I have been a child of God’s for 40 years. I asked Jesus to come into my heart as a very young child. I have had highs and lows. Been on mountaintops and in valleys. But my faith didn’t really, truly begin to deepen until two to three years ago when I began in earnest to plead with God to work in me and change me. I longed to see the kind of work of the Spirit in me that I saw in the lives of some of my friends. It was an aching at the very depths of my soul.

In the mornings I would rise, spend time in prayer and reading my Bible, and then do my workout. Both good things to spend time on. But I would spend 15 minutes in my devotions, and 45, or more in exercise. I had lost a lot of physical weight by working out, and wanted to be sure to keep it off. About a year ago, I realized I wasn’t going to make any further progress in my walk with God by giving Him just 15 minutes a day. However, I didn’t have more time to give. So I switched my priorities. I didn’t give up my workouts all together, but I gave them much less time. I have put on weight. But I have lost the weight of spiritual baggage…things that clung to me, or I clung to, that I have been learning to give to God. Sometimes I become frustrated. Especially when I am unable to fit into the clothes I wore a year ago. God has brought me so far, though. And I am so grateful!!

The growth in my faith has not been just a stroll down a back country road, though. It has been a battle; often quite fierce. The moment I was willing to sacrifice in order to draw closer to Jesus, I became a target. As long as I was sitting in a stagnant puddle, satisfied with a blasé kind of Christianity, the Devil took no notice of me. Now, however, I had a bulls eye on the middle of my chest. The battle has been daily, and takes many forms. The apostle Paul warns us of this in Ephesians 6:12 (NCV) –
“Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.”

In my case, the Devil has attacked with depression, loneliness, despair, accusations, fear. When I felt the call to start a blog, the attacks increased. As I have been drawn closer to The Lord, the Spirit convicts me of my sin. While He convicts in love to bring correction and purity, Satan uses the same sins to accuse and try to drive a wedge between me and my God. Sometimes it works. Over the past few days, I have been weekend and dragged through the mud. Physically tired and unable to fight the spiritual battle, I fell to the sword of the evil one. I knew what King David felt in his times of despair. I thought of all those Psalms that were cries for help. Finally, that is what I did, too. I cried out. I told God what I was thinking…and I am so thankful for His understanding and grace. I felt like Moses and David and Solomon, and all the other prophets and kings who cried out to God in their frustration and fatigue. In the end, I simply confessed that I was weary in the battle. I didn’t want to quit the fight. I didn’t want to give in. But I needed a little reprieve, and the strength of God to lift me out of the trenches for a while. My armor of God had been beaten, dinged, dented, and scratched. I needed time in the field hospital where I could pray in the safety of His shelter, and request that my shield and helmet and breastplate could be repaired and polished. Is it no wonder that Paul ends his description of the armor of God with an action, not a weapon? Ephesians 6:18 – “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for God’s people.”

I close with this, a request for prayer. God has called me to lift you, His people, up. To edify and encourage you, and to share with you the messages He desires you to hear. As I seek to obey Him, will you pray for me? And not just me, but all the people in your life whom God uses in a similar way. Pastors, Bible teachers in your Sunday School class or Bible study groups, the teachers you listen to on the radio or read on blogs or other devotional studies. Pray for God’s wisdom, and that He will give us the words to share. Pray for strength in the battle, and that He will continue to grow and strengthen our faith. Pray that He will use us for His glory.

What a mighty God we serve! What a mighty God we serve. Angels fall before Him. Heaven and earth adore Him. What a mighty God we serve! All praise and glory and honor go to Him, my God, and my Savior!!!