Whom Do We Wrestle?

 

  
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   Do you ever think life is hard? Goodness, I do. There are days, even weeks, where everything goes well. I feel God’s presence, hear His voice, learn from His Word, and life flows along like a deep, smooth river. And then there are times I slip on a rug and crash to the floor blindsided by a situation so confusing I just throw up my hands and shout, “What in the world is going on?”

 

In those moments, I tend to focus on the situation. What did I do to cause this, and how can I fix it? But after a while, I get irritated. If I hurt someone’s feelings by giving my opinion, why am I not entitled to my opinion? And why am I always the one punished? Why can’t that person just shrug it off and forgive?

 

The Lord allowed me to wallow for a few minutes, and then He said, “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.”[1]

    “Yes, Lord, I’m listening.”

    “You know my Word and what I require of you. What must you do?”

    “Forgive as You forgive,” I said, sighing. “Repent, pray for those whom I must have offended and who, in turn, offended me.”

    “Is that all?”

    “No, I also need to let go of my hurt, allow You to cleanse me of my unrighteousness, and heal my wounds.”

    “Good.”

As the Lord worked in my heart, He permitted me to see something I hadn’t seen earlier.

 

So, let me ask. When enduring periods of struggle, have you ever considered the timing? What took place in your life in the days leading up to it? Or to what you were committed during and in the days following? For me, it was a “chance” meeting before and a time of warfare praying during.

 

Pondering this, I realized someone, other than the people involved, instigated the problem—not that I was blameless, mind you, because I wasn’t. But God allowed me to see the enemy’s underlying agenda—thwarting the will and plan of God by stopping the prayer. Severing a relationship was just a bonus.

 

However, our Sovereign God prohibited the enemy from hindering me in prayer.

 

How? By not permitting Satan to make me aware of this problem until after I completed my task. Maybe you’re skeptical. But I tell you, God revealed this fact as I typed.

 

God’s Holy Word is true. “We wrestle NOT against flesh and blood…” the people who offend us and those whom we offend. “We wrestleagainst principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”[2]

 

This enemy’s first job is to keep us from personally knowing Jesus. When he fails at that, his second job is to thwart the work of God in and through us.[3]

 

What have I learned? Almighty God says what and how much the enemy can do to His children and when he can do it. Satan wears a leash—it’s a long one, but a leash all the same. And while this trial greatly disturbed me and I went through the gamut of emotions, and still, it’s not over—God’s work went unhindered. The Lord accomplished His will and protected me. How can I be sure? Well, the attack was already in progress, and I didn’t even know it.

 

Friends, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on God’s armor to stand against the wiles of the devil and to withstand in the evil day.[4]

 

For, “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the Lord.” [5]



[1] Job 38:3

[2] Ephesians 6:12

[3] Dr. Karl Payne, Antioch Bible Church, Redmond, WA

[4] Ephesians 6:10-11, 13

[5] Isaiah 54:17

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