I grew up with one sister in a home of quiet people who love to read books. My father is quite masculine and strong, but he was in the Navy and was generally gone serving the country about six months out of every year, which left three quiet women at home. When dad came home from sea, he usually had to remind all of us that maybe we should talk to each other at the dinner table instead of just read. I had no brothers to chase or wrestle, so to say that I am naturally non-violent and non-aggressive is actually quite an understatement. I did have one particular swim coach when I was a little girl who advised me to growl at the people in the lanes next to me before we got on the blocks, and I remember thinking that was the strangest idea I had ever heard. I never even tried one little snarl.
Then in college I met a viking from Texas named Eli. We met in the pool, on the swim team at the University of the Pacific. All my life I had kept my head down, chasing the black line at the bottom of the pool, but now I found myself captivated by number 11 on the water polo team. I had never watched a water polo game before I went to his, and could not believe how full of action and, well, violence it was! It is a game of non-stop splashing, yelling, and sprinting - and anything goes underwater. They all come out from the games black and blue. Being around him and his brother and their friends let me know that young men are constantly fighting and wrestling one another, just for fun. For me, that whole time was the beginning of seeing the world in a whole new way.
As we began walking with Jesus in college, we both began to realize some new things about ourselves. He learned that God had made him full of fight - not just to fight for any old reason, but because there truly are some things that are worth fighting for. I learned that having a quiet and peaceful disposition does not exclude me from the fight - if you love something, you must be willing to fight for it. We both learned that we are in a battle. Whether we see it or not, and whether we admit it or not, a battle rages all around us every day - the great battle for the souls of men and women everywhere.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… -2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
The scripture is plain and clear on this, as it is plain and clear that it is not a battle fought in the flesh, but rather in the spirit. We do not fight this battle with physical weapons like fists or swords or guns, but we do have weapons of a spiritual nature. Our most potent weapon is prayer - actually talking to God and making our petitions known to Him, and casting down arguments and high things in the authority and name of Jesus.
A few years ago, we had the incredible opportunity to tour ancient Ephesus. It is truly incredible - walking down the old streets, you can just imagine what life must have been like as the New Testament was written. You come around the bend, and there is what was once the great library of Ephesus. A little further on, you can stand in the great ampitheater that is told about in Acts 19. It was there that a huge riot broke out over the Christians in the city, and it says that the crowd screamed for two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” The Ephesians were furious that their livlihood of making silver idols of Artemis was being threatened by this new religion called Christianity. In fact, as we stood there in the ampitheater I was overcome with thoughts of how horrible and frightening that riot must have been.
Just then, the Lord spoke to me in my heart. “Look around.” I was sufficiently knocked out of my daydream, and looked around. “What do you see?” It was then that the truth sunk deeply into my heart - I looked around and all I could see were piles of rubble. That great city which was built on that ancient practice of worshipping the godess Artemis - a practice which flourished for many hundreds of years - is now just a ruin. Christian people, full of grace and truth, shared the Good News of Jesus in that city and prayed for stongholds to be broken, and God moved.
We, too, are in a fight - a battle for the souls of the people all around you. Resist the two temptations of fighting silly fights that do not matter at all, or of just ignoring the fight altogether. Realize that you might be the only person in the world praying for some of the people in your life. What is the stronghold that you or someone you love are facing? It could be an addiction, an idol or a lie, or any number of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Pray and tear that thing down in the spirit - prayer was God’s idea and He invites us to take part in the battle. Join in the great fight and pray with dilligence and faith and hope that things can change and that God will move.
“When you plead the name of Christ, you plead that which shakes the gates of hell and that which the hosts of heaven obey, and God Himself feels the sacred power of that divine plea.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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