Our church community is growing like wildfire. People are receiving God Loves You cards and some of them decide to come to Wellspring to find out more about this loving God we talk about. Our church leadership shares amazing statistics often that show just how fast and how far and how wide God is moving in our community and how people are being reached for Him. People are coming to Wellspring, are finding out about Him, and making decisions to follow Him. Others are reigniting dormant relationships they’ve previously had with Him and are diving deeper in their personal walks and relationships with Jesus. We’re so excited to see what God is doing that we’re sharing it with our families, friends, coworkers, complete strangers, everyone who needs to hear it…
However, there is someone who is really not at all happy to see what we’re doing. He doesn’t want people coming to Jesus, he doesn’t want us to know that our souls have been bought with the blood of Jesus. So he fights. Satan fights hard, and he fights dirty. He’s got an army of demons along with him waiting for any opportunity they can find to attack God’s people and to keep them from the Truth. I am seeing these attacks on the rise in the lives of many of my church family, and I say it’s time to declare war!
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Recently I experienced a pretty intense spiritual battle of my own. It took me completely by surprise, so much so that it took a little while for me to recognize it for what it was. But I was equipped enough before the attack to be able to recover somewhat quickly, and can now share with you the things that were crucial to my personal victory.
Always Be On Guard
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when Satan hit me with his first attack, and looking back, I know where I had allowed him to sneak into my mind to prepare for that attack. The crazy thing is, I was actually serving at the moment he hit. I was sitting in the production booth running the slides for services that Sunday. The first two services had gone so well, I had worshipped through those, everything was great. Just before the third service, a co-volunteer asked me a few questions about my baby’s upcoming surgery that was scheduled to happen a few weeks later. Normally I don’t worry or stress out too much about things that happen in my life because I have been fortunate to see God work in many areas of my life. Financial hardships don’t stress me because I’ve been there before, and I know that God brought me through. Health scares don’t worry me because I’ve been there, too, and I know that God has walked with me through those. But this was something different...I was preparing to watch my nine month old baby boy go into surgery. He was scheduled to go under general anesthesia for five hours. I had difficulty trusting that God would protect him during such a long surgery. Not that He could protect my baby because I always knew that He could, but I wasn’t sure if He would. So that fear was growing inside me, and my co-volunteer’s questions brought some of that to the surface. I tried to focus on what I needed to be doing in that production booth, but had a really hard time with that. Then came Jason’s challenge at the end of his sermon. I had already heard it twice that morning. But when he said it that third time, I felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath me. You see, Satan had sneakily crept into my mind with that fear. While I was anxious about the future, he started to plant other seeds, too: discontent, unhappiness, maybe even some resentment. So when Jason said, “Challenge your why,” all of those seeds burst open and suddenly nothing was okay at all in my mind.
Know the Word of God
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God... Ephesians 6:17 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4
The single most important thing you can do to prepare yourself against spiritual attacks from the enemy is to read, study, and KNOW the Word of God. If you don’t know how to read and study the Bible, ask someone! We’ve all been there; we’ve all had that moment when we first open our Bible and just feel so overwhelmed with no idea where or how to even start. You are not alone in that. Ask someone for suggestions on where to start, Google Bible reading plans, or download a Bible app and search through the reading plans there. Then commit to reading it as often as possible, and when you come to something you don’t understand ask again for help with it. Pray to God for His understanding from the Holy Spirit. This is a prayer I think He loves to answer! Once you’ve started reading and studying it, next memorize some verses that tell you about who God is and about who God says you are. This will be important when Satan begins whispering lies to your mind. John 8:44 says that “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” You will be able to combat those lies that Satan tries to use to manipulate your mind with the truth of God’s word because you KNOW it. For me, I also continued to be in the Word regularly with my personal Bible study. During those studies, the Holy Spirit helped me to see certain things that helped me in the battle I was in. They were things that I needed to be reminded of in the midst of lies the enemy was telling me.
Be Active In the Church Body
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
The next crazy important thing is to be active in the body of Christ. Join a Life Group, volunteer with a ministry team, sign up for CKAs; however you can build relationships with other believers is going to be an important part of a spiritual battle. When the enemy attacks, he wants to get you by yourself. Many times, one of the first things he will do is get you to isolate yourself from others around you. By regularly surrounding yourself with other believers and building deeper relationships with them, they will be the first ones that will notice if you start to pull away or behave in ways that are uncharacteristic of you. In my experience, Satan hit during a week that most of my ministry team was away on a trip that I wasn’t able to join them on. Without those people around, it was easier for me to begin to isolate myself and to pull away from certain aspects of the ministry that I was very active in. Over the next few weeks, however, as I began to pull further and further away, cancelling prior commitments to those ministry teams and stepping back from responsibilities in a way that was very uncharacteristic of me, my co-volunteers and ministry leads knew that something wasn’t right. Many of them reached out to me and asked what was going on and began praying for me. The one commitment that I did not turn away from was my Life Group that I lead. It was in that group one day when I had a meltdown of sorts due to the spiritual battle that I was in that one of my sisters in Christ stopped everything and just began praying for me right then and there. It was in that moment that I began to feel relief from the intense spirit of fear that had overcome me for weeks. Had I isolated myself completely from the people that I serve with and have built relationships with, I easily could have been in a much different place than I am now.
Know the Holy Spirit is With You Always
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
It can be easy to feel alone when you’re in the middle of a spiritual battle. When all you can feel and see is attack after attack from the enemy, it can be hard to try to find God in the situation. It’s important to remember that He is with you always, even if you think He can’t be found. Once you make the choice to accept Jesus and become a Christ follower, God sends the Holy Spirit to live inside of you. In John 14:16 Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” The Helper Jesus promises is the Holy Spirit, and He promises that the Holy Spirit will be with you forever. I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty comforting promise! No matter what demons or battles you may be fighting, if you have put your trust in Jesus then you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. In the midst of the battle, you can rest in the knowledge that “the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Jason taught recently about the armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes ready by the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17). Following the suggestions I’ve given here are ways that can help you put on that armor and have it ready for your defense. Being alert and careful to not allow Satan to get a foothold in your life, knowing the Word of God, and developing deeper relationships with other believers will all keep you ready in case Satan decides to attack. And ultimately, remembering that the Holy Spirit is ALWAYS with you helps to keep your eyes on Him through any battle rather than just focusing on your current season of life or experience. Prepare yourself now, and the enemy doesn’t even stand a chance of gaining any ground.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 NIV
Written by Mindy Carvalho,
Mindy is a volunteer and Life Group leader at Wellspring Church