Spiritual Warfare

This week I was thinking about spiritual warfare. There are times in life when we are in a very real battle with the enemy’s lies, attacks, and assignments against us. In this season in my life, I’ve found it is possible to fight hard on the battlefield, but still get wounded and hung up by the enemy. Maybe it’s not supposed to be that way, but how often does life unfold like it’s supposed to?

The Wolverine

There’s this scene in The Wolverine that came to mind this week when I was thinking about spiritual warfare. Logan, aka Wolverine, is advancing into a town to free a captive, but he’s up against a ton of black-clad ninjas archers on the rooftops. As Logan advances down the street, every ninja shoots him with an arrow that’s tethered to a cable. He’s hit with dozens of arrows and they lodge into his back–effectively tying him to each archer. 

With each arrow, his forward progress slows, until eventually he is pinned, arms stretched wide, completely suspended by the tethered cables lodged in his back. He can go no further.

Have you ever felt that way? Trapped by the tethered arrows of the enemy or maybe even arrows of your own design? 

Arrows of Fear and Doubt

For me, a lot of the arrows that have hit squarely and lodged deep involve fear. Fear that God isn’t who He says He is, faithful, provider, comforter, rescuer. If you were to ask me if I trust Him, my answer would be “absolutely.”  But that is often a choice I make, even in the midst of doubt. I choose to believe His faithfulness, His goodness toward me–even if I don’t feel it. Do I walk every second of my life out that way? I wish! No–instead I keep coming back to His faithfulness, reminding myself of His goodness.

There’s not a Christian alive or in Heaven who hasn’t had to wrestle their own fear, doubt, sin habits, and untamed thoughts down to the mat. 

What do we do when we are faced with the arrows that are lodged deep, tethering us to our old way of thinking and living?

The Sword

In Hebrews chapter eleven, Paul records the numerous giants of our faith that have endured hardships and testing. They held tight to God’s promises and chose Faith instead of Doubt. It wasn’t easy, but they made a choice–just like we have to.

Paul goes on in Hebrews 12:1-3, saying this, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…consider Him…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

The arrows of the enemy are something we have to “throw off.” 

To do that, we use the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and prayer to dislodge the enemy’s arrows and cut the tethers that tie us to doubt and sin.  Check out Ephesians 6 to learn how to put on the whole armor of God for battle.

Also, in the passage in Hebrews 12, we’re called to fix our eyes on Jesus and consider Him so that we don’t lose heart. 

We keep fighting minute-by-minute, day-by-day as we keep looking to Jesus for grace, strength, and courage to resist the enemy. Without looking to Jesus, we’re all like Logan. Wounded, bound warriors who forgot we never could win on our own strength–no matter our skills on the battlefield of life.

Take courage this week. I’m praying for you to keep fighting and looking to Jesus for your strength. I would love your prayers as well, that “words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel…that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.Ephesians 6:19-20