By Debbie Dean
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13 (NLT)
Have you seen or experienced any miracles from God lately? Have you heard the voice of the Holy Spirit calling out to you for your attention? When’s the last time you woke up and thought to yourself, “That’s it! Today’s the day I go to battle with God to defeat the enemy of our souls!” I would dare say that all too often, for me, these thoughts are not my first and therefore I have missed out on seeing or experiencing the miracle or hearing the call of the Spirit. Often I wake up, do my devotions and say a prayer, but right away start planning the day. What has to get done to be ready for next Sunday? Who needs a call or an email today? There’s a big project, service or event coming up that needs a lot of work and attention. These thoughts and plans can overwhelm my mind and distract me from what God is actually doing around me. In fact, I can also be completely oblivious to the fact that the enemy is using the busyness to distract and exhaust me from the work God actually has for me to do.
Such was the case back a few years ago when I was still serving in a church in Maine. The senior pastor had retired and the interim pastor never came. Just didn’t show up. It was up to me to support the elders and governing board members as they tried their best to oversee the church. I was overseeing all the ministries of the church – which had been my job for 12 years prior – and now I was also preparing sermons just about every week. I was doing visitations, meetings and anything else that came up during the week. It was a very busy time. I was quickly burning out and needing a break. Why? Because I got caught up in the doing and forgot to stop and allow the Holy Spirit to fill me up. He supplies the power we need to move forward. He has the best plans and knows what needs to be done far better than I do.
One Saturday night I woke up in a cold sweat. I couldn’t breathe well, I felt sick to my stomach and the walls felt like they were closing in on me. It was the start of a 3 hour panic attack. I prayed and called my Dad to pray too. My mind was spinning and all I could think was that the position I found myself in at the church had no end in sight and I couldn’t do it anymore. I needed help and reassurance. That’s when I really let go and asked God to take it all. I didn’t have the strength. It was then that I heard God say, “Finally”. I had been going to battle in my own strength every day for months and I really was done.
The enemy wanted me to quit. He wanted me to burn out and not continue on. There was a battle raging for my attention and he almost won. I hadn’t put on the Armor of God as often as I should. I started to rely on my own strength and knowledge and not on Gods wisdom and strength. I couldn’t see the battle, but boy did I feel it. When I had nothing left I turned to God and His Word. I finally picked up the sword. I was able to go back to sleep at peace. The next day I got up and went and shared the words God had laid on my heart. He was with me the whole time, fighting on my behalf when I couldn’t. I just finally remembered to join Him and allow Him to lead. It was His church and all He wanted me to do was love His people. That was my calling, my job. That I could do with His help.
What is the enemy trying to keep you from today? How is he distracting you from all that God has called you to? Remember there is an ongoing battle for your attention and trust, even after the battle for your soul is won. “Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.” (Eph. 6:13) God equipped us with His Holy Spirit and His Word so that we would not try to live this life alone. He never expected us to go it alone. Remember what Jesus said in John 14, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.”(vv 16-17a) Put on your armor, God’s Armor, every morning before you start your day. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and protect you. He will, but you have to let Him.