Choosing Your Army
by Alia Fisher
Most of us would not willingly offer to be a moving target on a busy archery range. Nor are most of us willing to stand with an apple on our heads, while a talented knife-thrower pelts razor-sharp blades at that tiny piece of fruit! Yet we all agree to do these kinds of spiritual stunts every day, often multiple times a day. Have you ever thought about what you “volunteer” for in your thoughts? Volunteering involves choice! Unfortunately, there is a real spiritual battle going on every day in our thoughts, and instead of turning on our heels and saying “no way”, we do the exact opposite! We align ourselves with the enemy who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, instead of aligning with Jesus, who came so that we might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10, NIV). We swallow Satan’s’ lies about ourselves, often without question, and then live our lives accordingly. We become apathetic through the resulting guilt or shame or both, accepting defeat instead of grabbing onto the life-changing power of God. Usually, we do not even recognize our contribution to the problem. We are marching in the wrong army.
Guilt and shame are two of the most common weapons that Satan throws at the world, and they are closely connected. Shame, in essence, is anger or embarrassment turned inward, and attacks one’s character. Guilt occurs when a person takes on all responsibility for an outcome or event, based on their perceived flaws, real or imagined. We say things to ourselves such as, “If I had only done more, been better, said nothing, tried harder” etc… We can all relate to some or all of these statements. You might say, “But that statement is true”! Perhaps there are shreds of truth (or more than shreds) in your regrets, but be careful! Satan is called the “Accuser of the Brethren” for a reason. He specializes in accusing us by using half-truths. He takes something he can use against us and he twists it to appear fully true until we completely believe it. Thus the lie repeatedly comes back to haunt us and we can never totally let go of it. That small piece of truth tucked neatly inside becomes all we see.
There are several other huge flaws with taking on guilt and shame. First, there are usually multiple people that bear the responsibility for an outcome. It is ridiculous for one person to take on everyone’s mistakes! Second, guilt and shame do absolutely nothing to change the situation. If you want to do something to make a situation right, wallowing in self-regret is immobilizing and only hurts you. Rarely, if ever, is it a catalyst for growth. Third, when driven by guilt or shame, we basically do not believe that God is bigger and mightier than our faults, weaknesses, or outcomes. These dual enemies are the perfect way to keep people from fully trusting in a loving God, who is in control over what happens, even when we do fail. And Satan wants us to keep punishing ourselves, because it keeps us from living a free, victorious life in Christ. Romans 8:1 (NIV) declares, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. We keep stopping short of God’s blessing and power. And we become stagnant in our faiths and ineffective for His Kingdom. Nothing like soldiers who are sleeping!
So it is time to align with God, the One who loves us and wants to use our shortcomings to display his strength! We have a choice, and it’s a very important one. We can choose to keep walking in defeat by allowing our minds to align with Satan’s lies, or we can reject our usual approach and choose to trust in His forgiveness and immeasurable power to make all things right. We are called to walk by faith and capture every thought for Christ. This is not a figurative statement, but a fact. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) we read, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. What does this look like on a practical level? It means asking God to reveal the lies you are holding onto. It also means praying scripture passages that counter the lies. Lastly, it includes making strong verbal affirmations of both God’s truths and your trust in Him. When you stand firm and trust, the enemy’s hands literally cannot hold on to you anymore. Does it take faith to believe this to be true? Absolutely! Will he answer those who place their trust in Him? ABSOLUTELY!!! It is time tosubmit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NIV).
What do you feel would help believers align with God the most?