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By Verlisia Harris
Recalling the earliest memories of my Dad, as a little girl, he stood as a tall 6’3’ giant. Him picking me up and carrying me in his arms felt like an adventurous ride of a lifetime, I could take in the awesome view looking down on the things around me, no mattered how far he would carry me. Not only that, but I recognized I was out of harm’s reach, and I felt secure knowing I was being safely transported over everything or person that served as an obstacle or obstruction to me. He was my hero and still is to this very day!
Growing up, my Dad’s tall stature and athletic build, spoke volumes in the neighborhood where we lived. His reputation preceded him, just on his appearance alone. He struck fear in the hearts all of the neighborhood bullies who attempted to harass us (me and my sister) at one time or another. All my Dad had to do was simply appear, and voila! The bullies would disappear. Just the very threat to summon my Dad’s presence to the scene, caused the bullies to reconsider their actions and run. No neighborhood bully could match him. Even though my Dad never walked around toting a shot gun, rumor was among the bullies, that my Dad carried one, and you better run if you didn’t want to get shot. Whenever the bullies attempted to aggravate and intimidate us by trespassing into our yard, I would warn the bullies, “I’mma tell my Daddy!!!” I had the confidence that if I called my Daddy to the scene, he would faithfully show up and those bullies would immediately disperse.
You see, there are times in our faith walk where we may be challenged by “spiritual bullies” that are too strong for us. We find that we have exhausted all efforts to defeat them, and yet they return. They keep coming back. They refuse to step down or be deterred. They persist in their intimidating approach towards us at every turn and opportunity to frighten or frustrate us. These “spiritual bullies” are nothing more than demonic forces assigned by Satan to harass, torment and discourage the Believer.
Please don’t mistake this as an attempt to magnify the tactics of the enemy, but instead understand that the battle with the enemy of our souls can be truly intense. It’s at those times we can reach into our arsenal of prayer by calling our Heavenly Father to the scene to enforce the Battle that has already been won, against the enemy on our behalf. As Believers, we must boldly appropriate the weapons we have been given by our Father…the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, the Word of God, the Full Armor of God and the weapon of Praise. When we effectively engage these weapons against the enemy, he is rendered powerless and of none effect. Furthermore, giving God sincere praise immobilizes and debilitates the enemy’s effort to wreak havoc in our lives.
If we’re totally honest with ourselves, there are certain temptations we encounter, that constantly war with us. We become discouraged, seeing very little light at the end of the tunnel. We wonder if we will ever experience any victory in those areas- those areas where we’ve repeatedly succumbed to the cravings of our flesh or heeded the taunts and persuasions of the enemy. We find ourselves weak and we feel we’ve failed miserably. Negativity overtakes us, and becomes the norm. We lose all expectation of living in total freedom. We pound our consciences with the fists of condemnation, pulverizing our confidence, esteem and identity. We feel alone and helpless. We become disillusioned to the truth found in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”- King James Version (KJV)
During our lowest points and at our most challenging moments, we must realize that turning to the Word of God positions us to access the power of God we so desperately need to overcome the lust and cravings of our flesh and the wiles of the devil. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, God strengthens us against temptations by providing us a way of escape: “Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.”- Good News Translation (GNT).
We must truly believe according to Hebrews 11:6 that “…God exists, and He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” –New Living Translation (NLT) When we seek God, He rewards us with all that we need to succeed in our Christian walk. We must recognize that we cannot defeat the devil, nor overcome the desires of our flesh on our own. Hebrews 12:22 begins by saying,” Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” If we want to experience the victory that is rightfully ours in every area of temptation or challenge we face, God must be involved from start to finish. We must lift up our eyes and focus on Him and declare like David did according to Psalms 121:1-2, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” – King James Version (KJV) When we consider the life of David, those hills initially represented the darkest times David spent hiding from jealous King Saul, who diligently sought to kill him. In those hills, King Saul stayed constantly on David’s trail, seeking any opportunity to destroy him. On the other hand, those hills also represented to David, God’s faithful protection, for it was in those hills, David learned to “tell his Daddy” by calling on his Heavenly Father to deliver him from his enemies. God saved David from the evil plots of Saul.
God not only saved David from his external adversaries, but also from his internal vices as well. David struggled with personal enticements which resulted in him falling into adultery with Bathsheba, and committing the murder of an innocent man-Bathsheba’s husband and his own soldier. David saw that he failed horribly, for he sought to cover up his sin. Through the words of the prophet Nathan, David’s sin was exposed to himself and David again, “tells his Daddy” by confessing his sin and seeking repentance, refreshing and restoration. God answers David through the prophet Nathan by forgiving his sin and preserving his life. David recognized the importance of calling his Father to the scenes of chaos in his life, for he exclaims in Psalms 18:3, “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” –King James Version (KJV)
With full assurance, we can look to Jesus, who is qualified to help us during times of temptation. According to Hebrews 2:16, Jesus is able to help us when we are being tempted because, “He Himself suffered when He was tempted.” Jesus knows, according to 2 Peter 2:9 “how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust (or wicked) unto the Day of Judgment to be punished.” –King James Version (KJV). Ultimately, the power to resist the enemy and overcome the self-gratifying tendencies of our flesh will only come when we learn how to submit ourselves to God. When we decide once and for all to submit to God, we will understand what Paul meant in Romans 8:31b, “With God on our side like this, how can we lose?”-Message Bible (MSG).
Verlisia L. Harris is a Birmingham, Alabama native and has been a resident of Houston, TX since 2008. She is a proud single mother of three teens, Caleb, Zion and Victory. She loves to write, journal, sing and read great books (namely, her bible) and periodicals. She faithfully serves as a youth pastor, teacher and intercessor at her church.
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