(This is Part 2 of our new devotional series “Fighting Dirty”.)
Good morning, peeps!
“I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:21-24
When I was younger, I hated being the new kid at school. My new classmates would take one look at me and think “Ohhhh yeah. Let the fun begin.” I reeked of fresh meat. It could be because I was an itty-bitty thing. I am not kidding. Imagine someone celebrating finally weighing 100 lbs. at their high school graduation. That was a big deal for me! I was more excited about seeing those numbers on the scale than I was about getting my diploma. Listen, I have been 5’9” since birth – okay, 6th grade – and was constantly teased about how thin I was. My nicknames were “Olive Oyl” and “praying mantis”. I’m looking down at this belly now and thinking “Well, the ‘praying’ part still fits.” Being basically a walking skeleton made me an easy target and kids would try me because I appeared to be defenseless. I wasn’t, though. I knew someone and her name was Shawn.
Shawn is my big sister. I don’t recall her ever getting into any fights when we were younger, but somehow people knew she wasn’t one to mess with. I don’t know if it was the way she carried herself or her attitude that made everyone give her a 3-foot halo, but folks left her alone. Me? Please. It was almost like I wore a “please come hither” t-shirt to school every day. And they did, with great joy, until they found out who I had in my corner. All I had to do was say her name and the conflict was instantly resolved. *Poof*! Over. Of course, you should know that I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I’d pick. Naw! Don’t walk away now! I thought you wanted to fight me?? Where you goin’?? I don’t think I ever had to actually fight in school. All I had to do was say her name.
This morning, saying “Shawn” wasn’t gonna cut it.
Have you ever been startled out of your sleep? That has got to be the worse feeling ever. It sorta feels like a bad combination of indigestion and surprise and that’s what I felt in my chest as I reached for my alarm clock this morning. It was weird and heavy. In the stillness of my bedroom as I listened to the thoughts coming into my mind, I realized that this was no indigestion or surprise: I was under attack. In the passage above, I’ve highlighted “who will rescue me”. I know Paul is talking about the battle between our flesh and spirit, but the fight I woke up in is not that. The enemy is warring against my mind and robbing me of my peace. I’ve been so overcome with worry about one particular thing that I cannot think about anything else. It’s debilitating, to say the least. And it isn’t right. I need help. And Shawn ain’t it.
I know someone.
I’m in my kitchen now and as I am listening to the rainstorm outside, I’m thinking about how storms rarely come unannounced. Meteorologist predictions aside, there are signs nature gives us. The clouds darken. The wind shifts. There’s the sound of rumbling in the clouds. There’ll be little drops of rain before the downpour. Why is it that we wait until that part – the downpour – to seek shelter? This stankin’ storm (fight) I’m dealing with came with all kinds of signs. I saw it coming from a mile away. At the first signs of it, I should’ve sought Shelter. I didn’t. I thought I could handle it on my own, with all of my logic and reasoning. But no. This Lake Michigan-ish wind is whipping me all upside my ears and shoving me down the street like a crumpled paper bag and the rain – no, hail – is tearing my head up. Fighting for one’s peace is…whew. It’ll wear you out. I’m not cut out for this mess and the enemy knows it. I reek of ‘fresh meat’, with my bony self. I need someone with a bit more muscle on my side.
Come, Holy Spirit.
I think people took Jesus’ words “I will send you a comforter” literally and left Him there like he is a warm and fuzzy blanket. Do not get “Comforter” confused with “Ol’ Softy”. The Holy Spirit is none of that. This is a bad boy. I don’t know if it’s the way He carries Himself or His attitude, but the enemy knows not to mess with Him. He is definitely one you want in your corner in a fight. When I hit ‘publish’ yesterday, I knew that I knew that I knew that I would have to live out this devotional series. I even knew I’d be fighting something. Let me quit playing: I said “something” like I had no idea what it would be. I knew exactly what I’d be fighting and I knew where the battle would be taking place. What God was letting me know this morning is I DON’T HAVE TO FIGHT ALONE. The “who” that will rescue me will not be me – it will be Him. I know a lot of you are in battles right now and not just with your flesh. Your mind is under attack. Allow me to remind you who to call on when the enemy comes for you – and if he hasn’t already, he’s a’coming. Holy Spirit. Have a great day.