I don't know about you but from the time I was small I have felt a spiritual battle I can't necessarily see with my eyes, but I still feel raging and going on all around me. I know how that may sound to some, but the reality is if we pay close enough attention to our hearts we can feel the battle between good and evil being fought for our souls. From the time I can remember I have known the name of Jesus. He wasn't an overlord, a tyrant, a judge waiting to throw the book at me or even a name I only heard during tough times, or the holidays. No, His name was, just as it is today, part of my everyday life. His name has filled me with not only love and compassion all while encouraging me and consuming my life with the courage needed to face the unknown sitting outside my door everyday. My relationship with Jesus is personal, real and authentic. I never feel insignificant in His eyes even if I feel that way in my own. My faith and my love for Him may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is mine. I guess the best way to describe my devotion is like this: In a world of Starbucks and coffee, I'm what you call an afternoon tea, Earl of Grey kind of girl. And the truth is, I'm imperfectly perfectly happy with that. Now because of my personal, one on one relationship with Jesus I can take His love for granted at times. Have I ever become complacent? Have I ever gone through the badlands, coming out beaten down and injured on my own, with my mind on myself and not my Savior? Absolutely I have and you know why? Because I am completely , 100% human. The truth is when I venture just outside the gates of His protection, it is because I've been listening to the enemy. Only when I start listening to the Keeper of the Gate by not continuing to "agree with the lies of the enemy and start fighting by believing the promises of God" do I begin to find my strength again.
As Christians and as followers of Christ, many times we think too much of ourselves and we boast of our own strength, not His. We forget it is not by our stripes we are healed, but by His. There is nothing inside His gates we have title to without His grace. And it is by His mercy we rise up each and every time the enemy strikes us down. We are never stronger than when we walk in His grace filled with humility facing the enemy at the gates. I know my truth, and when I am carrying His sword and shield, when I am walking with Him, not in front of Him, I do not walk into battle alone. Don't get me wrong, just because you're walking in the grace of Jesus Christ in no way means you've got an easy path ahead. In fact, quite the opposite. My life has been full of battles and fights with the enemy I never saw coming. Some of those battles were for my life, while others were for my integrity, and even more for my faith and joy. When it comes to our personal battles, most of them are fought on our knees. If we forget that, it's like leaving for the front lines without your weapon. You may falter, you may be afraid and you may even come home battered and bruised, but you're a warrior are you not? Warriors may retreat, but they don't give up. A warrior may stumble on the battle ground, but they don't back down. For those of you heavy hearted, seeing the enemy at the gate, you are not alone. Go on, pick up your sword and shield and go slay the dragon. Say to the enemy at the gate, "not today Satan, not today!"
Dr. Michelle Bengtson has a fantastic quote I love to remind myself of when the enemy starts banging on my door. She says this, "The enemy is looking for a door opened even a tiny crack to come back in and whisper more lies to you" You have to understand, it is not the physical battle, but the spiritual one that decides our fate. The devil knows he cannot overtake us physically until he first beats us down spiritually. If we don't guard our hearts, keeping watch then the enemy will slip in, banging on a door Jesus closed a long time ago. It is then when we are weak, he will try and convince us to open the front gate for his forces to rush in. But the truth is the enemy has to leave, and he knows it. Just the sound of the name of Jesus causes the demons to shake, and yes Satan to flee. Luke 10:19-20 from The Message (MSG) says this, Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” So when the enemy is at the gate, when you feel weak and vulnerable, remember, "The enemy wouldn't be attacking you if something very valuable wasn't inside you. Thieves don't break in to empty houses."
Most of you know my story, illness from the time I was a child, breast cancer, stroke, auto-immune disorders, low self-esteem, learning disabilities and the list goes on. From the outside the cards seem stacked against me, on face value anyway. But pushing the enemy aside, rejecting his lies and locking down the gate to my heart and faith I am a warrior, strong in God's mercy. Today, overcoming fear and by God's grace I am becoming the kind of woman that when my feet hit the floor the devil shakes. Maybe he even wets his pants a little knowing I'm up, sword and shield ready, walking in the strength of a mighty, powerful and awesome God. I can imagine that, giggling at the devil's expense a bit. I know I'm far from perfect, and I don't hide that fact. I am weak on my own, afraid and many times outwardly defeated. The spiritual battle is ongoing for my soul. The warfare I do not see is raging on, every day, every moment of my life, but the battle is truly already won. I have nothing to fear when I am walking boldly to the gate, shield up, sword ready with my Savior beside me. When I trust I am safe in the arms of Christ, that His grace is sufficient, the enemy at the gate falls back, running for cover. Deuteronomy 28:7 out of the Message (MSG) says this, "God will defeat your enemies who attack you. They’ll come at you on one road and run away on seven roads." And this I know is true, for my life is a living, walking testimony of this very truth.
So I say to you today, rise up, hold the gate and rest firmly in the ability of Jesus Christ to cover you, to defend you and to win the battle. True, you may not see the struggle, but you can absolutely feel the battle raging all around you. "The enemy is not after your money or your stuff. He wants your mind, your attitude, your heart, your faith, your peace. Understand that you're not being attacked over tangible things in your life, the enemy is fighting you over the things you can't see." And that is what Life Lesson #155 ~ The Enemy at the Gate is speaking of and trying to convey to you today. The battle is real, but so is the victory! Never forget as a Christian when you are facing the devil in sheep's clothing or blatantly in his true form you have the power of God to defeat him by the grace and blood of Jesus Christ. And when you ask yourself why me, keep in mind, "You never know how big of a threat you are to the enemy, until you start doing something for God." Go on, let your feet hit the ground, pick up your sword and shield, and go remind the enemy at the gate who he's up against!
"When God's warriors go down on their knees, the battle is not over. It has just begun!" ~ Unknown