“You will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.” ― Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
We know that none of the God-begotten makes a practice of sin—fatal sin. The God-begotten are also the God-protected. The Evil One can’t lay a hand on them. We know that we are held firm by God; it’s only the people of the world who continue in the grip of the Evil One. And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This Jesus is both True God and Real Life. Dear children, be on guard against all clever facsimiles. —1 John 5:19 MSG
He Gets the Last Word
8-11 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. —1 Peter 5:8-11 The Message (MSG)
A Fight to the Finish
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. —Ephesians 6:12-18 The Message (MSG)
Here’s the bottom line. Whatever name you call him—the Evil One, Satan, the Deceiver, Prince of the World, Deceptor—he’s not happy unless he is dragging you and me down. He’s crafty! He will twist and turn the beautiful things that God created for our pleasure upside down and backwards until we are not sure which way is up. Remember…This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
So what are we to do? It’s already been done! God sent Jesus to die on the cross to release us from our strongholds. Nothing, but nothing, can separate us from the love of God. You know that truth, so embrace that truth! Just breathe and release all that you have been carrying. This is your verse: John 14:13-14. Memorize it.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus died so that we might experience life to the full. Don’t you want that? I’m laying this out for you step by step, but I’m not once suggesting this is easy!
Step 1 – Prayerfully identify your personal strongholds.
Sisters, everything God made is good. There is nothing that God created that is bad. We make things bad when we objectify, idolize, crave, or get crazy for it or make ourselves crazy thinking about it. Personally, I was carrying around a massive amount of shame attached to my strongholds. For me, it was sex and money. My past choices really warped my ideas about God’s gift of intimacy with my husband. In addition, I spent money as a panacea for dealing with my unhappy feelings incorrectly. Are you familiar with the term “retail therapy?” When I was unhappy about something I shopped! Once I understood that everything belongs to God and I internalized how I was perverting those truths my thought patterns began to change! As a result, I could start to share “marriage fun time” with my husband without shame. Also, I didn’t have an emotional need to buy, buy, buy any more, more, more!
Step 2 – Name it and claim it! Confess!
Now knowing where my strongholds lay, I prayed earnestly that God would continue to lift them from me and thoroughly set my mind straight. I named my sin, calling it what it was—a stronghold—and asked God to show me His truth. By acknowledging that it was my worldly ideas about sex and money that had me all bound up, I was able to straighten my shoulders and face the truth that Satan was using my misunderstandings of God’s good gifts to interrupt my relationship with my husband. Satan loves to ruin marriages! Here’s a promise from 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Step 3 – Just lay it down!
Jesus died for my sins. He is my all in all. Jesus is Lord of my life. I owe him everything. He can handle anything that I am struggling with and never miss a step. I just need to—and here is the hard part—give it to him! If I am relying on my own willpower to defeat the stronghold I am kidding myself. I can’t do it alone! Satan is too strong! If I hang on to or worry about what is dragging me down, isn’t it still a drag?
This scripture has been particularly helpful for me when dealing with my personal strongholds…
Romans 8:38-39 The Message (MSG)
31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Step 4 – Put on your full suit, but skip the panty hose.
I know you have heard this before, but it bears repeating—put on the full armour of God! Are you reading His Truth every day? Are you praying? It’s so easy to fall back into the pit of self-reliance and stop relying on God! Don’t do it! Read! Pray! If you aren’t, then you’re not equipped for the barbs that Satan is going to continue to launch at you. Those arrows are flaming and once you’ve shed your strongholds Beelzebub most definitely will do his level best to put you back right where he had you before. Fortify yourself with God’s Truth and store it in your heart, your mind, and your spirit. Whenever you feel your mind headed that direction stop and pray! Repeat scripture that sustains you and, as we are promised, the Devil will flee.
God’s promises are precious. His word is truth. Lay claim to living in freedom by asking God to identify your personal strongholds and asking Him to support you as He goes to war for you. Once you do that, as you know, the battle is won. I promise you…you’ll never, ever regret it!
God, I am just your instrument. I am humbled by how much you are and how little I am. I want you to use me for your good purposes, but I know I cannot be your able servant as long as I am weighed down, chained down, and fettered by thinking I can defeat Satan by myself. I acknowledge that these shackles are not of your making, but my own. Forgive me for not trusting enough when I need to quite simply shed them once and for all and lay them at the foot of the cross. Help me, Lord! There is an Enemy that wants to discourage me so I won’t be free. I trust that you will break these chains, because you are worthy of all glory, all praise, and all honor. You are so good to me and it is only by your grace that I can be free. In Jesus precious name I ask all these things. Amen.
Worship with Hillsong and tell the Devil Not Today! Let the light of His joy fill you up. The light of Jesus will cast out all fear!
Today’s post was written by Cindy Koopmans.
Cindy is married to her college sweetheart, Brian, for 38 years. She has three grown boys, two sweet daughters-in-law and a gorgeous little grand-man named Oliver Brian. Cindy teaches fifth grade at Sorrento Elementary and serves at the Mount Dora campus as their Worship Coordinator. Cindy’s passion is music, so her happy place is at the keyboard. She also enjoys reading (so many books, so little time), thrifting, and hanging out with Kramer the wonder Bichon. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life Mount Dora campus.