Have you ever felt like something you’re reading slaps you in the face? Like it is so accurate and immediately applicable to you that you could SWEAR it was written just for you? Or it is a truth that you had never considered before and now your mind is completely blown? This happens to me pretty frequently as I read books, listen to audiobooks, hear a sermon, or just hear somebody speak about their experiences. It happened to me again today reading a baller devotional that every single one of you should buy (“Heir to the Crown” by Alisa Keeton). Here’s how it went down:
The devotional’s theme today was “Armed.” It went on to explain how as a daughter of the one true King I get to be armed with a shield of faith and a sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. It explained that an armed woman of God does not use her weapons to inflict pain or evoke fear, rather she uses her weapons to set the captives free and free herself from the things that bind her. SLAP.
I was reminded of how in the thick of my eating disorder I would inflict pain on myself. I would bang my hips against countertops until they were bruised because I believed that it was desirable to have bones sticking out and as long as I could still do that I was ok. One time, during feelings of complete darkness, I punched myself in the stomach over and over again because I was mad and frustrated and felt invisible.
Then I thought about how many years later I am still not using my weapons the way God intended. I inflict (mental & spiritual) pain on myself and somehow manage to put my bondage back on every now and then instead of walking in the freedom I know is mine. Now it isn’t physical harm to myself, but comparison, lingering glances in mirrors, self-criticism, food justification. It looks like believing lies about myself and others and letting that lead me instead of what God says about me or them.
I was challenged this morning to consider the weapons I’ve been given and to use them for good instead of harm. My shield of faith should be used to defend and protect myself (and others) from surrendering to lies. I should sharpen my sword of the Spirit as often as I can by reading God’s word and listening to what He tells me. Then, and only then, will I be prepared for when the enemy of lies, comparison, jealousy, and idolatry show up.
So armed friends of mine, how are you using your weapons? Don’t forget that God has given us full armor to wear because He loves us so much (read Ephesians 6 to see what that armor is!).
And if you’re the musical type, listen to these two songs as I did today to remind myself that I have victory because of Jesus and that my weapons of praise and thanksgiving are stronger than any other. “Surrounded” by Upper Room, and “See a Victory” by Elevation Worship.