We need to talk. Really I need to talk and you need to just shut up and listen. I don’t mean to be mean. But the most elite fighting force in heaven or on earth is spread all around you. Their shields are up, and nothing can penetrate them. Their swords are drawn, and no force in hell or on earth can resist them. And they’re on your side.
And they’re doing absolutely nothing.
Just watching you get your brains beat out by an enemy that is smarter, craftier, and more powerful than you are.
And all the while you’re exhausted and taking it on the chin and coming back for more and you’re making a fool of yourself and you’re just about to hang it up and you’re getting sucked in by those old temptations and your friends have hurt your feelings and you are wounded and joyless and helpless and hopeless and scared and a shell of the person you once were and you’d think that the Lord would send them into battle on your behalf.
But there. They. Stand. Shields up. Swords Drawn. And not flapping the first angelic wing to help you.
You won’t let them.
And pardon my saying so (or don’t pardon it, I don’t really care), but you’re an idiot. Not because you tried to do God’s job – you know, saving yourself and figuring out solutions to your own problems. But because you keep trying to do God’s job.
You’re bleeding out, pal, and all the while you’re lying there, trying to figure out what to eat for supper or how to pay the bills or how to get out of that pit you’re in. After all, “If it’s to be, it’s up to thee,” right?
Meanwhile, the hits just keep on coming…
…the deception and lies, starting with worthless fabrications about who you really are…
…the constant reminders of your past failures – sometimes turning to accuse you, sometimes returning to seduce you…
…the unhealed pain from people who have scared or scarred you as they fought against you…
…the relationship or financial entanglements that choke the life and freedom out of you…
…the relentless messages from the wellspring of wickedness firing off in your head: “This is hopeless. I am hopeless” …
…the fierce, but futile determination to find your own way to fix yourself or fix the situation or fix that person you love…
Did you really think that all that was random? Life just “happening?” Think again. It’s a coordinated attack, based on a tried-and-true scheme. And at the risk of sounding like I’m piling on, it’s working. You’re in the grasp of the ruthless.
Swords drawn, shields up, the army stands on high alert while you sleep and heaven weeps.
A Different Plan of Attack
Let me put a different kind of sword in your hand. Check this out:
The High and Lofty One lives forever, and his name is holy. This is what he says:
I live in a high and holy place.
But I am with those who are crushed and humble.
I will renew the spirit of those who are humble
and the courage of those who are crushed (Isaiah 57:15, NET).
All the while your enemy is haunting you and taunting you, the Omnipotent God of the Universe offers this public service announcement:
I’m still here.
I am your Truth, who defends you against the dark shadows of the lies you have been told.
I am your Righteousness, who has given you a new name and removed your past from you as far as the east is from the west.
I am your Peace, who has broken down every barrier and freed you from every attachment to a broken world.
I am your Faithful Friend and Trustworthy Companion, whom you can trust
I am your Hope for Salvation, who has removed any reason to despair or give up.
I am your living and powerful Word, sharper than any two-edged sword.
Do you believe that?
Isn’t it Time for Something Different?
Don’t you think it’s time for a counterattack?
Don’t you think it’s time to explore an alternative energy source (and I ain’t talking about windmills or cow chips)?
Don’t you think it’s time to swallow your pride, instead of the dirt you’ve had your face rubbed in?
Don’t you think it’s time to just go ahead and admit that the Lord Jesus is far more worthy of your trust than your broke-down self or your silly idols?
Don’t you think it’s time to put that armor back on?
Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.
And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless”(Jeremiah 15:19-21, ESV)
This is a battle more won by where you stand than by what you do. The victory has more to do with what you declare in faith than what you can figure out. This is a fight where carnal weapons are like BB guns at Normandy – the weapons of choice are mighty through God.
Don’t you think it’s time to take back what is yours?
Don’t you think it’s time to ask God to redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless?
Where to Start?
I’m glad you asked. Start where the Lord said He would meet you – with humility. Offer to Him the one thing He wants from you – your nothingness. “I can’t do this” may sound like whining at the office. But in heaven, it’s music in God’s ears.
Return to the Lord. Stand before Him and utter what is precious. That sounds a lot like prayer, praise, and declaring His truth.
Speaking of declaring truth, it’s time to declare the core truth of Christianity – that you who were unrighteousness have been made righteous by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Get rid of whatever excess baggage you can. This may take time, but do something today, as He leads you.
Reestablish confidence in Jesus. That comes by hearing and receiving Jesus as your way, truth, and life today.
Then, shield of faith up… then, sword of the Spirit drawn…
Ask. Seek. Knock. Deploy. Advance. Prevail.
I’m praying for you. Truly.
Thanks for listening. Now, you may not return to your regularly-scheduled programming.