Alright, so I had a very different post prepared for today. One about Jo March and writing. It was fun and insightful to write... but that's not what is needed this week. I want to share something a little more serious, a little more passionate.
Sunday evening I was talking to my mom about some of the things I've been feeling lately. How I've been feeling this cloud of doubt settle over me for a month or two now and how I couldn’t figure out why. I started to doubt my identity in Christ. I started to doubt whether or not I was one of God's children and for the life of me, I couldn't recall a single time God had moved in my life (which is insane because He has moved and worked so many times in my life). I couldn't remember a single time I felt the Holy Spirit. There were a few times I started to get a little nervous about the whole thing. I legitimately started to think maybe I've been kidding myself this whole time. That verse of how when Jesus returns, and some get to the gates of Heaven and says they were his, and he ushers them off saying that he never knew them kept ringing in my ears. That verse has always terrified me. I never wanted to be that person that got to the kingdom of Heaven and Jesus looked at me as if he didn't even know me and waves me aside. It was starting to slowly eat away at me. Not all day every day, not like 24/7, but enough to get to me. It was in the back of my mind a lot. I am so, so thankful though that I had created a rhythm of praying and spending time with God every morning right when I woke up. I prayed and then I would read a chapter or two of whatever book of the Bible I happened to be in. Even with the doubt playing games in my head, I without fail, read my Bible and communicated with God every day. I think that really protected me and helped me.
Sunday night, I had this realization that this doubt was unfounded. It was like a wake up call. Like Jesus saying hey, I don't know what you're talking about, I have been here all along, your identity is in Me. God saying, you are my daughter and nothing and no one can take that away from you. For months I couldn't remember a time when God had moved in my life or when I felt the Holy Spirit, but Sunday night it all came back to me. In The Pause Podcast (which I've been listening to daily) has been talking a lot about our identities as sons and daughters of God and in Christ and in one of the episodes I listened to lately, they were talking about how God has a track record. You can look back on your life when you don't feel near to Him, when you're experiencing doubt and list off all the times God came through for you and all the times you felt the Spirit move inside you. My record of God moments and Holy Spirit encounters came back to me on Sunday and I felt stupid, like how could I have forgotten all those times? It felt like they had been wiped clean from my mind and I really think that was Satan trying to mess with me. He will use anything he can to throw us off our paths, including doubt. I think he was trying to use my naturally anxious and overthinking nature to throw me off and plant seeds of doubt in my mind and heart. I'm thankful to God that I had prayer and His word daily to remind me and that Jesus reminded me of my identity in Him, that there's no reason for doubt because I am His and He is mine.
The reason I tell that story is because I said something to my mom while talking about all that on Sunday. I said, "I think Satan has swept over this nation with fear and hatred and anyone he can get his claws into, he has." My mom was like you need to write that down, you need to share that. So here I am, writing it down and sharing it. Spiritual battle has never felt so real and tangible to me in my whole life as it has in this single year. Satan will use anything to try and drag people down or throw Christians off course. He tried to use my doubt. He will try to distract you and tempt you and hurt you. He will deceive you at every turn. Make you think you're doing something for God when really, you're doing the thing furthest from what God has called you to do. It's insane how far he will go to get what he wants. That’s a scary thought, but I want to remind you (because I need the reminder too sometimes) that Satan can't take you from God because the minute you accept Jesus into your heart, you are claimed by Him. But Satan can definitely throw you off course and make your life miserable.
I won’t lie, I was afraid at first. My whole family was very cautious at the start of this year. But now? As the number of deaths decline? This is Satan taking hold of our nation and strangling it until there’s nothing left: no light and no Jesus. That’s what he wants. Jesus is a threat to him. He knows Jesus has already won the war. He died on the cross, taking all our sins upon himself and three days later rose again, crushing the grave and defeating Satan once and for all. Ever since then, Satan has been on a ticking clock. I imagine him like Captain Hook with that crocodile tick, tick, ticking following him everywhere, reminding him that he’s living on borrowed time and soon Jesus is going to come back and finish what He started. From the moment Jesus woke up and walked out of that grave, there’s never been enough time for Satan. For him, Jesus has always been coming back too quickly. He could come at any given time. I think Satan is desperate this year. Maybe he felt a shift. Maybe God was moving too much for his liking or Christians were starting to do too much good. I don’t know, all I know is Jesus won the war, but 2020? This isn’t just a series of awful coincidences all happening one after the other with no rhyme or reason. No. This was planned. This was prepared by the enemy to be released this year. Our entire nation is his battle ground. The pandemic, the racism, the fear and hatred literally running through the streets. This is his battle, and fear and hatred, doubt and deception? Those are his weapons. Satan has always known since Jesus conquered the grave that one day he’s going down for good. To him it’s just a matter of how many souls he can drag down with him. That’s what we’re fighting against. Jesus already won. We are already victorious. One day Jesus will return, and he will defeat the enemy once and for all.
But just because we know that doesn’t mean we should sit idly by and be complacent. Why should I have to speak out? Why should I have to pray bold prayers or step out in faith? Jesus has already won. So why should I have to do anything? Because we’re called to battle! Our first mission is to make disciples, to plant seeds in the hearts of as many as we can and let Jesus water and grow those seeds. We’re called to pray boldly and to step out in faith. Especially when there is a battle and especially when that battle is so clearly evident in this world. This whole year has been soaked in spiritual warfare and I’m afraid a lot of Christians were caught off guard. We were lulled into a sense of false security. We got comfortable. I’ve always hated when pastors preach about getting out of your comfort zones and walking into the uncomfortable in faith, something about those sermons have always irked me. But now I realize why they preached that. Because most American Christians are too comfortable. They won’t step out into the front lines when battle comes. They don’t even realize that this is spiritual warfare! They don’t even see it! Comfort and the deceiver has blinded them so much that they buy into everything the world tells them and they don’t turn their eyes and hearts and ears to our almighty and heavenly God. They don’t see the spiritual realm becoming so tangible, so real. It has broken through so heavily into this world. All you have to do is look at the news or scroll through social media. People are scared to leave their homes! There are people rioting and rampaging on the streets. Hatred and fear is spewed like a poison through every social media outlet and news station.
We are to be in the world, but not of the world. We are to be salt and light to the world. We are to be kingdom focused, not worldly focused. As Christians, we are not citizens of this world. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God. But I think a lot of people have forgotten that... They're so used to sticking to the status quo, so used to blindly trusting what the media and government has to say that they've forgotten that God is the highest authority. He is above all worldly influence, above the government and the media. My dad made this shirt for me the other day, it says faith over fear and that verse really struck me. It's such a timely verse. We're called to have faith over fear. While the world is scared and cowering and full of hate, blindly being corralled and shepherded by the world's standards, we are called to look beyond all that! We're called to seek out God's wisdom and truth in every situation and that means looking beyond what the government and the media says. Those two things are worldly and any worldly thing right now, Satan has got his hands on. Look deeper than that. It's an uncomfortable process, but isn't that what God calls us to do? To step out of our comfortable little bubble and live in faith?
Am I afraid of a virus that has a 99.78 survival rate? Absolutely not. I choose faith over fear. I choose to have faith in my God and faith in the body He made me and the natural supplements that He put on this Earth to feed my body and strengthen my immune system. I choose to fight against the hatred and division that is so prominent right now in this world. Instead of feeding into it, I want to speak life and share what Jesus has to say about division and hatred. Jesus loved and accepted all people. He came for the weary, the downcast, the outcasts, the hated and abused. He gave them love and healing and at the end of the line, He gave them his life to cover their sins so that they can be in relationship with God.
I write all this to say, Satan is prominent right now. More so than anything I've ever seen in my 22 years of life. We need to put on the full armor of God because this is a battle. We should have been wearing the armor all along in preparation, no one ever knows when Satan will rear his ugly head and wage against us, therefore we should be in our armor every hour of every day, asleep or awake, waiting with our swords clutched in hand to protect, to defend and to fight against him. But we got comfortable and our armor slipped. That's okay though because God gives us constant grace and for that I'm so thankful. You can put on the armor right now in the midst of everything.
So, I get annoyed when people say or write out these sorts of things and then just it at that. I’m a goal oriented and action steps kind of person, so I love it when people give practical, good advice on how I can do better or move forward. All I'm asking for you to do is to pray. Pray boldly. Pray consistently. Pray that God will call you out in faith. Pray for discernment and wisdom and that He will make the way known to you. Ask Him how you can help, what is your mission, what can you do to fight the evil in this world. Pray for our nation. Just pray for everyone and everything. And then, when God calls you whether it's to write a blog post or to spread encouragement on social media or to speak out loudly and proudly do it. Walk out and do it. Put on the full armor of God. In the Living Word daily and consistently.
I hope and pray that those who need to read this will read this. That God will use my words in whatever way He sees fit. I hope this post encourages you, I hope it convicts you and tugs on your heart and I hope God can speak through my words to you in whatever way He needs to reach you.
Have a wonderful Wednesday and a wonderful rest of your week!