The Battle Belongs to the Lord
In my last two articles “He Touched Me” and “Freeze Tag” (www.restforyoursoul.org) I wrote about being frozen in life and using drugs, men and drinking to numb myself. This article is about what happened after “day one”, how I remained free from drugs.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 NKJV
Satan really doesn’t like it when someone gets free from his or her bondage. He kicks up a fight. I quit a 23-year habit of smoking pot on a Tuesday, on Wednesday I went to a Bible Study and while I was there, my car window was broken and my CD player was stolen. I went back into the building called the Police and made a report. I cleaned up as much of the glass as I could and went home to vacuum out the car. When I got home, the guy from across the alley came over and he was drunk, he was hugging me and trying to kiss me (he’s married with 5 kids!). I had to fight to get out of his arms. I got into the house and realized I was in a war!
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
The first thing I did was to speak out loud to the enemy. I don’t remember my exact words, but I told him I knew he had challenged me to war and I was ready to fight! I told him I have Jesus Christ and His blood on my side, I have heavenly weapons and armor and he was already defeated! I got everything in my house that had anything to do with drugs, I still had pipes, papers and other paraphernalia, and some pot left. I bagged it all up and put it by the door and told Satan I was getting it out of the house the next day. I had a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) bumper sticker in the house I put it on my car the next morning.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 NKJV
Joyce Meyer (Bible speaker and teacher) was doing a series “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” on TV. I would tape the show and watch it after work. Everyday I would do exactly what the Bible says to do in II Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat was in a battle with the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites; I was in a battle with the “addiction-ites”. King Jehoshaphat sent the choir singing praises out to lead them into battle, and I did the same thing. I sang praises to the Lord constantly all day long. When I was alone I sang out loud and when I wasn’t alone I sang them in my head. I watched the “Battle Belongs to the Lord” segment of Joyce Meyer over and over; I watched it every day at least once. I read II Chronicles 20 in the Bible at least 3 times every day for the first month. I just saturated my soul with that story whenever I could and when I couldn’t I was singing praises!
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” II Chronicles 20:17 NKJV
I am here today to tell you that it works! Praise is a very powerful weapon against the enemy. It worked for me and I know it can work for you as well.
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke apart the bonds that held them. For He has broken the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron apart.” Psalm 107:13-14, 16 AMP
Steven Curtis Chapman has a song called “Remember Your Chains” “Remember your chains, remember the prison that once held you, before the love of God broke through. Remember the place you were without grace, when you see where you are now, remember your chains, and remember your chains are gone.”
“Imagine what your life would be, if Jesus had not set you free.”
This is a great message. No matter how far I’ve come, I always want to remember where I started.
“For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, (spiritually) shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious (to the fact) that he was cleansed from his old sins.” II Peter 2:9 AMP
(Please see my article “He Touched Me” for part one.)
One Sunday my Pastor’s sermon was called “Freeze Tag”. When you were a kid, did you ever play the game freeze tag? It’s just like playing tag, one person is “it” and runs around, trying to tag the others, the only difference is once you are tagged, you must freeze in that position. You remain that way until one of the other people that aren’t “it” come and touch you and unfreeze you, then you are free to run around again. Well my life related to this game of freeze tag, as I’m sure many other’s do. At a point in my life I was touched and frozen. The part of me that was frozen didn’t grow up and also didn’t want to feel because of the pain I was trying to avoid. I needed to find ways to numb my feelings. People get frozen for different reasons, either for one reason or for a combination of reasons. I think mine was a combination. I had really low self-esteem and self worth; I had what I call a “soil of shame” and a “root of rejection”. These were brought into my life for various reasons.
“…For you shall forget the shame of your youth…” Isaiah 54:4
When I heard the sermon Freeze Tag something happened inside of me. Monday, I decided to quit smoking pot, I was going to call my Pastor and speak with him about the sermon and realized Monday was his day off. I didn’t call him that day and I didn’t quit drugs, but I did only smoke one joint (instead of the usual 8!). Tuesday came and I got up my nerve and called my Pastor. He was so gracious! I poured it all out, I told him all the things I was ashamed of and how helpless I was to stop on my own. I just wanted to live for Jesus-completely! He talked to me about my concerns of quitting and starting a new life, he prayed with me and that was the day I quit!
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” James 5:16 AMP
Once you’re frozen in life, you need a touch to get defrosted just like in the game. The difference being in the game anyone other than the person that is “it” can touch you, but in life, it has to be Jesus. He comes and touches that frozen part of you and you’re defrosted. That part of you is now allowed to grow and to feel. It’s a difficult process. Even if you are supernaturally delivered like I was from the addictive substance, there are still a lot of things you have to do in the aftermath of it. For me, the part that was frozen was my emotions; I truly didn’t know how to feel, or what I was feeling. Making decisions was hard; I didn’t know what my opinions were. I cried very easily because my emotions were right on the surface. I wasn’t used to feeling, so when I did feel it was really intense.
“Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman there who for eighteen years had had an infirmity caused by a spirit (a demon of sickness). She was bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or to look upward. And when Jesus saw her, He called (her to Him) and said to her, Woman, you are released from your infirmity! Then He laid (His) hands on her and instantly she was made straight, and she recognized and thanked and praised God.” Luke 13:10-13 AMP
This sums up how Jesus touched me. I was frozen in life always looking down, unable to look up because the things of the world held me in bondage. Jesus touched me and I wasn’t frozen any more, I could look up and see Jesus, look Him right in the eye and know that He loved me, He healed me from my infirmity!
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows].” Psalm 147:3 AMP
Anyone can be used by Jesus to be “Jesus in the skin” to someone else, let Him use you today. Let Him use your former pain and shame to minister to others. Help Him set the captives free.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” Isaiah 61:1 NKJV
“Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense…” Isaiah 61:7a AMP
“who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” II Corinthians 1:4 RSV
(Continued in my next article “The Battle Belongs to the Lord”)
He Touched Me
I started smoking pot at the age of 13 and after about the age of 15, I really don’t remember too many days that I went without it. If I was unable to find it for a short period of time because the town was “dry”, I would do something else to numb myself, usually get drunk. Basically, for 23 years, I did some sort of mind altering, mood altering substance everyday.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 AMP
My life was messed up; I was in and out of relationships, marriages and affairs. I used men and drugs to fill the space inside of me that only God could fill. I was (as my Pastor would say) “worshipping Baal”. I tried all kinds of self-improvement, I read books, listened to tapes and attended workshops. I strived, I mean I REALLY STRIVED, I worked and worked and used all the energy I had until I gave up. Then I would shame myself for failing and get up the energy and try again. I was trying to change my character traits, my behaviors, the circumstances of my life and my unhappiness. But I was looking in all the wrong places. For more details see my testimony, (Prodigal Daughter) at www.restforyoursoul.org
“So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members (those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin): sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (deifying of self and other created things instead of God).” Colossians 3:5 AMP
I’ve been a Christian since December of 1994, yet I didn’t quit drinking and doing drugs until August 1996. I did quit using men though; I had made the decision to be celibate. The reason for the celibacy was not for any spiritual reason at first, it was because my ex-husband had been cheating on me for over 3 years and I wanted to see if I had any STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Disease).
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
I had been praying God would help me to quit drugs, but then I would be afraid and add to my prayer “but please don’t let me get busted!” God is good, He delivered me and I wasn’t busted.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6
(Due to the length of this story it will be continued in my next article entitled “Freeze Tag”)
My story is like the Prodigal Son’s story in Luke 15. I was raised Lutheran by a Christian family, and I loved Jesus. When I was 15 years old, I quit going to church. I wanted to follow my free will and have fun with my life. I got a job and requested that I work Sunday mornings because I wanted to go to the car races in the evening. This gave me an acceptable excuse to miss church. At that point in my life church had become nothing more than a mindless ritual my parents made me do. I quickly developed an attitude of rebellion against religion because I saw a lot of hypocritical people. Love and truth were not as much of a priority as looks and image. I basically just said the words and went through the motions as far as church was concerned.
I was sexually abused as a teenager. As an adult, I’ve been emotionally, verbally and physically abused. I spent 23 years being married and divorced four times, into drugs, sex, drinking, lying, cheating and above all, unconsciously searching for something that was missing in my life. I was indeed “looking for love in all the wrong places”.
I barely remember my 20’s. I was broken, hurting, feeling defective; I felt worthless, imperfect and like damaged goods. I was doing all I could to numb my feelings from the time I put my feet on the floor in the morning until the time I passed out at night. It’s an unfulfilling lifestyle. I found my friends weren’t true friends, just people to party with and pass the time. I felt “frozen”, wanting to change and not knowing how, trying to transform my life myself. It was hard work and just frustrated me and I went deeper into the pit. My marriage was falling apart, my husband was having an affair, and he was abusive. Everything I had tried to do so far had failed. I realized that I couldn’t do it anymore. I was searching for answers.
I hadn’t attended a worship service in 20 years. I only went to church for weddings and funerals. This time, it was for a baptism. My nephew, Cam was being baptized and I knew I couldn’t get out of going. Crossing the street with my husband on the way to church, I remember saying “I can’t wait until this is over, cause then I won’t have to come back until someone gets married or buried“.
The church was crowded and there was reserved pews in the front for the baptism. I wanted to sit in the back of the church where I could escape quickly and not pay attention to the service. But there I was, stuck in the 3rd row! The worship started and it blew me away. I had never heard of Praise Singing and I loved it! I couldn’t believe what I had walked into!
I was amazed, the Pastor didn’t wear a robe and was young, he spoke my language, and everything was so real. The sermon that day was called the “Insurance Claim”. It was about trying to do it alone. I had felt so alone, struggling with life, everything he said I could use. I couldn’t hear enough; I was hungry for help that was real. It was like he was speaking directly to me, like he knew my life and what I needed to hear. I’m sure the Holy Spirit was working on me that day. It was the first time that the scriptures made sense to me, it wasn’t just someone preaching at me, he was teaching me what it means to me today sitting in my pew, with my problems.
All I thought about that week was my experience on Sunday. I knew I had to go back to see if it was too good to be true. The next Sunday the sermon was “The Revealing of Feeling is the Beginning of Healing”, another relevant message for me. I thought at that point that someone was filling the Pastor in and telling him my life. I now know that someone was it was the Holy Spirit. The 3rd sermon I heard was “Recovering from Resentment”, I tell you, I could not get enough of this church thing. I sat in my pew and took notes on the sermon; I would study those notes all week long. I could not believe how consistent the messages were to my life needs.
Like the Prodigal Son, I had come to the end of myself. I had tried everything I could with no success. I had made a real big mess of my life. Now, I was going home. And I found the same thing that he found; a Father that loved me so much, He was waiting for me, expecting me! And while I was still along way off, He ran down the road to meet me right where I was. He greeted me with open arms, happy and excited, loving me and welcoming me home! I found that even though I had been rejecting Him and choosing a sinful life, He was not rejecting me! He was choosing me, loving me and waiting for me! I always felt like I had to earn everything in life and now, Jesus was offering me grace, mercy and forgiveness for free! Just like the Prodigal Son, I received a ring of authority, a robe of righteousness, and my Father threw a party for my return. I know the angels were celebrating that day. I felt so unworthy, but Jesus didn’t care. He knew I wasn’t worthy before I left, I wasn’t worthy now and no matter how long I waited or what I did, I never would be worthy. That’s the blessing of mercy, grace and forgiveness. I found my sins were gone! As far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and I was a new person in Christ, (II Corinthians 5:17)
God transformed my life and He can transform yours. He likes to use the weak and lowly for His work, (I Corinthians 1:27-28). I live for God now and I have peace, joy and love like a river, better than any drug I’ve ever taken!