The Christian life is a violent life. We are told to "fight the good fight of faith"...We're also told that if we "through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live." Mortify doesn't exactly mean to be embarrassed here...It means to KILL. These violent metaphors of war-waging run all through-out Scripture.
However, we must ask ourselves, to whom or what is this violence directed? Does this mean we're to be violent to others? God forbid. Violent to our enemies? Yes...but, our enemies are not defined as being our neighbors, or people of other religions, or even people who've done us wrong. Our enemies can be found in two places: The first place is the spiritual realm where Satan and his evil minions dwell. He's a very real threat and many have been wounded and killed by this roaring lion. However, one of our biggest and most troublesome enemies can be found within us.
The Christian life, contrary to what the prosperity preachers tell you, is not "Your Best Life Now"...Sorry Joel, if you're living your best life now, then that means your life to come is going to be a hot one (cough-hell-cough). With that being said, our lives are filled with a roller-coaster of emotional highs and heart crushing lows. Let me be real honest here...losing two of my babies within 8 months HURTS. Holding their limp cold bodies HURTS. Watching dirt fill their graves HURTS. I can assure you, this has, by far, been one of the worst years of my life.
After experiencing these heart crushing lows, that stinking flesh in me wants to plunge my whole being into depression. My flesh is at constant war with my spirit and its battlefield is my mind. This holds true for my wife, Crystal as well. Her enemy is anxiety...anxious about death, possible diseases, sicknesses, abnormalities, will we ever have another live baby, etc... And from what she's been through, it's very understandable to have these feelings. It's like a cruel cycle of trauma-grief-anxiety-depression-anxiety-depression, etc...which seems impossible to break free from. She hates it...I hate seeing her suffer.
We're tired of playing defense in this fight for joy. So, we've decided to get violent. Tonight we started our first phase of attack. Our plan, so far, is to fight these enemies with a two-pronged attack:
- Fight with the Sword of the Spirit...the Word of God. We started tonight memorizing Matthew 6:25-34. After we get this passage, we'll move on to other anxiety/depression-crushing verses. Our goal is to renew our minds with the truth of God's Word so that when these feelings of anxiety or depression come along, we'll have some ammunition to hurl at the enemy. What we have to understand is that feelings come and go and you certainly can't trust them...they lie...However, Jesus is the TRUTH...He's the reality and His word is truth and in them is life. Scripture memory will be key in this renewal process.
- Ministering to others. By taking the focus off ourselves and looking to the needs of others will be another great way to "fight for joy". This could be accomplished in several ways like giving the gospel, encouraging someone else, helping those less fortunate, etc...
Would you like to go with us on this journey? Let's begin with memorizing Matthew 6:25-34 and look for ways to minister. Keep a sharp eye out...I bet God will be quick to place someone in your path. Be sure to check out another post I wrote earlier dealing with the subject of joy in Farming for Joy. Be sure to give any biblical suggestions you might have in this battle for peace of mind and joy.
Soli Deo Gloria