The warfare we face daily is in our minds. This is because there the devil seeks to build his stronghold in each of us, and thus prevent our agreement and enjoyment of the Lord’s eternal victory. If He can get us to agree with his lies, his accusations and incessant thoughts and feelings that force their way into our souls, he can build himself a stronghold. He begins with thoughts that become arguments against our knowing Jesus. He wants to interrupt what has been given us in Christ, our total justification, glorification and union with Christ. To do so, he comes through whatever lie, trauma, offense, or betrayal he can find. He then inserts his interpretation of this thing.
I call him the “evil narrator”. Like the narrator in a movie, who interprets for us (the viewers) what we are seeing and what we should be thinking about what we are seeing, the devil does the same. He speaks into our souls, suggesting emotions of fear, envy, frustration, hatred, grief, and hopelessness. Once some thought, feeling, or interpretation, that he suggests (more like forces upon us) is received, however reluctantly we received it, he begins the argument. He compounds thoughts, feelings, and interpretations upon each other, creating an argument. This argument then becomes a stronghold as it clusters together around similar arguments that we have entertained in prior battles.
These pressures of negativity, self-hatred, fear, and loathing push against our soul. They feed on our disposition to think and feel this way, building their palaces on ancient wounds and traumas. Like a terrorist organization, our souls are then ruled by fear as we try to keep ourselves from being tormented. We shut down because we don’t want to be brutalized again. Why hope? We despair and find that: less effort less pain. We slowly become slaves to this stronghold.
But Jesus comes! His voice is so powerful and liberating as He promises us freedom. We hear hope. It may be heard in prayer, meditation, or in a service filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Another thought, another interpretation, like Jesus with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we talk with Jesus sharing our interpretation then listening to Jesus’ own interpretation. He speaks and reframes our experience with His interpretation. His words are spirit and life. They penetrate our souls, causing our hearts to grow warm, and our spirit comes alive. This is truth! We can feel the freedom and touch the joy, as we quiet ourselves inside His love and peace.
Instead of a stronghold of hopelessness and fear, our souls become a palace for His majesty and love. Filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we agree with what we are hearing and feeling. Jesus sits on the throne of our hearts reigning in truth, flooding us with light, love and liberty. We forgive and release trauma, knowing that what had bound us, is where Jesus found us. We thank God for being found as death is swallowed up by life, fear in love, and defeat in His victory. FREEDOM! Over time, the memory of that awful place, the devil had built, is swept over by a memorial to His grace. He has saved us!
I wish I could say, “And we all lived happily ever after”, but I can’t. The devil is crafty and, though defeated, waits for his opportunity to insert again his narrative filled with poisonous feelings. And so often the same situation repeats itself and we find ourselves falling again into the despair from which we had so powerfully been freed.
But why would God allow such a thing?
Because we are His Overcomers being prepared for eternal marriage with His Son. He knows that only when we discover for ourselves truth in practice, and stand up in the war over our souls, will we reign with Him.
He has given us authority over our souls:
- To magnify Jesus, or
- To surrender to the torment of the devil.
He knows we will be defeated (temporarily) many times, even to the point of hopelessness. But He has won! His victory secure, our triumph to be discovered. He will work all things together for good. He has paid for our victory, and the journey of discovery of holding this victory, both in our heads and in heaven. He also has given us the Holy Spirit to come alongside and guide, coach, teach, reveal, and demonstrate the power of Jesus’ victory. He has given us His word to experience, believe, and reframe our thoughts and emotions. He has given us all things!
So, the war continues — But we win!