Friday, October 20, 2017

His Victory from My Defeat

I am not invincible. Contrary to my own beliefs, I am still a mere man. For quite a long time, I have believed that I was more. I wore my faith and my own beliefs as a hide of armor. However, the 'my beliefs' part of my armor had a lot of  holes in it. You see, all beliefs must be forged and tested against the anvil called "The Bible," then, and only then can a belief be proven true or false. Without this, "beliefs" can't stand up to the wiles of the Devil, or the test of time. I had been filling gaps in my armor with these untested beliefs. Like clay patches on steel armor, I would lie to myself, to bolster my confidence, strengthen my resolve, and avoid the fact that I, like every other human, have weakness in my heart and mind. But clay doesn't adhere to steel. Lies don't fix weakness.

I, like the infamous Smaug (the Dragon from the beloved fiction tale "The Hobbit") had searched up and down my impenetrable hide, and found no visible flaws or imperfections. But, like Smaug, I had a hole, just large enough for an arrow to penetrate. I had unconsciously filled this hole with clay long ago, and commenced battle in that condition. I had won battles in this condition; however, the lingering pain of this weakness covered with lies remained.

Many of my friends knew there was a general area of weakness, amidst layers and layers of indestructible scales. They couldn't quite pinpoint the exact location, and I must confess, neither could I. Then came the cracks. Battle after battle, the enemies arrows struck closer and closer to the clay, beginning to chip it away. I started returning from battles against Satan feeling battered and bruised, weak and worthless. The clay was falling out. I would plead with God to fill this hole and repair this hide (still not knowing where exactly it was or why it was there). I wanted to get back to the battle, to continue to wage war on the "principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places." That's what a "strong Christian" does, right? But I was asking for the wrong things...

Then one day I departed the safety of the camp of fellowship with other believers, the ones who knew my weakness. I went about my routine that week, battling Satan and my flesh, thinking I stood strong for Christ. But this week wasn't like the rest. The Enemy knew the fault in my armor, and that the clay was failing. And now I was alone. He pulled back his bowstring and let fly. Soaring through the cool night air, it hit it's mark and seated steadfast into the soft flesh amid an otherwise immaculate armored hide. Realizing that the clay of lies had not stopped the arrow, and that God had not fixed this hole, I fell hard. I lashed out at God in anger and frustration, and I surrendered to the onslaught proceeding from the Enemy lines. They overtook me, and I allowed and embraced the defeat. They won this fight. As I lay prostrate on the battlefield, left for dead and humiliated, the only course of action I  could take was to crawl back to God and repent for my sinful actions and beg for His forgiveness.

The lie I had filled my armor with: I am never getting married.
The hole in my armor: a need to be loved, wanted, and for someone to be proud of me.
The fall: a spiteful attempt to "show God" that if I wasn't going to get married, then I could be as promiscuous as I wanted.

I admitted my sin to God first. Then I went to some of my brothers in Christ. This is where God began to birth true humility. One of my brothers in whom I confided, is married, and shared some of my struggle with his wife as they prayed for me. His wife is also an overseer in a ministry that I serve in. Five days after my fall, I found myself pinned in a corner. Sitting in her office, she was asking too many questions. She dug and pulled and pried, checking the scales of my armor, and getting uncomfortably close to my recent wound. Just a word of caution, She is famous for this. She can dig up  a random skeleton from the bottom of the ocean, find out their names and family relations and their favorite color with the questions that God has her ask! By His will, she has been strategically placed in my life as my sister, to ask these questions. For days like that day. She peeled back the scales of my armor and showed me that my problem wasn't a desire for a spouse, but the deeper desire to be wanted and loved and significant to someone. Then with the careful guidance from the Holy Spirit, she administered the Word of God like a salve to my raw and bleeding wounds.

See, I like Paul, had a thorn in my side. God's answer to my pleading for him to remove it? " My grace is sufficient for you: my strength is made perfect in [your] weakness." God wanted my reliance to be on Him! How could God be "for me" if I didn't need Him? Furthermore, He revealed that He "is not ashamed to be called my God!" My God is proud of me! I am His work, His creation, His adopted son, His prize.My significance comes from Him! And, Oh how I love Him dearly!
Too often we fill the holes in our armor with lies. These lies poison our minds with a false sense of security and hinder our walks with Christ. "I can never forgive..."" I cannot overcome this addiction." "I am not strong enough..." "I will never be able to.." We forget that we have weakness for a purpose: to show His strength! "I can never forgive.." God forgave you, He can help you forgive them. "I cannot overcome..." Take heart, Christ overcame the world, and He lives in you! "I am not strong enough.." God's strength is made perfect in your weakness. Let him be your strength. "I will never be able to.." With man it is impossible; But with God all things are possible."

We have no excuses. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" You don't have to fight alone! Lasting victory only comes when we enlist the Lord of Hosts. How do we enlist His help? Daily time with him. Hide His Word in your heart. Get godly counsel. Stay in fellowship with those with whom you can be real, who will pray with you and for you. Serve! Worship! Make loving Him the center of your life!

I am not invincible. Contrary to my own beliefs, I am still a mere man. For quite a long time, I have believed that I was more. I wore my faith and my own beliefs as a hide of armor. However, the 'my beliefs' part of my armor had a lot of  holes in it. You see, all beliefs must be forged and tested against the anvil called "The Bible" then, and only then can a belief be proven true or false. Without this, "beliefs" can't stand up to the wiles of the Devil, or the test of time. I had been filling gaps in my armor with these untested beliefs. Like clay patches on steel armor, I would lie to myself, to bolster my confidence, strengthen my resolve, and avoid the fact that I, like every other human, have weakness in my heart and mind. But clay doesn't adhere to steel. Lies don't fix weakness.
I, like the infamous Smaug (the Dragon from the beloved fiction tale "The Hobbit") had searched up and down my impenetrable hide, and found no visible flaws or imperfections. But, like Smaug, I had a hole, just large enough for an arrow to penetrate. I had unconsciously filled this hole with clay long ago, and commenced battle in that condition. I had won battles in this condition; however, the lingering pain of this weakness covered with lies remained.
Many of my friends knew there was a general area of weakness, amidst layers and layers of indestructible scales. They couldn't quite pinpoint the exact location, and I must confess, neither could I. Then came the cracks. Battle after battle, the enemies arrows struck closer and closer to the clay, beginning to chip it away. I started returning from battles against Satan feeling battered and bruised, weak and worthless. The clay was falling out. I would plead with God to fill this hole and repair this hide (still not knowing where exactly it was or why it was there). I wanted to get back to the battle, to continue to wage war on the "principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places." That's what a "strong Christian" does, right? But I was asking for the wrong things...
Then one day I departed the safety of the camp of fellowship with other believers, the ones who knew my weakness. I went about my routine that week, battling Satan and my flesh, thinking I stood strong for Christ. But this week wasn't like the rest. The Enemy knew the fault in my armor, and that the clay was failing. And now I was alone. He pulled back his bowstring and let fly. Soaring through the cool night air, it hit it's mark and seated steadfast into the soft flesh amid an otherwise immaculate armored hide. Realizing that the clay of lies had not stopped the arrow, and that God had not fixed this hole, I fell hard. I lashed out at God in anger and frustration, and I surrendered to the onslaught proceeding from the Enemy lines. They overtook me, and I allowed and embraced the defeat. They won this fight. As I lay prostrate on the battlefield, left for dead and humiliated, the only course of action I  could take was to crawl back to God and repent for my sinful actions and beg for His forgiveness.
The lie I had filled my armor with: I am never getting married.
The hole in my armor: a need to be loved, wanted, and for someone to be proud of me.
The fall: a spiteful attempt to "show God" that if I wasn't going to get married, then I could be as promiscuous as I wanted.
I admitted my sin to God first. Then I went to some of my brothers in Christ. This is where God began to birth true humility. One of my brothers in whom I confided, is married, and shared some of my struggle with his wife as they prayed for me. His wife is also an overseer in a ministry that I serve in. Five days after my fall, I found myself pinned in a corner. Sitting in her office, she was asking too many questions. She dug and pulled and pried, checking the scales of my armor, and getting uncomfortably close to my recent wound. Just a word of caution, She is famous for this. She can dig up  a random skeleton from the bottom of the ocean, find out their names and family relations and their favorite color with the questions that God has her ask! By His will, she has been strategically placed in my life as my sister, to ask these questions. For days like that day. She peeled back the scales of my armor and showed me that my problem wasn't a desire for a spouse, but the deeper desire to be wanted and loved and significant to someone. Then with the careful guidance from the Holy Spirit, she administered the Word of God like a salve to my raw and bleeding wounds.
See, I like Paul, had a thorn in my side. God's answer to my pleading for him to remove it? " My grace is sufficient for you: my strength is made perfect in [your] weakness." God wanted my reliance to be on Him! How could God be "for me" if I didn't need Him? Furthermore, He revealed that He "is not ashamed to be called my God!" My God is proud of me! I am His work, His creation, His adopted son, His prize. And, Oh how I love Him dearly!
Too often we fill the holes in our armor with lies. These lies poison our minds with a false sense of security and hinder our walks with Christ. "I can never forgive..."" I cannot overcome this addiction." "I am not strong enough..." "I will never be able to.." We forget that we have weakness for a purpose: to show His strength! "I can never forgive.." God forgave you, He can help you forgive them. "I cannot overcome..." Take heart, Christ overcame the world, and He lives in you! "I am not strong enough.." God's strength is made perfect in your weakness. Let him be your strength. "I will never be able to.." With man it is impossible; But with God all things are possible."
We have no excuses. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" You don't have to fight alone! Lasting victory only comes when we enlist the Lord of Hosts. How do we enlist His help? Daily time with him. Hide His Word in your heart. Get godly counsel. Stay in fellowship with those with whom you can be real, who will pray with you and for you. Serve! Worship! Make loving Him the center of your life!

Psalm 1 says" Blessed is the one who does not walk in the steps with the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sits in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, which brings forth his fruit in his season, whose leaf does not whither and whatever he does shall prosper.


 Walk with brothers and sisters who encourage you to "delight" in Jesus, and find your strength and sufficiency in Him alone. His strength and protection is a much better defence of our than our clay of pretence and lies. When we walk close with Him, anything can be overcome!


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