“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:10-12

This world is a battlefield, and we witness the carnage daily. The evening news is too painful to watch. I have viewed starving children begging for food in Gaza, people being pulled from earthquake rubble in Taiwan, and the bullet-tattered victims of both declared wars in Ukraine, Israel, and Haiti and from senseless criminal acts in the United States. Although we know how the war ends, the struggle is real for each of us. We are called to spread the good news of the Gospel and be the hands and feet of Jesus by reaching out to a hurting world, yet we often believe that we are too insignificant to make a difference.

Jesus has called us as soldiers to resist the powers of darkness and the whispers of the enemy yet, Satan is clever. He often uses strongholds that he has set up in our minds to attack us. We are tasked to stand firm against these spiritual powers of darkness, but the adversary makes us question our fitness for the fight. Doubts often have us quivering in weakness when we are called to be standing strong in the Almighty's strength.

My family moved when I was 9, and it was a frightening time for me. Fitting in was a challenge. My vision started to deteriorate, and I had to wear thick-lensed glasses. My parents worked two jobs each and worked long hours. They loved me, but taking me for a haircut was not a high priority on their list, nor was making sure I did my homework. Thus, my grades fell, and I was relentlessly teased. It got so bad that one day I broke down and confided in my father. "Dad, the kids at school are calling me a nerd." With a twinkling eye and a grin my dad replied, "You're not a nerd son. Nerds are smart." Stronghold!

We all have times when we are hurt, teased, abused, or abandoned, and we build walls for protection. Unfortunately, it is these walls that become Satan's stronghold on us. For me, I viewed myself as stupid, inadequate and unworthy of friendships. Even after I was saved, it was difficult for me to comprehend that God could love me. Thus, in every challenge in life, Satan shoots a dart that makes me question my self-worth, my ability, and God’s love for me. As God tells me that I am loved, that He has a mission for me, and prepares me for battle, Satan shoots a dart and has me questioning it all. Thankfully, I am not defenseless, and neither are you. We can fight back through the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

We are given instructions by Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Here we see the choice. I can either trust that I am who God says I am, and that I can do what He says that I can do, or I can listen to Satan's lies. Satan said that I am worthless, but Jesus said that I am a pearl of great price. Satan said that I am unlovable, but Jesus loved me enough to sacrifice His life to save mine. The strongholds of my imaginations list all the reasons why "I can't", but God's words give me all of the reasons that "He can."

We have a calling from God. Each of us plays a role as Jesus' body. We do not all play the same role, but we have a unique function. You may not yet know your mission is but be sure that you have one. The body has no spare parts. Each one is vital. Satan attacks us all because when we function as one body, he is powerless. Today, remove the stronghold and claim the victory.