Daily Devotional for Thursday November 30, 2006
Tired of Fighting the Battles of Life?
(1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Tired of fighting the battles of life and having someone like me tell you to "just have faith," or, "trust the Lord," or, "God will guide you." What do you do when you don't have any more faith, when you can't trust the Lord, when God is not guiding you? How do you really fight thru the battles of life? It is easy to sit back when everything is calm, relatively quiet, going as smooth as life can ever go, and tell someone who is in the heat of the battle to "trust God," or to "have more faith." When the attacks are coming relentlessly, when you are fighting one battle and at the same time a new one starts, and in the midst of dealing with that one, another one starts, and all of a sudden you find yourself consumed, what do you do?
As I write this Devotional today, I am literally in my foxhole taking a quick break from the battles, having had only about 2 hours sleep in the last 2 days. Over these last 7 years, I have learned how to fight the daily battles associated with being on the front lines of the Lord's work, while finding those pockets of "down time" each day, find a little time each day to keep my physical body in the best shape I can, get my 4 hours of sleep each night, have a meaningful relationship with my wife, and accomplish all that I need to for the Lord for that day. Of course there are times when the attacks come and the daily routine has to be forfeited in order to fight. It has been several years since the attacks have come with such intensity, in endless waves, and from many different directions at the same time.
Today, I want to help you how to fight when you are in the heat of battle, when the enemy is attacking you from all sides, when there is no time to even think, when you are weary from fighting, when you have thoughts of giving up, when you start to feel defeated, when you start to feel your strength ebbing away and you begin to lose hope, when simply gaining an inch is a victory. How do you fight when satan is coming after you with the sole intent of taking you out? I know today many of you are dealing with non-stop attacks from many directions. How do you not only fight..but win???
Here is the most important things to never forget, it is the key, PRAY! The boxer Mike Tyson actually said one thing in his life that was very profound. Tyson said you can train for a fight, prepare, study film, put together a great strategy, and do all you can to get ready. However, all the planning and strategy is gone the second you get hit in the mouth. I'm not saying we shouldn't be prepared for the attacks of satan, or spiritually train, or plan how we will fight. What I am saying is that the moment you get hit, it is no longer a hypothetical, it is really happening. How are you going to respond when satan hits you in the mouth?
Obviously, of the 40,000 or so people who contact Liveprayer every day for prayer, the vast majority are in the midst of great battles in their life. The biggest mistake I see people make, the biggest mistake I sometimes make, is forgetting to pray. Once the battle begins we start fighting. That is our survival instincts kicking in. That is why when you start to fight multiple battles on many different fronts, you get overwhelmed, fatigued, frustrated, and eventually despair sets in, hopelessness sets in, and soon you begin to think about where to run and hide.
I can't stress enough that your first response MUST BE PRAYER! John 15:5, "without me you can do nothing!" When we are weak, He is strong. God will fight for us. God will give us wisdom. There is victory in Jesus. These are all great truths but we need to first call on that name above all names and ask Him to help us. We need to ask Him to make us strong! We need to ask Him to fight for us! We need to ask Him for wisdom! We need to declare that there is victory in Jesus! If you don't pray you are already defeated. You can't do it on your own, nor do you have to. This is the time to make your faith real. You say you trust God, that your faith is in Jesus, now is the time to prove it. PRAY LIKE YOU TRUST GOD AND BELIEVE IN JESUS!!!
Will praying make the attacks stop, make the devil go away? Nope. It will probably make him come after you even harder. What it does do is gives you renewed strength and energy. It aslo helps to clear your mind. How you look at a situation is critical. You can either look at a situation as hopeless or simply a hurdle that needs to be overcome. The power of prayer is that it gives you the increased faith, the confidence, the ability to look at the attacks you are under not as hopeless but as hurdles.
The Bible says that if we ask God for wisdom, He will give it to us liberally. That means A LOT! One of the byproducts of not praying while in the battle is that you are trying to figure out how to fight, how to win, in your own mind. You need to put on the mind of Christ, not the mind of man! I can guarantee you that whatever plan God gives you will be better and more effective than anything you come up with. Knowing that, why do we fight and fight and fight until we are thoroughly frustrated because of the poor decisions we make as the battle is raging on. ASK GOD FOR WISDOM AND HE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU LIBERALLY! When is a good time for wisdom? Well, all the time, but especially when you are fighting the enemy on many different fronts and start to lose sight of what battles you are even fighting. Pray for wisdom and God will give it to you!
I love you and care about you so much. We all fight battles throughout the course of our journey through this life. We all have those wonderful seasons of peace. We also have those intense times when the attacks come from all sides at once. Those are the times when the faith we claim to have must sustain us and guide us to victory. As the battles begin to intensify, stop and crawl into your foxhole for a moment and pray, seek the Lord. Ask Him to give you strength, and courage, and wisdom. Ask Him to be your shield and buckler, your strong tower. Ask Him to fight for you. ASK HIM FOR VICTORY OVER YOUR ENEMIES!!!
The wonderful thing is God has already given us all that we need to fight with. In Ephesians 6 we read these great words, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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 saints.
You will notice there is one thing missing in God's armor. There is nothing for the back. GOD'S ARMY FIGHTS GOING FORWARD! GOD'S ARMY DOES NOT RETREAT! Cowards run, men and women of God stand and fight to victory!!!
I will be praying for you today. For those of you who are in the midst of the battle, facing great attacks on all sides, be of good cheer and know that the Lord is with you. Call on the Lord of hosts to stand and fight for you. Pray without ceasing. If you never prayed much before, now is the time to learn how to pray, and not stop praying!!! I will be praying for the Lord to give you His strength, His wisdom, and His victory over your enemies today. When the dust settles know that you will be standing as a living testimony of your faith in Jesus Christ!!!