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In us, Around us, FOR us

There are times when we all need to hear the words that are more than 'fluff' or 'flattery' - they need to be words that will bolster our courage, increase our faith, and help to put "steel in our spines" again. No matter how hard we try, we ALL experience moments of doubt - the siege "against" us seeming to be far more prepared than our own defense. The truth is, we are often caught unaware in the moment of attack in our lives. Most of us have little to no clue of the next thing which will put us into a tailspin. As I am writing this, I am listening to the words of a song declaring our God is stronger, our God is for us, so who could stand against us or stop us. Now those are rallying words!

Hezekiah rallied the people, saying, "Be strong! Take courage! Don't be intimidated by the king of Assyria and his troops—there are more on our side than on their side. He only has a bunch of mere men; we have our God to help us and fight for us!" Morale surged. Hezekiah's words put steel in their spines. (2 Chronicles 32:6-8)

The situation: King Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, is coming against the fortified cities of Judah. His strategy: To take the city of Jerusalem as his own by whatever means was necessary to achieve it. The result: He put the fortified cities under siege. When a king puts a fortified city under siege, he is doing so because it is a stronghold and the only way to breach the stronghold is to cut off the supply routes, water, or other vital resources. It has walls of defense which makes attacking it a little more challenging than a fight of an enemy standing out in the open! Different tactics must be used to get what one wants in these types of fights. You have probably heard it said, "The best defense is a good offense." The only plan our enemy has when he sees our "walls of defense" is to attempt to isolate us from help - from those things or people that actually supply our need. As the things we need are cut-off from our use, we become weaker - making attack possible. In fact, when a walled city was encountered, the very "futility" of fighting against the "walls of defense" was a tactic to distract the enemy from even trying to attack in the first place! So, the only tactic the king would have was to keep the inhabitants so busy fighting the attacking forces that no attack would come from within the city. Distract the city long enough with the nuisances of cutting off their supplies and he'd find the "chinks" in the cities defense come to light.

This is how the enemy of our soul operates - first, he seeks to separate us from the very things and people that supply our need. Time in the Word bolsters our faith - cut this off and we grow weak, allowing doubt to enter in. Time in prayer unburdens our heart - attack here and the emotions are allowed to build to a breaking point. Words of encouragement from those who walk alongside in the battle help us to remain focused and motivated to move in the right direction - eliminate these and we walk alone, vulnerable to all kinds of attack and various steps taken in the dark. If this were not enough, he looks for the chinks in our armor, as well. The small areas left undefended in the moment of his distraction with the current skirmish at the walls of defense in our lives. These moments of distraction are all the opportunity he needs to scale the wall and begin his inroad into our stronghold - the mind! His attack begins outside of the mind - his aim is very much our mind! Why? It is not a secret to him - it is our stronghold of defense, for all we do (and even our faith) begins with thought. If he can get into our thoughts - doubts begin to form, fear begins to muster, and we begin to respond in ways we find totally out of character for us.

To those who find themselves under the siege of the enemy in their lives, I speak the words of Hezekiah: "Be strong! Take courage! Don't be intimidated by the enemy! There are more on YOUR side than on his! His power is limited! Ours is limitless - in and through our God we have more than enough to resist his siege!" The enemy of our soul seeks to distract - God says, "Keep your focus on me, not him!" He seeks to find the chinks in our defenses - God says, "Let me shore them up with my even greater defenses!" He seeks to attack the stronghold of our minds - God says, "Let me consume your thoughts!" In so doing, we actually get steel in our spines! This is the result of having both a good defense and a great offense. God in us, around us, and FOR us. Just sayin!

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