Christian Warfare and Depression (Welch)

 Satan and his wicked army often attack Christians and try to get us to believe lies.  Sometimes we believe the lies and our lives go downhill in various ways.  We stumble into sin, we hurt someone, we go through a period of depression, and the list goes on.  What do we do when Satan attacks us with lies and his other strategies?  Ed Welch gives some good direction on this topic:

…What happens in our lives when we simply say to Jesus, ‘Yes, I trust you,’ is that we also trust in his power to stand firm against Satan’s attacks.

  1. Remember you have an enemy.  Follow the lead of wise people who begin each day by actually saying, ‘Today, I must be alert that I have an enemy.’  Realize that you are walking where rebels are known to be in the area.  Their lives are devoted to your destruction.

  2. Assume that warfare rages.  Don’t even bother looking for signs of warfare.  Just assume that you are in the thick of it.  …Are you listening to wise counsel and Scripture? …Listening is a mark of humility, and Satan can’t successfully fight against it.

  3. Don’t think that your case is unique.  This popular lie questions God’s care: all sufferers are tempted to believe that their suffering is unique.  This lie immediately renders all counsel irrelevant because no one understands and no advice applies.  The result is that the aloneness you already experience is now an established fact, and you are given ever more permission to despair.

  4. Know Christ.  Satan’s energies zero in on one point: the truth about Jesus.  If you are growing in an accurate knowledge of Jesus Christ, you are winning the battle.

  5. Humble yourself before the Lord.  Humility is different from feeling low.  It is lowering ourselves before God, and accepting his sovereign will.  Humility says, ‘God owes me nothing.’  ‘He is not my servant; I am his.’  ‘God is God, and he has the right to do anything he wants.’

There is quite a bit more to Welch’s discussion, especially as he relates it to depression in the Christian life.  I’ve summarized these points quite a bit, so I recommend reading the entire section for excellent biblical direction in fighting Satan’s attacks, especially when going through a period of depression.

Here’s where you can find it: Ed Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness (Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2004) p. 68-71.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

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The Battle Belongs to God! (Wright)

The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative I mentioned this book a few years ago: The Mission of God by Christopher Wright.  Since it is an excellent resource, I’ve used it again from time to time in my studies.  This morning while studying the “nations” theme in Luke 24:47 (…repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations… NIV), I ran across this great reminder:

“God’s battle with the gods is an essential part of God’s mission.  God’s mission is the blessing of the nations.  And the blessing of the nations must ultimately include ridding them of gods that masquerade as protectors and saviors, but are actually devouring, destroying, disappointing deceptions…..”

“The battle and the victory belong to God. …By putting our emphasis again on the mission of God, not on human mission, we preserve the right biblical perspective on this matter.  For we need to be clear that in the Bible the conflict with the gods is a conflict waged by God for us, not a conflict waged by us for God.”

“To be sure, the people of God are involved in spiritual warfare, as countless texts in both testaments testify.  However, it is assuredly not the case that God is waiting anxiously for the day when we finally win the battle for him and the heavens can applaud our great victory.  Such blasphemous nonsense, however, is not far removed from the rhetoric and practice of some forms of alleged mission that place great store on all kinds of methods and techniques of warfare by which we are urged to identify and defeat our spiritual enemies.”

“No, the overwhelming emphasis of the Bible is that we are the ones who wait in hope for the day when God defeats all the enemies of God and his people, and then we will celebrate God’s victory along with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.  Indeed, in the company of heaven we already celebrate the victory of the cross  and resurrection of Christ, the Easter victory that anticipates the final destruction of all God’s enemies.”

“God fights for us, not we for him.  We are called to witness, to struggle, to resist, to suffer.  But the battle is the Lord’s, as is the final victory.”

C. J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 178.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015