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  • Writer's pictureJanean Tinsley

This Means War!

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word.” – Ephesians 6:17 (CEB)

I was alone but felt that I was surrounded. It was almost suffocating. I kept looking all around me, certain that evil was about show its face. But there was no one there. Fear and panic engulfed me. What was that verse again from the Bible? The one about armor? I couldn’t remember it.

As could only happen in a dream, I found myself transported from the room I was in to a church. And there it was – the Bible. My Bible. I threw myself toward it but kept getting pulled further from it. I wanted to scream but no sounds would come.

I awoke with a panicked heart. Looking around in the darkness of my bedroom, I realized that I was safe. But what did my dream mean? I had never experienced anything like that before. Usually, if I remembered my dreams at all, they were silly and vibrant. But this one was so real. So full of fear and confusion. I was physically exhausted from the battle I had just experienced in my dream. “Pray” was all I kept hearing as I sat quietly in my bed, listening to the rhythmic sounds of my sleeping husband’s breath. For the next 30 minutes, I stared at the cross next to my bed and spoke to Jesus. Tears flowed as I poured out my fears, failures and lost dreams.

The next day, I thought a lot about that dream. I realized that what I experienced that night was no ordinary dream. It was much deeper. It was spiritual warfare and I was fighting without my armor.

Matthew 4:15 says:

Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

How could I have allowed this to happen? I was invested in God’s Word. I tried to live it to the best of my ability. And yet, I allowed Satan to infiltrate. The past two years have been marked by one harsh blow after another. I had tried to keep a positive outlook on life but deep down inside I was a big ole’ mess! I was fighting these unseen forces and it was physically, mentally, and spiritually wearing me down.

As I prayed about what to do, God led me to some truths. I had been carrying around some anger, resentments and fears that needed to be dealt with. Otherwise, I was just inviting Satan in my life where he would take the Word of God and root it right out. Satan realized that negative emotions which stemmed from being hurt by someone I loved, concerns about finances, as well as frustration and hopelessness regarding circumstances in my life, had all built a barrier between God and me. The truth is, I’d grown weary of praying because if felt selfish and forced. My feelings overshadowed my faith and I’d been relying on my own advice for handling adversities, rather than seeking God’s wisdom. As a result, I’d given Satan the very thing he was looking for – a foothold in my heart. So much time focused on me and my “woes” had inadvertently smothered out God’s Word and His truths which could set me free.

The fact is, even though I felt utterly alone, I really had no one to blame but ME! God never left me or abandoned me. He didn’t ignore my prayers. He still caught every tear I ever cried. I just chose to wallow instead of wrapping myself in His Word. Deep down I still knew that only He held the power to make me feel whole again.

So why did it take a dream to get me to wake up?

I believe God used the stillness of my rest to wrestle with me with He did with Jacob. I believe He wanted me to physically understand that spiritual warfare is not just something that happened in Biblical times. It happens everyday. We must be ready at all times, just like a soldier. And I had let my guard down, which enabled the enemy to get in. I believe that this dream showed me what weapons I need to fight this daily battle. When I couldn’t reach the Bible in my dream, I felt hopeless. His Word is the sword to fight Satan and the stronghold he tries to make. Only God’s Word can defeat him.

But I also realized that I need to spend more time with God so that I can retrieve His Word from the depths of my soul, not just on a page. The more time I spend on my relationship with the Lord, the better I will know Him. It’s like any friendship really. If you want a close relationship, you take the time to get to know that person. If I am spending time with the Lord, Satan won’t be invited in! It’s actually quite simple.

A song by Big Daddy Weave has a great verse. It says, “Then You look at this prisoner and say to me son, stop fighting a fight that’s already been won.” This battle that I experienced in my dream was of my own doing. God is not going to forsake me to fight these fights on my own. He has already won them. He did it by conquering the cross. I don’t have to fight this fight anymore. I have experienced victory through Jesus Christ. All I need to do is reach out to Him and invite Him to fight it for me.

Ephesians 6:13-18 (MSG) says

Be 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. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In 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.”

Heavenly Father, I don’t want to fight this battle alone. Forgive me for ever thinking that I have to do it alone. Thank you for your Sword so that I never will go into battle alone again. Amen.

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