I / De / Clare / War
In the words of Warren Wiersbe: “The Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground, and we must be on our guard at all times.” Before we even jump into this idea of declaring war, we have to acknowledge this reality: whether we want to admit it or not, we are in a war, and you can’t win a battle you won’t admit you are in. The Christian life is a war of fighting to live in the spirit and not in the flesh. Paul put it this way in Romans 7: “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
If that Dr. Seuss tongue twister doesn’t perfectly exemplify the internal struggle bouncing around in all of our minds, I don’t know what does. We are masters of getting in our own way. Yes, the devil hates you. Yes, the world is out to get you, but you’ve got enough going on under the hood to take yourself out of the game.
Your self-sabotaging mechanism might be your negative thoughts, it might be your actions (or lack thereof), your bad behavior or short temper. It might be your harsh speech or the way you mindlessly turn to social media or food to distract yourself from what is really going on. We all have a vice. The problem isn’t that we struggle with these things, the problem comes when we refuse to acknowledge them, when we decide it is easier to go quietly into the night instead of putting up a fight.
I don’t believe that we don’t desire victory in our lives; no one wants to be stagnant – stuck in a rut of the same ol’ roadblocks. It’s just that we don’t want to put in the hard yards or commit to God’s instructions that show us the way we can live as victors. Let me tell you, our world offers lots of distractions to thwart the chaos caused by our unruly actions and thought lives, but these “fixes” at their best are simply that: distractions. Jesus offers something better.
So this is the day. God brought you to this moment to declare war. On your darkness, on your demons, on your self-sabotaging tendencies, on the version of yourself that you don’t want to be, to throw off the gloves, and rise to the fight, to commit to leaning in as we tackle vital components of the inner struggle.
There is freedom in this declaration: I / De / Clare / War
Questions to ask yourself:
- What are three things holding me back? (Don’t sanitize this list, that doesn’t help anyone.)
- Who can I tell (someone who loves me and loves Jesus) about this list to keep me accountable?
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.Romans 7:18-20 NIV
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.Romans 6:12-14 NIV
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.2 Cor. 10:4-6 NIV