Last Saturday my alarm did not wake me up. Instead, I was awakened before sunrise by the dampness underneath and quickly jumped out of the bed. I was much too late to salvage my sheets and stood there in utter shock. I am taking my medication. I am doing my very best to avoid these spasms. As I stood there holding back tears the spasm continued and I had to sprint to the bathroom. I found myself on my hands and knees mopping the wood floor, scrubbing my carpet and cleaning my sheets. Immediately I felt the shame well up inside me as the lies assaulted my mind. You are gross, nasty, and filthy. The enemy.
On Monday I took the day off to work on my Seminary schoolwork and in the middle of studying Exodus I decided to take a break. I grabbed my dog’s leash and Brit grabbed the other one. We sat out for what we hoped was a nice stroll. Brit said she heard me scream and then to her horror I went flying in the air and my puppy proceeded to skip rocks with my tiny frame. I stood up with dirt caked to my face and little pieces of gravel lodged in my hand. I threw my hands up and immediately turned to walk towards the house. Frustrated that my legs could not hold the weight of a dog that fought back. Betsy, you are weak and incapable. The enemy.
Yesterday morning I was talking to two of the godliest girls I know about the work God is doing in our community. We were recounting His faithfulness and begging Him to continue to move in our lives and to draw hearts to Himself. Yet, as we discussed the many lost girls we know and what God was calling us to do, my heart felt heavy and burdened. “Betsy, you have failed. You are a disappointment. They will never know Jesus and that is all your fault.” The enemy.
Last week as we passed out bibles for our Wednesday study at my house one of the girls received my pocket bible. It is pitiful looking. I laughed and said, “I love that Bible. I will never get rid of it. The cover may be gone and the pages may be messy but it’s precious to me.” In the spring of 2007 I bought that bible out of the bookstore at Liberty University. I was an insecure broken sophomore who was desperate for the life giving words between the bookends. I carried that Bible to Branson, Missouri, Charleston, South Carolina and Wake Forest, NC. It was stained with coffee, ink and tears. Many of the pages had folded together and the cover had fallen off a few years ago. Yet, it had smeared dated notes of His faithfulness and His work in my life. Yesterday, I came home for lunch and found my bible in a hundred pieces, ripped to shreds. My dog had decided to make it a mid day snack. I fell to the ground and wept as I held the shreds of God’s word in my hands. “Lord, why? She could have chewed anything else. Not this!” The enemy.
Beth Moore stated that, “the enemy will come after you ferociously.” Honestly, I always imagined Job like moments in his ferocious attacks. Yet, never really seeing how he daily robs me of joy, contentment, hope and peace. These events are not coincidence. My dear friend Elaine said last night that the enemy is cunning in his actions. It is not always massive painful darts that he throws. Sometimes it’s the little things. The lies. The distractions. The little moments that rob us, the cunning lies that deafen us to the voice of the Lord, the little wounds that eventually weaken us. I could not help but think how much he has stolen from me, just in the last week. Yet, I have let him.
For weeks I have been studying the armor of God. I have been laser focused on seeing where he is messing with me and where he is robbing me. Yesterday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I sat and cried out to the Lord “he doesn’t fight fair. He just won’t leave me alone. It feels like a constant poking in my sore spots.” Immediately the Lord spoke into my heart, “Betsy, stop living in fear of what attack is coming next. Stop feeling consistently defeated. He may not fight fair but he is fighting a losing battle. He is the defeated one. Quit focusing on the one who has lost and focus on the Victorious One!” A few days ago I said to some ladies “Oh, you are studying the armor of God. Be prepared for the enemy to attack.” One of my friends sweetly said, “we have Jesus! Don’t fear.” My God is victorious!
As I have scrubbed my carpet, picked gravel out from my hand, felt anxious over things I cannot control, and held shredded memories; I let the little wounds weaken me. I know there is a battle. I am aware of the armor needed. I am looking at the shield of faith and the breastplate of righteousness, not wearing them. I have not fastened the belt of truth. I have not put on the helmet of salvation. It lays unused along with the other pieces of armor. I have the knowledge but have forgotten the action. Is that you today friends? Have the little things in life been defeating you? Are the lies consistently playing over in your mind? Do you feel discontent, filthy, or broken? Are you leaving the armor to collect dust while you lick your wounds from his fiery darts? This is not living the resurrected armored life of Christ! This is living in defeat under the schemes of the defeated one.
Knowing there is an enemy and being aware of his schemes is not enough. We will only be left wounded and confused at the knowledge of his work. Yet... we have hope!“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Friends we are called and commanded to take action. To not be weakened by the little schemes but strengthened by the Great I Am. Lace up the shoes of the gospel of peace, fasten the belt of truth, strap your helmet of salvation, and slip on your breastplate of righteousness. Put on the armor, take up your shield and beseech the God of Angel Armies, for He is victorious and through Him we are more than conquerors.