When I visited Israel for the first time three years ago, we were not able to go up to the Temple Mount area because there was rioting taking place there. As I looked out at the Temple Mount the next day from my hotel balcony, I thought of all the battles that had taken place for thousands of years over this one mount, including that between the Maccabees and the Syrian army in the story of Hanukkah. There are so many mounts in the world, why do there have to be so many battles over just this one? There certainly seem to be enough mounts in the world for everyone who would like one! Why do all the battles have to be over this ONE in particular? The only explanation is because there is a spiritual battle behind the physical battle that we see. Of all the places in His entire vast universe, God chose this one particular spot for His earthly house, His Temple, where He would make His manifest presence known, let His magnificent glory dwell on this earth, reveal His character, and allow man to approach Him and draw near to Him. Satan is in vehement opposition to anything that would reveal God’s glory, power, life, goodness, redemption, plans and purposes. He (and his principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places) are behind the battles over the Temple Mount (Eph 6:12).
As I stood gazing at the mount and pondering this spiritual reality, God impressed these words on my heart, “If there is that much battle going on over the Temple Mount, how much more intense and fierce is the battle being waged over your heart, over YOU as a Temple of the Holy Spirit!! Those words and that view are ingrained upon my heart forever.
Whether you know it or want to admit it or not, there is a spiritual battle being waged over your heart 24/7. Satan is the Father of lies, and if he can get you to believe lies about yourself and about God, then He knows you will act out of those lies, and God’s light will be blocked within you. He comes to kill, steal, destroy, and he wants to use your strongholds to bring death to your heart, mind, emotions, spirit, will, body, and relationships. He wants to rob you of all that God wants to do in you and through you. God wants to bring life, light, healing, blessing, restoration, goodness, truth, purpose, love and joy. (James 1:17; Jer 29:11). Satan knows his time is short. He’s out to block all that is of God, and he just uses you as a pawn to accomplish this purpose.
Satan doesn’t want us to see the spiritual battle behind the struggles that we face (Eph 6:12). We don’t hear enough teaching these days about spiritual warfare and the enemy likes it that way, because then we are unarmed in battle and he gains more control and ground in our lives. (1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Cor. 11:14). He wants us to keep our eyes focused on what we can see — the other person or the circumstance — as our enemy. He wants us to fight our battles in our own strength using earthly weapons, that way we are sure to lose. We can’t be victorious in spiritual battles when we use earthly weapons! Instead of trusting that Yeshua holds all things together (Col. 1:17), WE try to hold all things together, WE try to fix others, WE try to make things and others “right” (the way WE think they should be) — with our marriages, families, children, friends, work, finances, etc. We try to convince, debate, argue, manipulate, control, punish, stress, fear, gossip, build our own armies by getting others on our side, blame, accuse, intimidate using guilt, fear, anger, bitterness and retaliation, use the silent treatment, set up conditional “contracts” (if you do this, I’ll do that), get ourselves physically sick, threaten, lie, cheat and sometimes even give up. These tactics are what I would call weapons of this world or earthly weapons. When we are deceived into using them, we are sure to fail. (Zech. 4:6) The bible is full of “negative role models” who tried to fight or manipulate circumstances in their own strength, instead of allowing God to fight for them, and as a result they would lose the battle or Satan would gain ground in their lives (Gen. 16:2; Nu. 14:42; 2 Sam 11:15; 1 Kings 22:28-29,37; Ps 146:3; Is. 31:1; Gal 3:3 – are just a few examples!).
No matter what we may see with our eyes or reason with our own thinking, we need to remember and acknowledge that our battle is not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12). We have to realize that just as the enemy gets a handle through our own strongholds, he gets a handle through others’ strongholds as well, and he can attack us through their strongholds. We need to stop seeing other people as our enemy, and start seeing Satan working through their strongholds as our enemy. When we can view others’ reactions toward us through spiritual eyes, then we are better able to respond to them out of love, forgiveness and empathy. When we know the type of battle we are facing, then we know what type of tools we need to be victorious in the battle.
We can learn from the Maccabees how God will fight our battles for us. Clearly they didn’t win the battle over the Syrian army in their own strength. They were fewer in number, less skilled, had fewer and less sophisticated tools, and they were inexperienced and untrained warriors. It was humanly impossible for them to win. BUT, they were obedient to God’s Word. They made “their part right.” That is what God is calling us to do in all of our situations. We need to stop focusing on trying to make others right, trying to fix others, or fix/change our circumstance (job, marriage, location) until it’s “right.” It’s not “I’ll get it right when he/she gets it right, or when this/that changes.” We need to make OUR part right, no matter what. We need to look at the sin in our own lives, the handles that we are giving the enemy through our strongholds (those lies we believe about ourselves (e.g., I’m bad, I’m not wanted, I’m worthless, I deserve to be rejected or punished, I don’t exist, I’m defective, etc., etc.) or about God (He’s mad at me, He’s not always with me, He’s disappointed in me, He wants me to be perfect, He wants me to be miserable, He just wants to use me, etc., etc.), and through our negative emotions such as: fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, self-condemnation, self-hatred, rejection, blame, accusations, guilt, shame, performance, worthlessness, criticalness, pride, etc. We need to deal with our strongholds and negative emotions using SPIRITUAL weapons of warfare (confess it as sin (Rom 14:23; Col. 3:5; 1 John 1:9; 2 Cor 7:1), forgive others and yourself (Col. 3:13; Eph 4:2), cancel satan’s authority (Eph 4:27; James 4:7-8; Luke 9:1; 1 John 3:8), ask God to speak His truth to your heart (Ps. 107:20; Eph 1:18-19); as well as an ongoing practice of blessing others (Eph 4:29; Rom. 12:14), speaking praise & thanksgiving to God for what He’s done and what He will do (Ps 100:4; Rom 4:17)). Once we’ve made our part right, THEN, we can stand back and watch God fight for us, just as He did for the Maccabees. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall be still.” (Ex. 14:13-14 & see other “battle scriptures” below)
Is there a battle in your life today that you’re trying to fight in your own strength? What or who are you trying to hold together? Who or what are you trying to fix? In what relationship or circumstance do you need to “make your part right,” regardless of how others are responding? Acknowledge your sin, use your weapons of warfare to break free from Satan’s handle in your life, and experience the Lord fighting your battles for you, you need only to be still!
Eph 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Jer. 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
1 Pet. 5:8 – Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour
2 Cor. 11:14 – Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light
Col 1:17 – In Yeshua all things hold together.
Zech 4:6 – Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.
Gen 16:2 – so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
Num. 14:42 – Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies
2 Sam 11:15 – In it he (David) wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
1 Kings 22:28 – 29,37 – Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead… So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there.
Ps. 146:3 – Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
Is 31:1 – Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.
Gal 3:3 – Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
Rom 14:23 – everything that does not come from faith is sin
Col. 3:5 – put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
2 Cor. 7:1 – let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Col 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Eph 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Messiah, God forgave you.
Eph 4:27 – and do not give the devil a foothold
James 4:7-8 – submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts.
Luke 9:1 – and He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.
1 John 3:8 – .. the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
Ps. 107:20 – He sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.
Eph 1:18-19 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Eph 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Rom 12:14 – Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Ps. 100:4 – Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Rom. 4:17 – ..the God who gives life to the dead, and calls things that are not as though they were.
Ex. 14:13-14 – Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall be still.
Deut 1:3- The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert.
Deut 3:22 – Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God Himself will fight for you.
Deut 20:1 – When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.
Deut 20:4 – For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
Josh 23:10 – One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as He promised.
2 Chron 20:12 – For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.
2 Chron 20:15 – Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
2 Chron 20:22 – At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
2 Chron 32:8 – With Him is only the arm of the flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.