Let’s Live Courageously!

It’s simplistic to say that the only kind of battle going on today is the war against terrorism, though that is what the Enemy of our souls would love for us to believe. He would like to preoccupy our minds with the physical struggles around us and have us miss the spiritual conflict within that rages every day of our lives.

As Christians, most of us know that we fight on the frontlines of an invisible war. Unfortunately, there are many who do not realize that. They may have been taken hostage and not know it. They could be wounded, but nobody notices because they don’t actually bleed. The most spiritually bloodthirsty, wicked creature on earth, our adversary the Devil, wages an invisible war against you, your family, your church, and every other person who has been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb.

The Apostle Paul knew this conflict well and often wrote of it:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:3–4)

Never forget: we are engaged in a battle, not for our bodies, but for our minds. Please don’t think of the mind as just a brain inside the cranium. Think of the mind as the inner person, with intellect and emotions and closely connected. It involves the way we we react.

It is in these vulnerable areas that Satan works. He battles through people or without people; he battles in events, in depression, in success, or in failure. He battles in money or in poverty. He is constantly engaged, forever bent on our destruction.

Why does he despise God’s people and fight so insidiously against us? The answer is that he’s consumed by his hatred of the mission of Christ. Knowing that he can’t overthrow it—because the gates of Hades will never accomplish that—Satan plays a wicked game of spiritual chess. He knows he’s doomed, but he’ll get your last man if he can. He knows Christ has already won, but he won’t give up without an intense fight.

So what are we to do? How do we engage such an enemy? I can think of two ways.

First, identify the Enemy’s tactics. Ponder 2 Corinthians 2:11: “So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” One of the Enemy’s most cunning tricks is to make you think you’re listening to your own voice inside your head, when it’s really him at work. Next time you feel discouraged or tempted, test each thought against God’s Word (1 John 4:1). Deception is exposed when held up against the truth.

Second, defend yourself in Christ. We can defend ourselves against the Enemy’s schemes by “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). What a grand verse! Since Satan makes our mind his battlefield, our best defense is to surrender our thoughts to Jesus Christ and ask Him to guard and protect us. When we release ourselves to our all-powerful Lord, He takes charge—and Satan backs off. I make this practical in my own life by regularly telling God, “Lord, I need You right now. This very moment, take charge of this situation. I need Your thoughts, I need Your strength, I need Your grace, I need Your wisdom, and I need Your very words. Protect me from fear. Hold me close. Get me through this violent storm.” He will; He will get you through—victoriously. Remember, “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

The battle rages. We will face many skirmishes in the months to come, both publicly and privately. But we have no reason to fear—Jesus Christ has already won our spiritual victory. I challenge you today to step out in courage and walk in that victory. It is yours to claim in Christ Jesus. Don’t listen to the Enemy’s mind games anymore.

Let’s dare to live courageously!

Copyright © 2002 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.