October 6, 2010

the *agony* of defeat

Every day the war wages on.  The battle between flesh and spirit.  Between goodness and evil.  Between Heaven and Hell.  Between God Himself and the devil.   Between rest and unrest.  There is a battle to disrupt the peace and tranquility of a life lived in obedience.  To disturb the calm of one's soul.  Your mind becomes his playground.  He's wanting to cause torment and confusion.  Wanting to deliver devastating blows to the ebb and flow of ones day.  Whether it be in fear, temptation, doubt, anger, unforgiveness, strife, unrest, sickness, discouragement, failure, sadness, distractions......whenever he can manage to slip the rug out from underneath us.....even in life's smallest disappointments and the little disruptions in our daily routine.  There is a constant barrage of arrows.  Aimed at US.  To throw us off course.  To get us to divert from the race we are running.

(Galatians 5: 7-9 The Message:  You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience?  This detour doesn't come from the One who called you into the race in the first place.)

It is imperative that we wear our Armor at ALL times.....where our very existence is in the midst of this battle....front and center.

I am ashamed to say that there have been many days where I have entered the battle naked. Not being prepared or ready for what was to come my  way. Trying desperately to survive and fight off the attacks and having nothing to fight back with or defend myself with. Not having my mind filled with the Word of God. Yes.  The Armor is both offensive and defensive. 
                                                      Ephesians 6:10-18
God is strong, and he wants you strong. 11So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. 12This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. 14Truth, righteousness, 15peace, 16faith, 17and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. 18In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

One day recently I fought hard all day long.  Without my armor. 
Doubt, fear, unbelief, insecurity, lies, anger, unforgiveness, guilt, feeling inadequate and incapable.  Distractions and disruptions upsetting the order of my day making it unproductive....a constant barrage of attacks.
Completely vulnerable and blindsided.   Ill-prepared.

I began feeling weary. 

No!....I won't give in.  

Isaiah 26:3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

I'm so tired of fighting these battles. I'm scared for the feeling that I don't have it in me to fight any longer.

He knows what you got in you girl.    He's put it IN you to fight.  He's put in IN you to keep going.  Be still ...and "KNOW" .  

Still I fight back.  Remembering every Word I can think of given to me from the Mouth of God Himself and speaking it back to Him knowing that the Word is alive...and sharper than any two edged sword.

Hebrews 4:12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

Kids fighting.  Chaos and noise fill the room.  A dish breaks. I'm tired.  Thoughts of discouragement and defeat fill my mind.  Those thoughts are not welcome.  I don't want them there.  

I fight for focus.  Clarity of thought.  Peace of mind.

But I'm so very weary and I just....can't....do it.
I collapse under the weight of it all and just cry.
I am angry.  I feel hurt.  I am tired and weary.  

...defeat on every level.  I failed.

I want to go to bed and start all over again. With promises of NEW grace.  NEW mercy.  A NEW day.  

Iron out my wings to fly again.  

But for now.....I feel the agony of defeat.   
As hard as I fight....I am disappointed in myself.  Not being consistent.  Wanting so much to be constant.  Strong.  Dependable.  Just feeling weak.  Incapable.  Not wanting to fight any more.  It's too much.

Then God steps in and paints me the most GLORIOUS picture.

He shows ME....lying on the ground.  Weeping.  Complaining about how weary I am.  Complaining about how hard the devil fought me that day.  Showing God all of my "injuries." Like a little child running to their parent after having been hurt.   Complaining that I've failed again. I see Him standing over me....and I hear Him say, "My love? ..... What are you doing down there!?  Please get up. This has not injured you!" 

He speaks to me lovingly....gently.....and helps me up.  Suddenly I saw everything in such a different light.  

Just like the man from Bethsaida.  
Mark 8:25 ONCE MORE Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. THEN his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw EVERYTHING CLEARLY.
A touch from our Master and we see everything so clearly.

But, Lord, I failed on so many levels!!!  "GET UP" 
I'm too weary.  "GET UP"
But don't you see?  I'm hurt!  "GET UP"

He showed me the battles I fought that day in the light of His grace.  He showed me defeat in light of His mercy.  He showed me that I had not been hampered or injured in any way by my failures in light of His compassion towards me.  His grace was enough.  I could keep going.  The blows weren't as devastating as I had "imagined" them to be.  The battle wasn't as big as I had imagined it to be.  He showed me my enemy in light of His MIGHT and POWER and AWESOMENESS.  I said, "THIS is the one who made me tremble?  THIS is the one who shook me to my core!??!"  All of the sudden...he didn't seem that terrifying.  His weapons didn't seem that skillful.  Instead they seemed weak and powerless.

Stand FIRM then.  RESIST the devil and he will flee.  Having done ALL---STAND

So I get up.  

Proverbs 24:16 No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don't stay down long; Soon they're up on their feet

I brush myself off.  
It was not a devastating blow.

2 Corinthians 4: 8-10 We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do: we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.

And I keep going.  

Hebrews 12:1-2 since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
2Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. 

Only THIS time!?  I have my armor on.  And all is well.

And I am confident in THIS...and There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6 ....Because....it is "He" Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]  Jude 1:24