Strength to Stand: Stefanie McGowan

By Stefanie McGowan

The enemy knows exactly where to attack us, doesn’t he?

He sees our weakness, the tender parts of our heart that need refining, and the places where we need growth.
He prowls, seeking just the right opportunity to strike where we’re comfortable, when we’ve compromised, or have neglected to keep surrendering and seeking God’s heart.
He takes those fragile places within us and shoots his fiery arrows right where we least expect them (1 Peter 5:8).
And I bet he thinks he’s won…

I imagine he thinks there’s victory over us in those moments, where he seeks to kill our faith, or rob our joy, and destroy the freedom we have in Christ alone.
He’s probably rejoicing as he aims to bring back the guilt and shame of our old sinful nature, and attempts to trade the peace we have in Jesus, for the fear of doubt, and the chaos of confusion.

But Satan doesn’t win!
We don’t have to wither when opposition comes.
We don’t have to sink down into our sin and let it control what’s been set free.

What an incredible Father we serve, who shepherds us in the knowledge of growing in good soil (Matthew 13).
Who intends for us to grow into mature and fruitful Christians, standing firm in our faith, because we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37).

We’re not unarmed prey to a prowling enemy, powerless, and ill equipped.
We are warriors for Christ, whose power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Who equips us with practical tools to fight the good fight, who uses our weakness for good; exposing our need for Him.
He carries us through our trials and proves His grace is sufficient for our every need.
He grows our roots down deep, and nourishes our souls to stand firm in times of drought. (Isaiah 58:11)

The Lord cares about our endurance, and knows there’s no growth without a good root system.
He cares that we abide in Him, roots connected as branches to the vine, that we would bear much fruit, because apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
He teaches us that, “The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word” (Matthew 13:20-21).

Is your heart distracted from the intimacy of the One who does the growing?
Are you anchored with deep roots as the enemy prowls?
Keep growing, because you are meant to be fruitful. 

Your faith doesn’t have to wither when heat comes, because we serve a God of order, and not of chaos (1 Corinthians 14:33). We serve a God of peace, who gives us practical tools and promises to stand on; that we might grow to maturity as we endure the temptations of this life, and the testing of our faith (James 1:3).
He is everything we need. He’s our root system and our anchor, and He cares about the details of our lives.
He cares that we humble ourselves before Him so that He can lift us up. He cares that we’re watchful and of sound mind, because the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:6-10).

You and I are aware of the enemy’s tactics.
He goes for our minds; he swoops in on our weakness and at every opportunity, trades the truth of God’s Word for a lie. But we know the truth, and the truth will set us free (John 8:31).
We’re not stuck on a footpath to be trampled on, or in a rocky mess without roots to endure. We’re not slaves to sin, but have freedom in Christ! (Romans 6:22) Freedom to stand firm in our faith and press into the Anchor who holds when trials come. The One who goes before us, petitioning on our behalf, strengthening us by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 6:19-20). We have everything we need, because we have victory in Jesus.

These practical weapons are promises God gives us, to stand on as we grow:

  1. Put on the Whole Armor of God. (Ephesian 6:11-20)

You have armor. Use it everyday.
You have a belt of truth. Don’t be ashamed about who you are in Christ. Stand firm in truth.
You have a breastplate of righteousness, and it covers your core. You are holy in God’s eyes, covered by the blood of the Lamb. You are covered in Christ.
You have shoes of peace to put on as you share the Good News.
You have a shield of faith to use in every circumstance. Use it to quench those fiery arrows of the enemy.
You have a helmet of salvation, a covering over your thoughts and mind in Christ Jesus. Use your helmet when confusion comes. Take your thoughts captive, and be reminded of whose you are.
You have the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Are you planting the seed of the word? Are you using your sword?
Pray! Pray in the Spirit at all times, and in every circumstance. Talk to Jesus. Be persistent in praise, and in prayer.

2.  Look for an escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Whatever you’re going through, whatever hinders your growth, those temptations are something that everyone has gone through. Something Jesus was even tempted by. But God is faithful! He won’t tempt you beyond what you can stand. He promises us, that with the temptation to sin, he will also provide an escape so that you can withstand the temptation.

This is a rock you can stand on. Cash in on this promise when you’re tempted to sin.

3. Resist the enemy and he has to flee. (James 4:7)

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
This is a powerful promise for you from God.
Keep pressing into Jesus, as you plant the seed of His word in good soil.

That you would be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:11)

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