by Lyn Packer
Most of the battles you face in life are designed by the enemy to intimidate you and cause you to believe the battle is bigger than you can handle - and it is, if you try to fight it on your own.
That point where you think that you can't take this any longer is a 'make or break' point. That's where the battle is at for a lot of people in this season, but dig deep and keep going - your breakthrough may be nearer than you think.
On July 4, 1952, Florence Chadwick was on her way to becoming the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel. She had already conquered the English Channel. The world was watching. Chadwick fought the dense fog, the bone-chilling cold and the sharks. She was striving to reach the shore but every time she looked through her goggles, all she could see was the dense fog. Unable to see the shore, she gave up.
Chadwick was disappointed when she found out that she was only half a mile from the coast. She quit, not because she was a quitter but because her goal was not in sight anywhere. The elements didn't stop her. She said, "I'm not making excuses. If only I had seen the land I could have made it."
Two months later, she went back and swam the Catalina Channel. This time, in spite of the bad weather, she had her goal firmly in her mind (she saw it) and not only accomplished it but beat the mens' record by two hours!
It's at that point where you lose sight of the goal, the prize, in your heart and mind that is the most dangerous. It's at that point that the temptation to give it all away comes. Life is hard for many at the moment, they are facing pressures they've never faced before or on a scale far bigger than anything they have come up against before. I have recently talked to many who are facing things that are huge - the threat of losing houses, losing jobs and more. I have also spoken to Christians who have seriously considered suicide as an option because they just can't see any way out of the situations in their lives. What is happening, why is the attack so fierce and unrelenting?
The reality is we are in a war. We do have an enemy whose avowed purpose is to steal, kill and destroy and he is feeling the heat right now in the spirit realm so he is attacking with all he has. He knows that God is releasing something new into the earth and with that come spirit resources he cannot fight against - so he wants to take out as many as possible before they realise what God is up to. We need to see what God is doing. Without that vision we will be discouraged and possibly perish (Prov 29:18)
God and the devil both want to use the situations we find ourselves in. The devil's plan, we know, is to destroy us through them but God's plan is to use those things to form and fashion in us something of incredible beauty - the likeness of Himself.
David went through a time like this when he came back from battle to find the enemy had attacked while he was gone(1 Samuel 30). Everything was destroyed and all the wives and children were taken captive. When his men saw it they turned against him and wanted to kill him. At that moment the future of a city, a group and a person were up for grabs as David's destiny, and that of his men, hung in the balance.
Despair threatened to swamp him, as it had his men, and at that point he had to make a choice. What was he going to do next? His choice would affect not just his future but that of many others as well (as does ours in these times). But David chose well! Scripture says "he strengthened himself in the Lord." (1 Sam. 30:6). He dug deeper and as he did his inner determination to strengthen himself in his God — and to believe God's prophetic promises — all worked together with God's determination to strengthen him in return. David spoke to the priest Abiathar and said, "Please bring the ephod here to me" (1 Sam. 30:7). He knew from past experience that the ephod represented counsel and advice (1 Sam 23:9–12). Then he took off his armor (which represented his strength), and put on that priestly garment representing God's wisdom and counsel.
How do we put on that priestly garment and strengthen ourselves in the Lord – how do we find the counsel and wisdom of God in those times when everything seems so dark?
- Remember to turn to God, not away from Him. What does the Word say about God, who He is and what He wants for your life.? Remember Ps 23 - He prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies. God wants to fellowship with you and take you into a place of peace in the midst of your battle.
- Remember God's faithfulness in times past; His supernatural breakthroughs in your life, deliverance, salvation (yours and others), healings, miracles, signs and wonders and of course His Word and His prophetic words over you. (Ps. 63; 1 Tim. 1:18, 19).
- Don't forget the power of praying in tongues (Jude 1:20). Building ourselves up in our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit is important.
- Worship God in the midst of your circumstances - honour Him. Honour releases God to be 'who He is' to you and prepares the way for Him to come through for you (Ps 50:23)
- Face the facts. Don't deny them, but know that God is bigger than your facts and He is not worried about how He is going to handle this situation in your life. He doesn't have to call an emergency meeting with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to decide how to get you through this. Abraham knew this, as we see in Rom 4:19,20. He faced the facts but didn't waver in unbelief. He stood strong in his faith. Look to the one who is Truth. Believe and declare that Truth about Him into the face of your facts. Hold fast to it, refuse to back down from the Truth of 'who God is.'
- Resist the temptation to blame God for the circumstances. The devil will use your circumstances to call into question God's character and nature. Resist him. God is not the author of evil and confusion. God is not an abusive parent who does bad things to His children to achieve a good goal. Life has the potential to do that itself - we live in a fallen world full of fallen, broken people and then there is the enemy's input and influence in the lives of others...
- Ask God for revelation of Him as Father. In this season we must have a fresh revelation of the 'Father heart' of God and we must have a revelation of the fact that God is good. These things are critical for what we are heading into in this world and only those that have them will stand strong.
- Don't try to go it alone. Allow others to minister to you, to hold up your arms when weak (Ex 17:12, Is 35:3, Heb !2:12) and speak strength into you. This is a time to gather others around you who will stand with you in your battle. This is a time for the body to be the body and stand together to overcome the enemy. Swallow your pride and ask for help.
I love the end of this testimony of God's work in David's life. David inquired of the Lord —"Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?" Immediately God answered, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all" (1 Sam. 30:8). And he did! He recovered all that was stolen. It was straight after this event that David received word of Saul's death and within a very short time he became King. Don't give up when your breakthrough to a new level is so near. Dig deep into the Lord. Turn to Him and enquire of Him. Strengthen yourself in the Lord for it's at this point that your breakthrough to a new level is imminent.
The battle is very real and the enemy can seem so strong. Recognise that most of what you face is designed by the enemy to intimidate you and cause you to believe the battle is bigger than you can handle - and it is, if you try to fight it on your own. But it is not bigger than God, you, and those who love you, together can handle. Dig deep into God and realise that in Him, when you think you can't, you actually can keep going and when you do you will come out stronger. This battle will become the next testimony of God's greatness and faithfulness in your life and you will not only get through it but grow in strength, wisdom and relationship with God and others.
Remember Winston Churchill's advice - Never, never, never, never, never give up! And know that this, too, will "work together for good to you who love God and are called according to his purposes."
Read Romans 8 & Ps 23 daily over the next week and let the Word minister to you and strengthen you in the battle, then be deliberate and intentional - take those Scriptures and decree them over your life daily.