Engaging in Spiritual Warfare
Praise the LORD, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. - Psalm 144:1
I am a huge boxing fan. For a period of time, I took boxing lessons. What motivated me to sign up in that season and get in the ring was a very real season of encountering heavy spiritual warfare.
It was 2016, and although I had been walking with God for sometime, I had never encounter the opposition and relentlessness of the enemy until then. For the first time in my life, I started to feel the jabs of an enemy looking to steal, kill and destroy my sanity, my faith, and my family. Prior to then, my response to challenges and difficulty was to retreat into my feelings and to pray for God to protect. However, it was in that year that He told me if was time to learn how to fight back.
One night, the Holy Spirit impressed it on me to watch the 2002 movie 'Enough'.
(Yes, the spirit of the living God wants to teach me something through a movie)
The movie is about a working-class woman named Slim (played by Jennifer Lopez), who marries a wealthy and successful contractor named Mitch (Billy Campbell). Slim’s dream ideal of this perfect life and perfect husband is shattered when he becomes emotionally manipulative and physically abusive, forcing her to flee the marriage with their daughter in tow. She then continues to stay on the run, moving from place to place and changing her identity to escape his increasingly obsessive nature.
Mitch stalks her life, freezes her funds, dispatches lethal henchman to intimidate those around her and to put an A.P.B. on them.
After finally settling into a place and believing that she and her daughter would be able to have solace and rest, Mitch finds them and attacks her. Yet, again she has to flee in fear and for her life, which turns out to become the final straw.
Slim decides it’s time to learn some self-defense. Instead of staying in a continual state of fear and anxiety, she decides its time to go on the attack and fight back. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
I won't lie, the acting it TER-RI-BLE, but the concept is incredible and it was what I needed to see in that season.
As I watched this, the Holy Spirit was downloading this revelation. Mitch represented how Satan works. He seeks to kill, steal, and destroy our lives. Through fear and intimidation, he stays on the attack. Looking to wear us down emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially until we are completely burnt out, depressed, losing our minds, unsure of who we are, and in a constant state of always expecting the worse.
Slim was ONE woman. Mitch’s child’s mother. And yet, he hired 3-4 hitman to go after her and find her so he could continue to make her life a living hell.
I can speak from the premise of my experiences that at times it has felt like there are hit-men (demons) sent out into areas of my life sometimes all at once; to attack my family, my finances, my relationship status, my integrity, my business, etc. Like Slim, I have thought running has been the best thing and the right thing to do.
Whatever you do not confront continues to persist in your life. Until you get to the point where you say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, put on some gloves and start punching back, this thing (whatever the situation is for you) will continue to show up.
Maybe your thing is an unhealthy relationship...
Maybe your thing is a financial issue...
Maybe your thing is a family drama...
Maybe your thing is negative thinking...
Maybe its a cycle of sin...
You have to get to the point where you, yourself, are tired of the same ole, same ole.
Slim hired a trainer to teach her self-defense, but what I noticed was the mental conditioning her coach did with her. He impressed upon her to consider every blind spot, every open door, and worst-case scenario to teach her to strategize and think ahead. She needed to find the reality of potentially fighting for her life, even if it meant fighting until death.
Here’s my favorite from their dialogue:
Instructor: Can you lose?
Instructor: Can he hurt you?
Instructor: Even though he's bigger...
Slim: He's a lot bigger...
Instructor: Even though he's stronger...
Slim: He's a lot stronger...
Instructor: So how do you win? How?
Slim: I attack.
Instructor: And what do you do after you attack?
Instructor: Why nothing?
Slim: Because I never stop attacking.
Strength is seeing your opponent as an opponent, and knowing exactly who our opponent is.
Ephesians 6:12-14 tells us that our battle is not physical and with people. Our battle is taking place in the spiritual realm.
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Yes, this enemy is well trained. Yes, he can appear ‘bigger’ at times. Yes, he can trick you into thinking he’s even stronger. Yes, he can try to manipulate you into thinking you'll never get through this. However, strength is also ascertaining that YOU cannot LOSE, your enemy CANNOT HURT YOU, you WIN by staying ON THE ATTACK versus being a victim to the attack. As a Christian, you have authority to trample on snakes and scorpions. In Luke 10:19, Jesus told 70 returning disciples rejoicing that demons were subject to His name: “Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Instructor: You're down, lying there seemingly beaten. Please hear me. Hold onto my voice. He's standing over you. He thinks he's won. And as sure as he's a coward, he will try to kick you. But because you know what he'll do, you're smiling inside.
To my readers, this was a message to me back in 20106 and hopefully passed along to you, to get in the fight. If life has been punching you around and you have been drained on all fronts, I am asking you to muster up your last bit of strength, put on some gloves, and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. No longer am I going to live with a defeated mentality, and neither should you.
WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS.
For a great book to read on the topic of spiritual warfare, check out 'Armed and Dangerous' by John Rameriz here.
Until next time,