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“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
What does it look like to fight against the unseen world? What does it mean to put on the armor of God? How do we maintain our belief that God is fighting for us, when all the natural events surrounding us seem to point otherwise?
This song gives you the words to sing for exactly such a time:
"Let praise be a weapon that silences the enemy; Let praise be a weapon that conquers all anxiety; Let it rise"
There is a correlation between what we do in the natural, and how it affects the spiritual. We have all felt the oppression of the enemy; his tactics are clear – to kill, steal and destroy. So any time we experience death, loss or destruction, we know who the culprit is. But so often, our response to these things is to cry out to the Lord and ask for deliverance when He has perfectly equipped us to resist the devil, ward of his attacks and stomp on his head.
"We sing your name in the dark and it changes everything; We Sing with all we are and we claim your victory' Let it rise"
Praising Jesus for His faithfulness and goodness, when it appears that He is not being faithful, is an outward act of obedience that honours the heart of God, and releases His Spirit to move on our behalf. It is the shout of joy before the answer comes that releases Heavenly solutions to our Earthly problems. I don’t need to know the answer to know God has already settled the matter; So I am going to rejoice now because I know His answer will be good and take care of everything else I need. This is the praise that silences the enemy and claims the victory.
This last year, I have struggled with doubt and fear more than any other time in my life. There have been days of feeling physically disabled because I am unable to think clearly and rise above the alarm bells ringing in my head, convincing me that something terrible is about to happen. And in those moments, exuberant praise is the last thing I feel like doing. But the Lord is showing me that if I am to rise above those moments, I need to change my way of thinking.
Most of us are familiar with the first half of Romans 12:2:
“do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind",
but it is the second half of the verse that struck me in a powerful way recently:
"so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
We are meant to be changed, and conformed to the mind of Christ, so that we are able to affect the world around us according with God's will – we will be the agents that usher in His will on the Earth which is GOOD and acceptable and perfect! Praise, in the midst of storm, is what gives God license to do that in our lives.
And so the chorus goes:
"We'll see you break down every wall; We'll watch the giants fall; Fear cannot survive when we praise You; The God of breakthrough's on our side; Forever lift Him high; With all creation cry, God we praise You".
We fight our battles in surrender. For me, this has been the biggest challenge because if I am not actively doing something to solve a problem - or if I'm not constantly thinking about it, then I feel that I'm not in control (as if agonizing over a problem is any form of control). To close my eyes and focus on Jesus seems to be a 'sticking your head in the sand' type of response that ignores the problem. But I'm telling you, when we give up control (or at the very least, the desire for control), and trust the Lord with it, HE MOVES. His Word is full of promises on this. One I read just recently from Psalm 138 is:
"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me".
Such a simple, small statement, buried in a lengthy psalm, but when I read it in a moment of struggle, it lifted the heaviest burden from my mind and emotions. He never tells us that we are immune to problems - quite the opposite; the Bible talks more about people in struggle and bondage than people who had it all together. But how often does He give us the command to "fear not". Easier said than done. But if I can encourage you - when you give in to the fear, when you entertain those discouraging thoughts, that is a tactic straight from the enemy's playbook to keep you from your God-given destiny, your God-given assignment for VICTORY.
And at the end of the day, it is important for me that my response pleases the heart of God. That my actions, both in the victories and the struggle, please Him. It is becoming more clear to me that my response in uncertainty has a direct relation to my growth in the Lord. It is a divine opportunity for me to seek Him and find Him.
And the Bridge is the breakthrough moment where we sing:
"This is what living looks like; This is what freedom feels like; This is what heaven sounds like; We praise You"
In Heaven, our praise will be without end; it will take all of eternity to worship God and give Him the praise He is due. And part of our assignment as disciples is to steward our lives on Earth “as it is in Heaven”. This is what living looks like; to be so full of His joy and presence that it overflows from us in ecstatic praise – joining our sound with that which is already going on in Heaven, knowing that praising in the midst of turmoil is something we will only get to do on this earth.
Practically speaking, the next time you feel overwhelmed by the mountain Your facing, You don't need to take your eyes off the mountain - but change Your focus so that you see the even bigger mountain of God’s promise and provision behind it; His power and grace and DESIRE to throw your littler mountain in to the sea. I don't put my head in the sand to worship God, I bring Him these things in my Worship, and say "I don't get it, I don't like it, but I am going to listen to what You have to say on this, nothing else" because against all natural odds, the God of breakthrough is on my side. Amen!