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Fighting the Giant Despair

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Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

It was 2:30 in the morning and sleep wouldn’t overcome a nagging voice in my head. The voice was not my own, but the dark one who speaks with loud, jeering words. Words that are like darts; seemingly authoritative little missiles pierced my heart. The voice told me a range of vicious lies sounding just enough like truth for a bit.

I was tempted to listen to the sly voice of my enemy and if I’m completely honest, I did. I welcomed the dark heavy blanket of self-pity in place of the covering of peace that is mine in Christ. Mulling over sad images and dark scenes, I longed to escape my turmoil through tearful sleep. But as I rolled over in my bed for the umpteenth time, I felt the gentle prodding from a still small voice. The familiar voice whispered my need to get up and refuse my enemy’s brutal lies and tricks to lull me to sleep. As I got up I saw the reality of what was happening. You see, it wasn’t a physical sleep Satan schemed for me, but a spiritual one. He wants me in a slumber that makes me ineffective for the kingdom of God. He wants me isolated from other saints with my eyes on myself instead of focused in on Christ. He wants me attentive to his seductive sweet talk, not in tune to the Holy Spirit. He loves me silenced, without testimony of God’s powerful activity and life-giving speech. Thank God the Holy Spirit woke me before it was too late. 

Remember Pilgrim’s Progress? Christian and Hopeful are tired from their long and arduous journey to the Celestial City. The current path they traverse is hard and rocky. It hurts their feet. They see a meadow with a path appearing to go the direction they are traveling, so Christian persuades Hopeful to climb the stile so they might walk on the cool grass on the other side. As they walk, night falls and soon they find that another pilgrim has fallen and died in a deep pit. A fierce storm sets in and fear falls on them like the darkness that surrounds them. Unable to find their way back to the stile, Christian and Hopeful fall asleep in the meadow. In the morning Giant Despair captures and throws them in the dungeon of his home at Doubting Castle. The pilgrims camp in the dank, dark dungeon for 4 days with no food or water. Repeatedly and mercilessly beaten, finally Christian remembers he was given the Key of Promise by one of the King’s servants. While Despair is sleeping, they escape Doubting Castle, with the key they possessed the whole time. What grace to be given tools to escape! But oh, had they only remembered it sooner.

The Key of Promise

We don’t have to be lulled to sleep and ultimately beaten up by our enemy. Let’s learn his tactics. He might start covertly deceiving us to accept his messages as truth. A closer look reveals his same old unoriginal lies:

“You’re unqualified, you’re not gifted, you’re unseen. She could say it better, another is more gracious, that person has more boldness. She is a better host, he does evangelism better. He’s a more gifted musician, she is a more effective teacher.”

The list goes on and on. The caliber of the lie isn’t what matters to the enemy, what matters is when we give ear to the lies and let them take root in our hearts. It is then, that we are rendered ineffective by self-pity and doubt. But we don’t HAVE to wait to use the Key of Promise to get out of Doubting Castle. Not only do we have the Key of Promise at our disposal, but we also have the Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16) and the Sword of the Spirit (John 8:31-32) to take those lying thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:3-5). We have TRUTH from God’s Word readily available to us (John 16:13). So dearly loved one, as one who has recently been in battle, let me encourage you to pick up your sword and fight back when whispery lies of our enemy turn to shouts to block out the sound of that still small voice. You don’t have to take the beating. You don’t have to be lulled to sleep. You have the Sword of the Spirit. Awaken, take up your sword and shield, and fight!

“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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:13-19).

heidi 2 right sizeHeidi is a thirty-something farm girl making her home near the heart of the city with her husband Adam and their four children. When she isn’t busy with her job as wife and mom, she enjoys football, walks with her family, a strong cup of coffee and a good read. Heidi has been a part of Sovereign Grace Church for 12 years and has enjoyed serving in numerous capacities.