|Are You Fully Prepared to Battle Those Things That Keep You from Experiencing God's Best in Your Life?|
I woke up this morning - the "worries" were waiting for me to open my eyes to harrass me, but I refused to listen and began to silently pray. God has felt so far away from me - but as I sat there trying to collect my thoughts, I realized it is not God who is far from me - but ME who has been far from God... Part of the process of moving forward down the pathway home from a prodigal moment. I thought I was experiencing the spirit of fear - but as I woke up and began to go about my day, I realized that actually what I am feeling - is a deep hunger for God. Do you know the kind I'm talking about? It is kind of like that feeling when you are famished. Your belly aches because you are hungry. My spirit aches. I am hungry for God. The problem is I am having a hard time cutting all the weeds of distraction out of the way so that I can just quietly get before Him.
Do you remember the scene in Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" when the spell goes into affect and the Princess and all who are in the castle are sound asleep, and thorns and briars begin to surround the castle? The scene where the Prince while riding through the forest is taking his sword and slashing the thorns and branches out of his way so he can get to his goal - the princess? I've been thinking that at times we need to be steadfast in slashing those distractions and things keeping us from "God's best" out of the way, but we need to do it using our "Sword of the Spirit." Ephesians Chapter 6 talks about our spiritual armor. How many times in our rush to get out the door and get our day started have we forgotten to put our armor on? We remember to get washed up and dressed in clothes every day (who of us walks out the door naked???) but we need to also remember to put on our spiritual armor. It is as follows:
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, the breast plate of righteous in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace. In addition to all this take up the sheild of faith, which with you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God and pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." (Ephesians 6:13-6:18)
I realize in writing this how many times I have walked out the door spiritually naked. This makes us vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one. How ridiculous I feel writing this, as I would never walk out the door physically naked to start my day. Our spiritual armor protects our most vulnerable parts - one of which is our heart. In attacking all those distractions, worries, thoughts that would distract us from starting our day off on the right foot and feeling close to God, experiencing that peace that passes all understaind - we need to be fully clothed in our spiritual armor. Prodigals already feel vulnerable. Raw, anxious, on edge as we make that trek back home to the Father. We especially need to put on our armor.
I realized that the ache I am feeling is not coming from my "belly" but from my Spirit. I can fully understand why I am crying out like David:
"Why my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." (Psalms 43:5).
There is a part of us - the center of us that was made to fellowship with God. It is a hunger that we often drown out with the busyness of life or we mistake that longing for something else... We think if we fill it with food or with drugs or with alcohol or with another person - that it will subside. But the truth IS we were made to worship and love God. There is a part of us - our soul that cries out for Him. For His purpose, for His love for fellowship with HIM. There is nothing that can feed that soul hunger except to be in union with Him. When we are not - we become famished. Are you famished? I am famished for my Father. I am tired of distractions, worries, insecurities getting in the way of what He has for me. It is time to utilize that spiritual armor. But in doing so - keep in mind that not only must we be fully clothed in that armor - but the most important part - is to PRAY. Prodigals need to PRAY. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do because your "rawiness" or awareness of your prodigal situations (past or present) get in the way and the enemy whispers in your ear that you "aren't worthy to go before the Father." Especially if you are struggling with something trying to hold you back as you journey back home to the Father. There may be something trying to keep you from going forward. For me - it has been a soul tie. Yes those are real. But this is where the Word of God (which is the Sword of the Spirit) comes in hand... This is where you use that sword and quote your promises outloud. Jesus said:
"Come now let us settle the matter, though your sins are scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are as red as crimson, they shall become like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
There are certain ties and binds that we do not have the strength on our own to break or fight. This is where we need the Lord. I love the fact that scripture in particular starts off with "Come now, let us settle the matter" - because it shows communication and discussion. Jesus cares and He is listening. Often a prodigal doesn't feel as though ANYONE cares or ANYONE understands. But Jesus does. There is such peace in that... As I write this post I can feel God's peace starting to fill my soul. This is why it is important to have your spiritual armor on, to pray and to get into God's presence.
The end result is that it may not be "Prince Charming" who stands over your bed - but it will be "The Prince of Peace" that stands over your life and takes your hand in His and guides you down the pathway of life - promising to never leave nor forsake you... Now I don't know about you - but that certainly sounds like a better ending than any I've seen in any Disney movie... Doesn't it?