Battles of the Mind

My Enemies Trample
Psalm 56:1-4 ESV

Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?

Jesus Christ, when he lived on this earth, told his followers that they would be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake and for the sake of the name of Jesus and his gospel message. Yet, this would be their opportunity to bear witness for Him. He told them that they would even be delivered up for persecution by family members and close friends, and that even some of them would be put to death (See: Lu. 21:10-18; Jn. 15:20). And, because of this, they were blessed (See: Matt. 5:10-12).

But, they were not to get even with those who treated them badly. Instead, they were to love their enemies, pray for them, do good to them, and bless them (See: Lu. 6:27-28).

And, then Paul, one of Jesus’ apostles, gave us, the Lord’s followers, many words of encouragement with regard to how we are to respond to such persecution as this. We are to bless, not curse our persecutors (Rom. 12:14). In other words, we are to hope for them what is for their best, according to what is God’s best for them. We are to endure such treatment from our enemies for the sake of Jesus and his gospel, and for the sake of the salvation of human lives (1 Co. 4:12). And, this is so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our lives (2 Co. 4:7-12). “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).

And, we are not to be afraid of what humans may do to us or what trials we may have to endure for the sake of following Jesus Christ, and for the sake of his gospel (Matt. 10:25-27; Lu. 12:4-5; 2 Tim. 1:6-8; Heb. 13:5-6). But, we are to trust in the Lord, to keep following him and obeying him, and to keep sharing the gospel of our salvation so that many will hear, and so that many will believe and will turn their hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ. For, our enemies may be able to do us harm in this life, but they cannot take Christ away from us, so we need to remain steadfast and pray to God.

Will They Escape?
Psalm 56:5-7 ESV

All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

The sad reality of all of this is that there are many people who will never trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. They, throughout their lives, will remain Christ’s enemies, and therefore they will treat us, his servants, as their enemies, as well. They will oppose all that is of God, including his gospel message and all those who are sharing that gospel message, too. For these enemies of God serve Satan, whose goal it is to destroy us and the gospel of our salvation.

And, unless they turn their hearts to Jesus Christ, and submit to his Lordship over their lives, and follow him in walks of obedience, they will not escape the wrath of God at the end of time when he judges those who chose to continue to walk in darkness, who denied the truth, and who followed after the lie, instead.

My Tears
Psalm 56:8-11 ESV

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

Because we are human, mere clay in the Potter’s hands, and we live in flesh bodies, we have human emotions. We cry when we hurt, or at least some of us do. In fact, it is healthy to cry, for we need to get that emotional release, and we need to cry out our suffering to God and lean on him and his strength, and then rest in his comfort and healing.

Even if our faith in our Lord is strong, and our commitment to him and to his service is steadfast (unwavering), we are still human, and as humans we experience pain and suffering. And, when troubles and hardships and persecutions come our way, we will, at times, battle with those in our minds, and we will, thus, call out to God in our suffering, and pray for understanding and wisdom to know how to respond to our persecutors and unjust treatment.

When I read this part about our enemies turning back when we call on the Lord in our suffering, it brought this scripture to mind:

In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,
and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
Isaiah 28:5-6 ESV

I believe this “turning back the battle at the gate” has to do with those who have resisted Satan’s lies, deceptions and temptations in their own lives, as well as this represents those who are actively involved in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we resist Satan and his attacks against us, and we refuse to be intimidated by him, and we continue in the love of God, and in sharing the gospel, we turn back this battle that Satan is waging against God’s people, and at the gate of human’s hearts, so that people can be saved, so they can be free from the power of Satan and sin over their lives, and so that they no longer allow Satan and sin to overcome them. We stop it at the gate.

For those who have done this, i.e. for those who have “turned the battle back at the gate,” God will be our refuge and strength. This does not mean we will not suffer or even die for our faith in Jesus Christ and for his gospel, but it means that he will be with us even in death, and he will bring us safely into his glorious presence. Amen!

My Vows to God
Psalm 56:12-13 ESV

I must perform my vows to you, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

What is essential here is that we do not allow Satan to defeat us, but that we remain faithful to our Lord, and that in his power and strength, we are victorious over all Satan’s evil schemes against us, and there are many.

So, daily we resist Satan, we flee temptation, we draw near to God, and we put on the armor of God with which to fight Satan’s evil attacks against us, and he does use other humans as his instruments of warfare against us, too.

One of Satan’s biggest weapons against us is fear. If he can get us to be afraid, then he can defeat us in battle, at least in some scrimmages, he can. So, we must fight against fear by rejecting his lies and by putting on truth and by trusting in the sovereignty of God over our lives. We must remain faithful to God and not give way to fear, but to continually walk in faith and do what the Lord says, and then trust the Lord to work his will and his ways in our hearts and in the hearts and lives of our enemies, too.

We also need to keep an eternal focus, realizing that this world and our flesh bodies and all that is of this life on this earth is temporary, except for our relationships with Almighty God and our trust in our Savior Jesus Christ and His Word. When we keep our focus on God, and on what is eternal, rather than let the things of this life get us down, then we can live in victory over our enemies, and even love them with the love of Jesus Christ.

Not Our Home
Jonathan and Emily Martin

We are making our exodus
Out of this world of sin and death
We are making our exodus
Into the life that he’s promised

Oh… this is not our home
Oh… we’re headed for the kingdom…

Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 1:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. Help us, Lord, to remain faithful to you in all things and to be strong in the Lord and in his strength in our battles against the enemy of our souls. And, I pray, too, for all who are in this battle who are living in defeat, that they would know that you have come to set them free!

 

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