Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
I don’t know about you, but my battle feels fiercely physical. The pain that I struggle against every day. The flare-ups I live with on a regular basis. Trying to cope with symptoms that never go away. It’s an intense physical battle, and it’s easy to give up altogether.
Yet, God says our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
I had to think about that for a minute before I realized the incredible truth buried within these verses. Even though my physical battle feels intense, it’s my spiritual, emotional and mental battles that I have to fight the hardest to win.
When I am victorious in my spirit, and over the emotions that threaten to capsize me, and within the recesses of my mind where my thoughts try to undo me, I can withstand the worst of physical circumstances.
It makes me think of that story about the rebellious little girl is sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside. I may be laying down on the outside, but my inner spirit is standing my ground!
As I was reading through the new devotional Strong, Brave, Loved by Holley Gerth, I found these words:
The enemy of my soul isn’t simply out to make me have a bad day. Instead, he is trying to do something far more sinister: Make me ineffective in the kingdom. Weaken my faith. Quiet my voice. Make sure I cower in fear rather than stand in faith. (Holley Gerth, Strong, Brave, Loved)
The truth of Holley’s words brought a deep realization to my soul. There are so many things I need to guard against, and when I don’t—it’s a life or death battle. A fight that Satan intends to finish, and the importance of my victory goes so far beyond me—it influences the ones I love. If I lose, they will not know how to win.
Stand firm, dear heart, stand firm.
I must stand firm. Even when I feel weak. Even when I think I can’t make it. Even when the enemy of my soul convinces me the that the end is near and that I am not the victor.
The words I speak to my own soul today, I will say to you, as well: Stand resolute in your faith. Stand strongly tied to God’s truth. Stand your ground, even when the battle is fierce, and you think all is lost. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t even let Satan see you sweat, because he’s going down, and he knows it.
“Here’s the good news: We aren’t fighting alone. God is with us, for us, and on our side. He is even more committed to our victory than we are.… We just have to be willing to join the battle.” (Holley Gerth, Strong, Brave, Loved)
Sometimes we don’t even know we’re in a spiritual battle, but that’s what this is, dear friend. It’s a spiritual battle—a fight to the death. And whether or not we win will affect everyone around us. If I lose my battle, my daughter, who’s just been diagnosed with a chronic illness, will not know how to win her battles. If I lose my ground, my husband, who’s also just been diagnosed with a chronic illness, will give up altogether. If I lose, the ones who look to me for strength and guidance will instead find that a tragedy has taken place:
She gave up. She didn’t take every thought captive. She didn’t remind her body that her spirit was in charge. She didn’t go every day to the only One who could have strengthened her soul, and she lost.
The battle is intense, and if I don’t rely on God’s truth and power, I will lose.
“We’re told to put on the armor of God, and there is only one offensive weapon in it: ‘The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ (Eph 6:17) ….When the lies come, we have to slash them with what God says instead.” (Holley Gerth, Strong, Brave, Loved)
My strength must come from His truth. My motivation must come from His Spirit. My capabilities must come from His work in and around me. And my victory will come when I stay close to His heart and remain convinced of His love.
“What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?….Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ….No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39, NIV)
Here’s the amazing truth: I can win when I rely on God’s strength, when I find my hope in His promises, when I believe in His word, and when I stand my ground!
We can win. So, when doubts about God’s love and goodness try to make us lose our faith in Him, we can rely on the truths we find in His word, and we can stand our ground. When circumstances seem to crush us into the ground, we can hang on to the promises we find in the Bible, and we can stand our ground. When our victory seems unsure and our lives seem to hang in the balance, we can stand our ground.
“We don’t have to believe the enemy. We’re not weaklings. We’re warriors. So, let’s stand firm. Raise the sword of truth. Never surrender our joy. It’s time to fight like women who belong to the God who can never be defeated!” (Holley Gerth, Strong, Brave, Loved)
Stand firm, dear heart, stand firm!
Standing firm with you,
Disclaimer: The author and God-Living with Chronic Illness do not receive any compensation for references to specific people, books or websites. The ideas posted are not intended as medical advice and should not be taken as such in place of your physician’s recommendations. You are welcome to share this post to those you know that may benefit from reading it, but please respect the copyright privileges of the author.
Laurie Miller is a wife, mom, nurse, and patient who lives with chronic illness and pain. She blogs at God-Living with Chronic Illness, a website dedicated to providing spiritual encouragement and resources for those living with chronic pain or illness. She is also a chronic illness coach who provides chronic illness education and guidance to help people learn to manage their chronic illnesses and find a level of health they haven’t been able to achieve on their own. For more information about coaching opportunities, contact Laurie at Godlivinggirl1@gmail.com.