Encouragement, Suffering

Five Words of Encouragement for Spiritual Warfare’s Battle-Weary Soldiers

Anybody who tells you the Christian life is all lollipops and unicorns is selling something. No reasonable person who is the slightest bit familiar with the New Testament or church history could honestly believe that. The New Testament church was born and baptized in blood – first the blood of Christ, and the blood of His martyred disciples ever since.

In the spirit, God blesses us with joy unspeakable and full of glory, the peace that passes all understanding, and the comfort of “Lo, I am with you always.” And that is much to be thankful for, because life in the robe of flesh would be unbearable without those blessings.

But as we walk this real, tangible, eat your veggies and brush your teeth phase of existence, Jesus isn’t just a pretty pink purse we pick up along the way to complement our life’s wardrobe. To put on Christ is to volunteer to wear a target on your back. And your front, come to think of it. Because when you unapologetically stand for Christ and the truth of His Word, you will not only face a full frontal attack from the world, you’ll also risk being stabbed in the back by those you thought were comrades in arms.

Dealing with and responding to those attacks – that’s what spiritual warfare is. Not this modern, ridiculous, NAR-inspired version of “binding” Satan and bellowing commands into the air as though you have the power and the authority to boss the devil around (Even Michael the archangel wouldn’t go there.). We’re called to be good soldiers of Christ Jesus, not the Commander.

As good soldiers in the Lord’s army (yes sir!) real, biblical spiritual warfare is being protected and prepared in the spirit to righteously and courageously walk out biblical truth on the battlefield of whatever tangible circumstances God has placed you in. It’s understanding that those attacking you are not your real enemy – not the ones calling the shots. They’re soldiers, just like you. They’re either lost and ensnared by the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (kind of a spiritual Stockholm Syndrome), or it’s friendly fire from someone in your unit who’s saved, but has somehow, momentarily mistaken you for the enemy.

But the wounds of warfare are painful and debilitating no matter who’s wielding the weapon. So for all of you ladies who have been persecuted by the world, attacked by family, abused by fellow church members, and abandoned by friends simply for holding fast to Christ and His Word and refusing to compromise, let these words of encouragement from the very One you cling to salve your soul…

1.
Jesus knows how you feel

There will never be a moment when we can cry out to Jesus from the depths of our desperation, “You have no idea what this is like – how badly it hurts!”. Yes, He does. Not just because He’s omniscient. Not just because He knitted you together in your mother’s womb and knows all the secrets of your heart. But because He walked that lonely and painful road Himself, as a man in the flesh, just like you.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not…
…we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted…
…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted…
…By oppression and judgment he was taken away…
…And they made his grave with the wicked…although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
From Isaiah 53

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Psalm 22:6-8

Many of them said, “[Jesus] has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”
John 10:20

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me [Jesus] before it hated you.
John 15:18

and coming to his hometown [Jesus] taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?…And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
Matthew 13:54,57

Jesus knows how you feel, Dear One. He knows.

2.
Jesus loves you

There may be times when you feel like everyone is against you. It’s hard to be hated. But hold on to this truth and don’t let go of it: Jesus loves you. He delights in you. He will never turn His face away from you.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3b

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 25.10

I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
Psalm 31:7

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

3.
Jesus will sustain you

Jesus isn’t a lifeline that only reaches halfway across the rushing river. He is our rock. Our fortress. Strength. Sustenance. Stability. What He brings you to, He will bring you through, as the old saying goes. He’s not going to abandon you in the middle of your troubles or fail to provide grace and help when you need it. You can trust Him.

you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:9-10

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.
Psalm 54:4

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7b-8

4.
Jesus will honor you

In the world’s eyes, voluntarily suffering for the name of Christ is shameful, pitiable, foolish, and worthy of derision. In God’s economy, sharing in Christ’s sufferings is an honor and worthy of reward.

and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Acts 5:40-41

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:10-12

[Moses] choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Hebrews 11:25-26

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you…Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1 Peter 4:13-14,16

5.
Jesus will vindicate you

Perhaps one of the greatest comforts in the midst of the battle fatigue of spiritual warfare is God’s omniscience and justice. Not a single insult will be hurled at you that escapes His notice. None of the flak you’ve taken for Him will slip through the cracks and be forgotten. One day, whether here or hereafter, God will set everything right.

Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.
Isaiah 41:11-12

For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
Psalm 135:14

You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my cause. You have seen all their vengeance, all their plots against me. You have heard their taunts, O Lord, all their plots against me. The lips and thoughts of my assailants are against me all the day long. Behold their sitting and their rising; I am the object of their taunts.

You will repay them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. You will give them dullness of heart; your curse will be on them. You will pursue them in anger and destroy them from under your heavens, O Lord.
Lamentations 3:59-66

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Revelation 6:9-10

As you suffer for the Name above all names and do battle for His cause, strengthen your hands for combat with His great and precious promises, which can never be broken. Rest in Jesus’ love for you. Know that He understands your pain and anguish. Trust Him to sustain you. Believe that He will honor and vindicate you. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Which promises do you cling to in the midst of spiritual warfare?

Encouragement

God is Still Working and I’ve Got Proof

god working proof

Has the world lost its collective mind, or what? From our presidential candidate options to perversion in public restrooms, to Christian business people having to risk their livelihood in order to operate in keeping with biblical principles, it seems like every time I turn around there’s some new piece of bad news smacking me in the face.

And it’s not just “out there,” either. The hits just keep on coming for the church as well. I hear almost daily from ladies who are distressed that the women of their church are being indoctrinated with false teaching in the name of “women’s Bible study.” Women who have left no stone unturned in their search for a doctrinally sound church to attend, and simply can’t find one in their area. Women who weep over their friends and loved ones held captive by the latest pop heresy.

It’s enough to discourage even the most bubbly of Pollyannas.

I wish good news got as much press as bad news, because, believe it or not, I hear from at least as many, if not more, women with encouraging stories to share about how God has been at work in their own lives, in their churches, and the in the lives of their friends and loved ones.

It always builds me up and gives me hope to hear their stories, so I thought it might encourage you, too. Take a look at what Christian women (and men!) like you are saying* about what God is doing in their lives – and what He can do in yours, too!

Wanted to share with you regarding your authors and speakers list. I sent it via e-mail to some friends. I received three positive responses back. One was already questioning [the doctrine of a particular false teacher]. She has been invited to one of [that false teacher’s] conferences. She will not be attending after reading this and will warn her friends that are attending.

[Another friend] shared with me that she feels God is calling her out of [a false doctrine church].

A pastor’s wife that thanked me for the information and said she will never be a a part of someone who embraces false doctrine.

I was thankful for your post on Priscilla Shirer and sent it to some women in our church. I had one very positive response with a request to learn more of the Scriptures.

I am thankful to be a member of a local church that is taught the Word of God through expository preaching and teaching. In fact, our pastor leads our “women’s ministry”. We are being taught theology and how to minister to one another and other women within our body and the ultimate body of Christ.

I told [the person leading the book study by a famous women’s Bible study author] that I was not signing up for the next one. I have just finished John MacArthur’s How to Study Your Bible, and I will begin reading the Bible through starting tomorrow morning. I just finished reading [the Bible] through this morning, but I am starting over again using the method he outlines in his book.

[I recently read your article] regarding Lysa TerKeurst. It made me extremely sad to read about her emergent-leaning doctrines. I’d been following P31 ministries for about two months when [I read the article]. I would appreciate any advice or direction you give me for biblically sound studies!

Here’s the view into my recycling bin. I was going to get rid of it last year, but ended up holding on to it. It’s gone now!

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(From an elder at a doctrinally sound church)- I was not familiar with Beth Moore until I realized our women’s Bible group was hooked on Beth.

After bringing her un-biblical teachings to the attention of our elder board I am now charged with finding something better.Keep us in prayer as we attempt to wean the women off of Beth and onto the solid rock of the Word.

I’ve recently felt prompted to study more about sound Christian doctrine. Can you please provide a list for all your recommended Christian sound doctrine women [teachers]?

I went to the movie theater the day [Fifty Shades of Grey] came out. I’d say, on average there were 4 women to every man. They came in droves. I stood outside the theater and passed out gospel tracts. Seizing every opportunity, we must carry the gospel to them.

[As a women’s leader at my church, I got rid of] Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Angela Thomas, and Lysa Terkeurst studies. My pastor is fully on board and is faithful to preach the Word each and every time we gather.

I have gotten rid of my copy of [a Christian mysticism book]. Now [female false teacher’s] book will follow.

[Several of us had to leave our former church due to false doctrine.] We all prayed [for a new, doctrinally sound church] and God answered our prayers. We have a church building and a pastor. We [recently] celebrated our church’s fourth anniversary.

My wife and I left our church of 20+ yrs. because God was gracious and truly regenerated our hearts, giving us eyes to see and ears to hear the unbiblical nature of what was happening.

I have left the last two churches I was a part of. Thankfully, we are now in a wonderful, Bible-believing, Gospel-centered, theologically/doctrinally sound church who believe discipling true Believers the way God has instructed us in the Bible is more important than how many people fill the seats.

 

This is just a tiny sampling of the many e-mails, comments, and private messages I’ve received from readers who are growing in Christ, serving in healthy churches, and helping others to grow in biblical truth. If you’re going through a rough time at your church, in your walk with the Lord, or are troubled by what’s going on in the world around you, rejoice with those who rejoice, and don’t be discouraged! The same God who carried these folks through their difficulties will carry you through yours.

Now it’s your turn to be an encourager.
How has God grown you in your relationship with Him, opened the eyes of a loved one to biblical truth, or made your church holier and more obedient to Scripture?


*I’ve changed or deleted a few identifying details to protect the writers’ anonymity.