Are you battle-weary?
Do you feel as though you've been living on this battlefield for a long time, and that you'll never see the end of this trial; that it all feels so hopeless?
Maybe the enemy is looming over you, larger than life, and you see no way out, no plan for victory.
I've been there. Recently, in fact.
I've heard those pat answers and easy cliches that were meant to encourage me, but really just left me feeling not only empty, but now condemned for my lack of faith and weak-kneed discipleship.
Here's the thing we need to know: All Christians have moments where their knees shake and rattle.
All Christians have times when they have wielded the sword so long that their arms are crying out for a break and their bodies are screaming for rest.
There is no Christian in all of history who hasn't had such a moment.
When you read biographies of great men and women of God, the common thread that runs through all of them are great ongoing battles, some of which were waged until their dying breath.
But there's another thread we see in their stories—they didn't give up. They didn't give into the discouragement and despondency the enemy sought to plague them with.
They didn't give in to self-pity.
They didn't give in to the spiritual fatigue they faced.
The difference between a defeated warrior and a victorious warrior is their strategy in the war room. When we go to war without a strategy
- We have no direction
- We have no goal
- We have no plan for victory
A few weeks ago, following some intense prayer over a long, ongoing battle in my own life, God sent pastor from South Africa to our church in Zagreb, Pastor Mishael Carson from Kingdom Citizens Assembly International, to share a word in season that so directly spoke to me, that I am convinced that it was an answer to prayer.
It is with his permission that I share with you today points from his message and how they spoke to my own life and situation.
5 Strategic Ways to Maintain Faith When the Battle Is Long
David didn't defeat Goliath with man-made war strategies, he didn't defeat Goliath with an army ... he defeated Goliath on his own. This was a battle that had to be waged one-on-one.
My friend, there are times when God calls us to go one-on-one with our enemy. Our pastor can't defeat our enemy for us. Our friends can't defeat our enemy for us. Our husband can't defeat our enemy for us
It is time to get on our knees and go to war, one-on-one, in the power and might of the Holy Spirit and see the salvation of God for ourselves first-hand.
1. If the situation you are facing right now is not good, it is not from God.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
Many Christians unfortunately mistake God's will for fatalism.
When things don't go a certain way, we immediately attribute the outcome to "God's will" without realizing that there is an enemy out there with a strategy to defeat you and destroy us!
One of his tools is to trick you into accepting whatever comes your way as God's will.
Let's not forget that Daniel prayed day and night for 21 days, he refused to throw up his hands say, "Well, it must be God's will."
He continued to battle until he had a clear answer, and the angel delivering the answer had encountered heavy demonic attack.
How would this story have been altered if Daniel had given in to fatalism, looking at earthly circumstances to determine what God's will should be?
James clearly says that God only gives good gifts. Jesus affirms this when He told the multitudes that if they, as carnal men, give good gifts to their children how much more does our perfect, loving, heavenly Father give good things to His children who ask?
God cannot give us bad gifts. It is against His divine nature to give us bad gifts. If what you are facing right now in your life isn't ultimately for your good, it is time to go to war against the enemy, against that roaring lion seeking whom he may devour! Against that enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy!
2. If you have ever had a testimony of a divine intervention, you have a strategy to defeat the enemy.
Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
If God has come through for you before, He isn't going to forsake you now! In 1 Samuel 30, Saul's troops are worn out and tired. They are sent home after a long battle, but when they arrive at Ziklag, their city was burned and their women and children are taken captive.
Out of grief, the men with David turn on him and started plotting to kill him—the very people who, in chapter 29, were singing his praises.
Verse 6 says, "But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God" (1 Sam. 30:6c, NASB).
Throughout the Psalms, we read accounts of how God delivered the Israelites from their enemies; recounted testimonies of God did for them.
Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death."
There is great power in our testimony!
When we are battle-weary and tempted to lie down in defeat is the very time when we need to rise up and begin declaring what the Lord has done for us.
When we run out of things God has done for us personally, we turn to the Bible and begin declaring the mighty acts of God.
With each declaration of God's power, we drive the enemy back. We will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.
3. Life and death are in the power of your tongue.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Prov. 18:21, MEV).
David said to Goliath, "and I will strike you and take your head from you." What was he going to cut Goliath's head off with when all he had was a slingshot and five stones?
He didn't know how he would win the victory over Goliath, but he chose not to speak fear as the rest of the army had. He was going to speak in faith (see Phil. 5:8).
This isn't a magic pill. This isn't mysticism repackaged as fringe-Christianity.
This is an exercise in faith building; very much like the way strength training builds our muscles so that the rest of our body is healthy and strong, and in preparation for the day when we'll need to rely on those muscles for action.
Speaking faith-building words to our situation isn't a mystical way to change our situation; it is speaking life to our hearts and building our faith so that our heart believes what our head already knows about God!
Our bodies may be sick, but God is Jehovah Rapha—God our healer. Therefore, I am healed in Jesus' name.
Our bank account may be empty, but God is Jehovah Jireh, God our provider! Therefore, let the poor say, "I am rich!
4. There is power in the name of Jesus.
"There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). I don't know what your situation is:
- How hopeless it seems
- How dire it seems
Maybe someone you love has only weeks to live. Maybe your child has received a diagnosis for which there is no cure. Perhaps the bank is foreclosing on your home.
Maybe you are powerless against it. Perhaps you don't have the physical, earthly resources to fight against it and win, but you have the name of Jesus.
You have the name in whose power is life, salvation and victory!
We sing, "There is power in the name of Jesus...." but when face significant reversals, we cower in fear, we turn to doctors and banks; we turn to Google and books by philosophers and psychologists, its only when we've exhausted every earthly resource and we've come to the end of ourselves that we turn to Jesus.
Jesus should be our first and only option!
He is our only hope.
5. Faith is the opposite of fear
This is where I want to camp out for the next couple of weeks. .
I'll be honest, I've faced things in the past few weeks that have left me shaking ... sleepless for nights, weeping. If you are a subscriber to my newsletter, you know the ongoing struggle our children have had with language delay, cognitive delay and perhaps some other issues that may require ongoing therapy.
It's never easy as a parent to watch your children struggle.
Especially when there is nothing you can do to fix it.
This has taken me on a journey of faith and trust in God that I never knew I'd have to take, but I'm thankful for the journey.
I'm thankful for the broken road, because it's shown me that what I thought I knew about faith had nothing to do with what faith really is.
It's easy to have faith when things are going right, but when you are sitting across from your child's speech therapist and she is explaining to you that your child has significant cognitive delays and starts naming off the doctors and therapists your child needs to see. Suddenly, your faith looks really small in proportion to the giant looming in front of you, taunting you, yelling insults at God's name and reminding you of how small you really are.
But here's the thing. Are you going to listen to your giant, or are you going to listen to your God?
1 John 4:18 reminds us that as children of God, we have the love of God. And if we have the love of God, it casts out all fear.
Love and fear cannot exist together. Just as in 1 John we read that light and darkness cannot exist together. Why?
God is love and Satan is the author of fear. God and Satan cannot coexist.
Who are you going to listen to? God, who is love, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, who spoke into existence our universe and everything in it, who, in His book, wrote every detail about you and your life? Whose thoughts of you are to give you a future and a hope?
Or will you listen to fear, Satan, the lion who roams about seeking whom he may devour, whose strategy is to steal from you, kill you and destroy you?
If God is for you, who can be against you?
Though the battle be long and hard, in the strength and might of the Lord, we will be victorious!
Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her Bosnian hero. Together, they live with their two active boys, and she enjoys fruity candles, good coffee and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. Her passion for writing led her to author her best-selling book The Missional Handbook. At A Little R & R she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. You can also find her at Missional Call, where she shares her passion for local and global missions. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.
This article originally appeared at rosilindjukic.com.
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