From the church’s devotional book found in the lobby from yesterday’s devotional … “Words can hurt or heal, bless or blister, destroy or deliver, tear down or build up. The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:2) Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of a message meant to murder. “You’re not smart enough…thin enough…fast enough…good enough…a real Christian wouldn’t think such things.” (have you heard things like this?) You speak life when you say, “You matter to me. I like you just the way you are…your life counts. You were created for a purpose. God loves you. You’re incredibly valuable to Him.” You can become the voice of God’s grace over others and over yourself when you speak such things.
Warfare rages around you and at you. The enemy speaks foul things against us daily. We have to fight back. We fight back with truth. He twists and lies and we start to agree with him in the small, subtle things. It gives him a foothold, an entrance. He will exploit that entrance. He’ll take a small, subtle thing you agree with and he’ll magnify it. Stop it at the entrance. When you start to hear these lies like “you’re not smart enough” or “you really don’t matter”, stop it right there with the truth. Call it out. “No. That’s a lie. You’re a liar. I am worthy. God loves me. He made me and he delights in me. His Word says I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. He made me for a purpose…a divine purpose. I am a powerful warrior with God behind me. My life counts. I am valuable to the Lord Most High.” When a cheap shot attack and lie comes at you, speak power and truth right back at it. Renounce it. Don’t agree with it. Negate it and do that with the Word of God. You’ll see a change in how you see yourself and how quickly the negativity can turn. If you don’t fight it, it will sneak in so be “on alert”. And…fight.
For next week, please read chapters 8 & 9. Here are the notes from today…
John describes it sometimes coming as a fog, foam or marsh mellow. It is this thick oppression that comes over you like I experienced last week. The enemy knows how to work you. He reads your mail. He knows your weak spots, wounds and where you are vulnerable and he’s coming after those places. John’s agreement of “It’s all up to me” – he said it “isn’t an agreement“, he raged, “It’s the truth!!”. Morgan was there to say, “I think that’s the issue.” This points to the need for a band of brothers and why you don’t need to do life alone. You need good men, strong men, Godly men in your inner circle – men who can look you in the eye and know something is not right.
Warrior training is learning to bring your strength against this despite how you feel or how real/true it appears. Break the agreement. Renounce the agreement. Ask the Father to take it away and forgive you for giving into the agreement and believing the lie.
If you don’t break these agreements, they can literally ruin a decade of your life or in that man’s case with his agreement of “I’ve married the wrong woman”, it can rule an entire life. They start small. We make agreements all the time. Again…they start small. Don’t give the enemy a foothold. He’ll take a foothold left unattended and wreak havoc. We all have these agreements – agreements with fear, with shame, with guilt, seduction, self-loathing, “I’m just tired”, “I always screw up”, etc.
Craig made an agreement to “avoid the wacky” – the wacky of conversational intimacy with God, warfare, having a good heart, etc. He sees that living with this agreement has shaped so much of his life. God came to him and said, “Craig I’m not asking you to be wacky. What I’m asking is for you to follow me. Don’t try and control this. Just follow me.”
Morgan – the first time he heard this, he thought it was out there. He never heard this in theology classes. It felt true to him but he needed to push into it. He got alone with God and read through the book of Mark. Spiritual warfare is all over the book of Mark. Deep spiritual warfare. It was real back then, it is real now. Later, God nudged him with Morgan’s agreement over his self-hatred. He picked up this pattern in his life of his wife disappointing him, he’d get mad and then he’d get angry at himself… “you’re better than this”. And this rage would cover over him about himself and then he’d go silent and that presented all kinds of issues in his marriage. He noticed he was always getting sick at these boot camps and the men were praying about it and John asked him, “How are you doing with the self-hatred thing?” Morgan – “Oh I’m doing fine with that.” John – “how do you feel about your body?” Morgan – “oh, I hate my body, I always have”. John – “that’s a problem”. Morgan had to renounce this long agreement he’d had about his body and his hatred of it.
Bart’s plane crash and his reaction as plane was slamming into the runway – pounding his fists on the dash saying “you worthless piece of shit”. As they later unpacked that, Bart said that his older brother used to beat him up a lot and as he was doing it, he’d say that phrase to Bart. Bart had a profound agreement buried deep in his soul that only surfaced after an accident.
These things, if left unchecked, run deep.
1 Peter 5: 8-9 – “Resist the devil” James 4:7 – “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
You have a warrior heart for a reason. You’re going to need to fight. The passivity, checked-out, “Oh I don’t know” or “I don’t want to deal with this, why bother?” That will never set you free. Breaking agreements, fighting against this and taking a stand. That will set you free. The way God trains warriors is to put them into battle. Most guys look at life and interpret what is happening as God abandoning them. He hasn’t abandoned you – this is war.
One of the enemy’s most effective tools has been religion. Religion that veils, that takes out the heart, takes out masculinity, religion that clouds spiritual warfare, guys who’ve spent their entire lives in church and never heard the voice of God … that’s a problem. Church is supposed to help you to God not numb you to God. Jesus was in constant conflict with the religious leadership – the highly religious. The religious “fog” has taken the church out. Look at Galatians – after a short while of Jesus, they turned back to the law, the highly religious law.
Bottom line is this – don’t give the enemy a foothold. You’re inviting him in to do great damage to you.