress ratified a document known as the Declaration of Independence. It was a formal declaration that the 13 colonies would no longer live under British rule or be subject to the decrees of the monarchy. They had enough of the tyranny and taxation without representation and decided to fight back. They knew there would be a difficult road ahead and it was filled with uncertainty. They knew that the odds were against them, but they also knew that freedom was worth it.

The birth of the United States of America is an inspiration to me in life and in my spiritual walk with God. You see there comes a time in our lives when you and I have to decide if we want to continue living under the old law. We have to choose whether we want to be bound to the dictates of the flesh or be set free. The moment we choose Jesus to be our Lord, we choose to throw off the chains of the flesh. Just like the colonies, that Declaration of Independence will be a declaration of war.

Galatians 5:17 says, “For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do” (GNT). How God wants us to live and how our flesh wants us to live are two completely different ways. If we choose to declare our independence from our human nature, then we will need to live how the Spirit wants if we want true freedom. Verse 18 says, “If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law.”

If you’ve decided to accept Jesus as your Lord, but haven’t ratified your Declaration of Independence, let me encourage you to do that today. After you’ve done it, read Romans 7 and 8. These two chapters will help you understand the war you’ve just started and give you the keys to victory. You are not alone in this war for your spiritual independence. You have an Advocate in the Holy Spirit and you have Jesus interceding on your behalf. You also have a whole body of believers in the same trenches as you are fighting the same battles. It was for freedom that Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1), so let’s declare it today! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Spiritual Eyes

  
When I was in high school, I played basketball. We had a great team every year except for my senior year. We had a sophomore on the team who was 6’8″ tall. The problem was, he wasn’t very good either. Before every game though, while the other team was warming up, I would send him out to the court. I would say, “Here’s what I want you to do. Go out there to our side of the court, reach up as high as you can on the net, hold it, and just stare down the other team with a mean face. Do that for about a minute, then walk back in here.”

I knew that the other team would judge him by his size and not his ability. That’s just how we are wired. God knew that when He sent Samuel to Jesse’s house to find a new king for Israel. I Samuel 16:6 says, “When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!’” (NLT) He was looking for a person who looked like a king. God was looking for someone who would act like one.

In verse 7 the Lord said, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” He wanted Samuel and us to learn to see people the way He does. He doesn’t look at the brand of clothes we wear, the car we drive, the job we have, the neighborhood we live in, or the people we are connected with. God looks at our ability to serve Him and to be obedient to His voice.

In the next chapter, when the Israelites faced Goliath, they made the same mistake. When they looked at him, they saw a mighty warrior. When they saw David, they saw an inexperienced boy. David won the battle not because of who he was on the outside, but because of who he was on the inside. He had spent time with God in prayer and in worship. He had been on his knees long before this battle began. In the spirit realm, their size was flip flopped. David was the giant and Goliath was merely a little boy.

Whatever you’re facing today, let me encourage you not to be discouraged by what you see. It is not as it appears. Quit looking at it through your physical eyes, and learn to see it with your spiritual ones. You are more than a conqueror. You are a child of the King of Kings. You have the One who is greater than anything living in you. Rise up with the confidence of knowing who you are inside, fight, and win your battle. If God is for you, who can be against you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Daily Declaration

To me, one of the most important declarations in the Bible was made on Joshua 25:15. Joshua, who was the leader of Israel, was reminding the people of all God had done for them. He told them of the blessings that were promised to those who followed God’s ways. He also spoke of the consequences of choosing to disobey His commands. After that he said, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (NLT).

Joshua couldn’t speak for everyone just because he was their leader. Each person had to make their own decision on how they would live. There’s only two ways really. One is in obedience to God’s ways and the other is disobedience. There’s not a half and half. No one else can choose it for you either. Each one of us have to come to the point in our lives when we declare our independence from our sinful nature and pledge our allegiance to God.

Galatians 5:17 says, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Joshua understood this war that goes on in each one of us. He knew that he was susceptible to failing, that’s why he made the declaration.

Today, you and I fight the same battle. Some days we win. Some days we lose. When I lose, I fall back on Romans 8:1-2. It says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” We have been freed from the power of sin, but not from our sinful nature. We must keep declaring, no matter how bad or how many times we fail, that we will serve the Lord. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Jonah Effect

  
I’ve known many people in my life who have followed the call of God only to return when hard times hit them. I call it the Jonah effect. The thought process goes like this. If they really were following God’s call then they would see whole cities saved as Jonah did when he finally went to Nineveh. They go, they show up, and everything works out perfectly. However, when they’re faced with constant obstacles and apparent set backs, they feel like they went the opposite direction from God’s will. Therefore, they feel they need to quit and go back to square one.

Think about Moses for a minute. I think we can all agree that in Exodus 3 and 4, God called him to go to Egypt and set His people free. So why didn’t Pharaoh just release them the first time Moses asked? Why did Pharaoh make their workload harder? Why did the people whom Moses was trying to get set free urn on him? Because there will always be resistance when you’re in God’s will. The enemy is unwilling to just surrender territory he has built strongholds in.

When you and I face obstacles and challenges while following God’s voice, we shouldn’t turn around and go back home. We should stay and fight the spiritual battle in front of us. We need to put on the spiritual armor that God laid out for us in Ephesians 6. We need to be prayed up and dressed for battle expecting a fight whenever we are following God’s call. We shouldn’t expect an easy road just because we are following God’s call.

More often that not, those obstacles in our way tend to be people. Moses had Pharaoh, David had Saul, Elisha had Jezebel, and you may have someone too. I think it’s important to remember that Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (NLT). The people who stand in our way are not the enemy. We must fight the enemy who is behind the scenes if we are going to win the victory. It may take some time and a lot of effort, but God called you to that particular battle for a reason.

Don’t be like so many who run when there’s trouble. Don’t fall for the Jonah Effect. If you’re facing resistance, and it appears that people are blocking you from accomplishing God’s will, look behind the scenes. Your battle is not with that person or people. Your true battle is with the enemy behind the scenes. Fight on your knees, but still show up to accomplish God’s will day in and day out like Moses did. When he faced resistance, he went back to God each time looking for help. Moses fought his way to victory and so will you if you don’t get discouraged and turn around.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized