How did that go so wrong? I thought to myself as I lay in bed, recalling a conversation that had left me discouraged.
Has that ever happened to you? Words that were meant for good get twisted in the hearer’s mind and you’re left feeling defeated?
My friends were going through a rough patch, and my heart hurt for them. I have found so much comfort in the church. I don’t know what I would do without the Sunday sermons, friends who genuinely care about me, and God’s Word held high and spoken into my life! This seemed to be the perfect time to invite these friends to my church.
I mustered up the courage and asked, “Would you like to join us for our services tomorrow?” The words were spoken. The invitation was a sincere desire to share in one of my most intimate experiences. I KNEW where my friends could experience the peace that passes all understanding.
I was met with full-on resistance. “Why does everyone think you have to go to church to believe in God?!” I was taken aback and didn’t know how to respond. My simple invitation had been twisted and left me feeling as if I had done something terribly wrong. I couldn’t tell you what came next, but it felt as if my spirit was taking one blow after another. I wanted to disappear. I wished I could inhale the words back into my body and swallow them deep into my being!
And then, in the middle of the night, the guilt, shame, and discouragement began bearing down upon me. The enemy thought he was winning this battle. But God. His voice is gentle, not accusing. He reminds me, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1) No condemnation. This voice I heard, the guilt and shame, must not be from the Lord. It was tearing me down, not building me up!
Why did I allow the enemy to throw his condemning darts my way? Isn’t he the father of lies? (John 8:44). He would certainly throw them, but I didn’t need to receive them, for “greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world,” (I John 4:4). “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment,” (Isaiah 54:17). I felt faith rise up with each scripture the Lord brought to my memory.
My discouragement vanished, and I prayed for my friends. I asked God to bless them and draw them to him, that they might experience grace, hope and peace.
I am reminded of the words written in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; “For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
To fight the enemy, I need God’s Word. Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the armor of God so that we are able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Verse 17 commands us to take with us the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. I mentally dress myself for battle with the belt of truth, the gospel of peace upon my feet, the breastplate of righteousness over my heart. There. Now I’m ready to stand.
What is the accuser speaking into your heart and mind today? Where is he wearing you down and keeping you awake at night? I promise you that God has the Word to speak into your situation. You might start with Romans 8:1 like I did and know in your deepest place that God does not speak words of condemnation. He will always encourage and uplift you. He is gentle, kind, and full of mercy. It is “the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance,” (Romans 2:4).
If the voice of the accuser is ringing in your ears today, ask the Lord to show you his truth. Lean into Jesus. Take your thoughts captive and allow God’s Word to sink into those deep places and bring healing and hope to your situation. He absolutely will.
Father God, help us to stand against the wiles of the enemy. Show us how to take our thoughts captive and bring them into complete obedience to you. Speak your truths into our lives that we may become more than conquerors, as your Word says in Romans 8:37. We love you and surrender our wills to align with yours. Thank you for your Word and the power to overcome! Amen.