Back in January, I was having a conversation with my counsellor about making more of an effort to spend time praying or meditating.
The counsellor said, “You need to make it a discipline, to get up earlier each morning.”
In that instant a thought popped into my head, You don’t want to make this some religious, legalistic burden, now.
Where did that thought come from? It’s not even true – when I do make the effort to pray I don’t feel burdened, I feel lighter and energised. And since when do I talk to myself in the second person?
“There’s a concept in Christianity",” I said thoughtfully out loud, “called Spiritual Warfare.”
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. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV).
Back when I was a teenager, and first finding my way into faith, “Spiritual Warfare” seemed to be very fashionable in the Pentecostal Church I attended. It involved lots of loud praying, especially in Tongues, some stamping of feet and waving of fists in the air. Phrases like “taking authority” and “claiming the blood” were common.
I’ve mellowed a bit in the two decades since then. But I’ve found the battle is still being fought. It’s a more subtle, devious kind of battle than what we imagined back when. The real battle is the insidious lying thoughts that sneak into our minds, and if we’re not careful we take them as our own and agree with them, and end up believing the lie.
You’re unworthy. Look at all the stuff you’ve done wrong today.
Who do you think you are to write about faith? When was the last time you really heard from God?
You can’t do it. You’re not good enough. You’ll never succeed.
When I face the that thought head on, I can see it for the lie it is. And the more time I spend immersing myself in Truth, through prayer, and Bible reading, and reflection, the more I seem to spot those lies as soon as they pop up. But how many times does it sneak into my consciousness without me noticing? And what is it that those lies are trying to discourage me from achieving?