As I have been working through the Deeper Still Bible study over the last month, a story by Priscilla Shirer really resonated with me and brought back some old memories that I'd like to share. She spoke of a time when she was approached by a menacing dog while by herself on a walk; by raising her voice and jabbing at it with a stick, she was able to send that dog hightailing it out of there! She compared this to the enemy's attacks against us that are often-times, "all bravado and no bite." She further taught that "No matter how good he (the enemy) is at barking, he has already been rendered impotent." The way she described it made me think of the following verse:
Colossians 2:15 (NLT)
In this way, he (Christ) disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
That's some pretty serious stuff...not only did He DISARM them (or render them ineffective), He also SHAMED them publicly at the cross. Make no mistake; that's a spectacle we're talking about. As I rolled this around in my mind, I suddenly remembered stories of my own encounters with vicious dogs as we were growing up in a rural area north of Houston - I think I had blocked them out of my memory up until this point!
My twin and I enjoyed running and riding our bikes around our "neighborhood" if you could call it that. Everyone had a couple of acres, no fences, and no HOA restrictions. On one particular stretch, there were a couple of houses that had rottweilers and dobermans with no restraints whatsoever...ridiculous now that I think back on it. They would come charging, and I mean charging with nostrils flared and teeth bared, out at us as we ran or biked innocently by. Now, for even the bravest of us, that would be a terrifying sight...but I am far from the bravest of us...I'm actually kind of a wimp! It would take every ounce of bravery and gumption that my 9 year-old self had to stand up tall and yell with all my might, "Go Home, Bad Dog, Get Out of Here!!" It normally didn't work the first time; it took a bit of their edge off but they would keep coming. And we would keep yelling over and over, and even have to run at them at times - but they would finally back off when they saw we were serious.
Reading Priscilla's story brought back memories of that specific gut-wrenching fear that I had to PUSH down as I forced myself to be authoritative and show NO fear. Now, of course, intellectually I know it to be true that I have authority over the enemy and that he has already been disarmed and shamed by Jesus Christ once and for all. But, oh that fear, that can stop you in your tracks...
What are you facing in your life today that has literally frozen you in place and all you can see are the teeth and all you can hear is the barking? The enemy will leave you alone, but it is going to take an exertion of your FAITH and WILL to stand up with all you have and say, "Go Home, Bad Dog, Get Out of Here!!" (In Jesus name of course!) It cannot be a half-hearted, wimpy prayer - that just won't work - not with what the people of God are facing today. But when you do with all the bravado you can muster, just like those rottweilers and dobermans, the enemy will tuck his tail and run when he sees that you are serious.
Therefore, put on every
piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time
of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.