Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:15
In looking at the spiritual aspect of battling anxiety, I promise I will try to stay in and around the topic of anxiety and breaking free from the hold it can have in our lives and did have in my own. However, this part of the discussion is very centered around spiritual warfare which poses two problems. First, spiritual warfare is a rather broad subject matter and, second, it is a topic that is very personal to me and a key component in the ministry God has called me to. With that in mind, I promise I will attempt to stay on task. Your job is to think “anxiety” as you read.
This discussion will build on what has already been shared regarding overcoming anxiety. I’ve discussed how I learned renewing the mind, taking thoughts captive and building a belief system rooted and grounded in truth are all absolutely essential in battling and overcoming anxiety. I also learned these essentials of the battle are critical in engaging in spiritual warfare because, just like with anxiety, spiritual warfare is very much a battle that takes place in the mind. However, as stated in the verse from Colossians, we can triumph with the right battle strategy.
If we are going to triumph, we have to understand a few key truths regarding spiritual warfare and the opposing forces. First, we have to know we cannot even fight on our own, much less win. As a mom and now a grandma, I’ve watched my fair share of Disney movies! The Lion King is one of my all-time favorites! And, yes, I cried when Mufasa died. But I love the scene where little Simba thinks he and his “roar” are intimidating the hyenas. I’ll give it to Simba. He put up a brave front. The hyenas laugh and make fun of him as they move in for the kill. That is, until Mufasa shows up with his ROAR! This is the perfect picture of the way it is for us. It’s not our “roar” that intimidates our enemy, but the ROAR of our Father who has our back!!! In spiritual warfare, we have to know Who our Daddy is and know it is HIS power and strength we fight with.
We also have to know our enemy. His given name was Lucifer and he was created by God as a beautiful angel with great talent and power. (You can research this on your own.) Just like us, he was given the freedom to choose and, just like we often do, he chose his own will instead of God’s. As a result, Lucifer, and the angels that joined forces with him, were cast out of Heaven and given power over the earth—for a time. This Lucifer and his angels then became the enemy—our enemy. We now refer to him as satan or the devil. There are some things we need to be aware of where satan is concerned. First, satan is NOT the opposite of God! He is under the authority of God and is in no way equal to God or to God’s power! Second, satan hates you and me…HATES! We are all created in God’s image and satan is absolutely out to destroy anything and everything bearing His image.
Also, know that satan will do anything in his power to keep you from having relationship with God. If he fails to stop you from entering into a relationship with God through Christ, satan will then stop at nothing to keep you as distant and miserable in that relationship as he possibly can. He does NOT want you to know and enjoy the love, acceptance, peace, joy, strength, comfort, etc. that can be found in personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. The enemy is ruthless in this endeavor and, as we see in the Bible, he is out to steal, kill and destroy in any and every way he can. Unfortunately, he is very successful in carrying out this mission and he does so with his number one weapon: LIES. In fact, he is so good at lying and deception, one of his names he’s been given is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). He will twist and distort truth, often in very subtle ways, to lure us into doubt, unbelief, mistrust and confusion about Who God is, about who we are and about the circumstances in our lives. That’s where fear and anxiety come into play. If satan can get us to buy into even a “tiny” lie, he now has an entry way into our belief system where he can wreak havoc. He dangles the bait in front of us. We bite. He then sets the hook and we have now become a prisoner to anxiety and/or a whole host of other strongholds. We are miserable but remember that isn’t satan’s ultimate purpose in taking us captive. His primary objective is to pull us away from intimate relationship with God. THAT is his goal and one he obtains far too often in our lives.
But all is not lost! Sure, we need to do all we can to engage in the battle and resist being taken captive in the first place (we will discuss that later). Unfortunately, all of us at one time or another find ourselves falling prey to the devil’s schemes. Thankfully, God in His mercy and grace has also provided a way out. There is no stronghold too big, too bad, too long or too hard for our God!!! Jesus blazed the trail for us to follow. Because He is triumphant, we have the hope we can be too!!!