“There can be no great courage where there is no confidence or assurance, and half the battle is in the conviction that we can do what we undertake.” (Orison Swett Marden)
In order to do it—whatever “it” may be—we need to believe that we can. And since our God is sending us out to face forces much greater than ourselves, we rightly ask Him, “What assurance can you give me?”
It’s the same question we ask the person who too greedily borrows what we value or the one who too generously offers what we desire. We want something we can take to the bank. Something we can hold on to when things get shaky. Some guarantee that it won’t all go wrong, and that, if it does, we’ll be taken care of.
And it’s a fair question to ask, even of God Himself. He sends us out as ambassadors to a hostile world, as lambs to the slaughter. He sometimes hands us over, just as He did Job, to the malicious intentions of the enemy, to be tested and tried. He often challenges us with an insurmountable mountain and fully expects us to overcome it. And so we naturally wonder, against such overwhelming odds, how we can and how we will.
And when we ask, our faithful Father answers with His word! He speaks blessed assurances to us, and if we have ears to hear them, we’re revived! Our spirits are fortified and our faith is restored. He promises to prepare us. He promises to provide for us.
And He promises to protect us.
One of the most powerful of these promises is one we often hear quoted, one we see plastered on plaques and printed on everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. No weapon formed against you will prosper.
I think we often misunderstand it, maybe because we want to. And because we’re expecting something different than what was promised, we end up disappointed and defeated.
But He didn’t say that no weapon would be formed against you. I’ve got news for you: right now someone is likely forging a sword that they fully intend to swing at your neck. As you read this, someone may be sharpening the knife they plan to stick in your back the very next chance they get. Right now somebody is loading the gun they’re going to use to take you out of the game.
These weapons may not be literal ones, but they’re no less destructive. The blade may be the embarrassing betrayal of someone you saw as a friend, a Judas kiss that cuts you to your core. The bullets may be the insults and slanders hurled at you by those who see you as a threat, even though you’ve done nothing to threaten them. They hurt just as much—maybe even more—than the tangible tools of war.
He doesn’t say the weapons won’t be formed, and He doesn’t say the weapons won’t be used. They will be. God hasn’t promised to keep your enemies from attacking you. The sword will be swung. The trigger will be pulled. And it’s going to hurt.
No, the promise isn’t that the weapons won’t be developed or deployed; He just says they won’t work when they are! They’ll be completely ineffectual. They won’t be able to penetrate the helmet of salvation or puncture the breastplate of righteousness. They’ll have no ability whatsoever to spiritually destroy you, to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38–39).
The shield of faith doesn’t stop the fiery darts from striking—it just extinguishes them when they do.
God’s protection isn’t preventing the enemy from attacking you, but rather preserving you from it when he does.
The only power the weapons formed against you have is the power you give them. We give them power when we give them attention. Too many of us still feel like we have to respond to every criticism, defend every decision, and answer every accusation. We don’t.
We give them power when we surrender to our fear. In our own minds, we so often let our adversary become bigger than our Ally. We focus more on the waves than the One who saves, and then we start to sink.
We give them power when we let the wounds they cause fester. We rehearse the wrongs over and over. We take our anger to bed with us like our favorite stuffed animal, and the root of bitterness grows to the point of overpowering us.
But the weapons don’t work when you’re secure in the Fortress. David called the Lord his strong tower and his refuge (2 Samuel 22:3). When your faith in His power is firm and your focus is fixed on His purpose, nothing can overcome you. Fear gets put back in the box. Wrath has no room to corrupt your spirit. You learn to love those who hate you and pray for those who abuse you. You rest in the assurance that the One who’s in you is far greater than the one who’s in the world.
No weapon will ever work. Even if it kills your body, your soul stands victorious in the end. Why? Because Jesus, that’s why.
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