There is so much to take away from this first chapter of Girls with Swords by Lisa Bevere. Right off the bat Lisa invites us into “this epic battle,” and I wonder how many women are aware of the battle or even believe there is a spiritual battle going on around us. The Bible talks about spiritual battles with such clarity and at such length that when we engage in The Word, we come away with more understanding and vision of what that battle looks like. If you want to engage a little, check out Ephesians 6!
So. There is a spiritual battle raging around us. Lisa wants us equipped for this battle so that we can be fighters, not victims of deception. This first Chapter is entitled “You Are a Target.” And Lisa starts right off with a quote from Wendell Phillips, “Christianity is a battle, not a dream.” How do you feel about this quote? (Fencing Manual, p. 2) I don’t think I would have used either “battle” or “dream” to describe Christianity, but as I think on it, I agree. Christianity is real, active, engaging, participatory…so it’s not this dream where things are perfect or simple or easy. And it’s certainly a battle.
Do you see evidence of this battle in your everyday world? (FM, p. 3) For years I’ve watched this rise of all things spiritual. When I think back to my childhood and youth, I have no recollection of such spiritual discussions happening in my home or on television or at the movies or on the radio as I do now. Just in the last decade I see so many more options for Bible study (we even have Apps for that!) and praise/worship music. We can go online, in stores, and even catch a great flick with Christian themes and values. But at the same time the rise of things dark compete. The horror movie industry is at an all time high, our kids are exposed to much more because of internet and cell phones, evils such as sex trafficking and terrorism almost seem to be taking over. It’s been my long belief that the rise of all things spiritual, good and evil, will only continue as the end draws closer. Lisa agrees, “…with each passing generation, Satan’s hostility and hatred deepen as he runs out of time and the urgency increases.” Dig into the book of Revelation if you want a clearer picture of how things will escalate.
The overall point of this first chapter, and perhaps the book, is for us to “see the sword of God’s Word and the cross of Christ as instruments of war that fight in order for the world to experience God’s love” (FM, p. 4). Lisa teaches that “the attacks on your life have much more to do with who you might be in the future than who you have been in the past” (Girls with Swords, p. 7). With that statement, she wants us to quit looking at ourselves as victims (that looking back thing) and realize that the enemy is threatened by our potential as daughters of the One True God. We are targets (not victims). If you find yourself trapped in that victim state of mind, work with God to shift it to that of “target.” This has been a huge revelation to me…and it makes so much sense! Be empowered and claim truths as these for yourself: “You are a beloved, royal daughter of the Most High God.” The enemy “will do all that is within his power to hinder or bend your growth to his purposes and distract you from your heavenly destiny.” In this chapter, Lisa goes on to say, “This is not about you. This is not about me. And to be quite honest, it is not even our battle. This battle belongs to the Lord. We are his weapons of light in a world of darkness.” And the “fact that you are female makes you a more specific target and the worthy recipient of Satan’s enmity.”
Here Lisa is referring to Genesis 3:15. As part of the curse, God puts “enmity” between woman and the enemy, as well as their offspring. I’ve been blessed to be part of a women’s weekend event called Awakening Our Hearts for a few years now. It’s based on Stasi Eldredge’s book Captivating. Similar themes as this are part of both that book and our weekend event. When we really start to unpack our story, digging into what the Bible has to say, we begin to unravel a history that explains so much of what we see and experience today. (If you’d like to attend our next Awakening Our Hearts, it’s coming up Feb 21-22 at New Covenant UMC. Check it out here.)
God has created women to stand for virtue, skill, nurture, intuition, life giving, and wisdom (FM p. 6). But our enemy works “hard to distract you so you will never give birth to God’s plan for your life.” Sometimes his distractions come in the form of poor health or social media or television or a novel. Other times his tactics are less subtle. He may work toward diminishing God’s assignment on your through outright oppression (mental, emotional, physical). Or he will work hard at division, dividing families and churches because “what he divides he can ultimately destroy.”
Do you notice the list of D’s? In Joanna Weaver’s book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, similar tactics of the enemy are described. She coined them as the Deady D’s. Her list included Discourage, Doubt, and Distract. Now we could add to the Deadly D’s Divide, Diminish, and Destroy. Six very Deadly D’s indeed. They seem to increase in intensity. The first three D’s are subtle. I can be discouraged on any given day, but if I don’t guard my heart, the enemy will use that discouragement to grow doubt in my call or in another person. And if I don’t get those feeling to God in a hurry, bitterness and resentment can grow to the point of dividing me from the people and purpose God had intended for me…which leads to a destruction of life and plans and hope.
Are we weaponless? Hopeless? Helpless? Absolutely not! We are girls with swords! God will never leave or forsake us. But we must take up our swords, the Word of God, and fight back. “Becoming who God created you to be is at once your best offense and defense against all the enemy’s strategy.” Do you believe this? (FM p. 13) Lisa teaches that “we create an environment for this to happen when we say what He says about us.” Given this insight, and drawing upon the inspiration of the Scriptures and endearments God has whispered into your life, write His description of you.
I hope you can read this chapter for yourself. Lisa gives a great many statistic and story to illustrate and demonstrate just how women are targets today…from sex trafficking to the unhealthy view of our gender (think media-driven). Back in Moses’ and Jesus’ days the enemy seemed to target the boys (examples of male gendercide), but today his focus has shifted to women. Still gendercide, but of females…an upward of 100 million women are gone from our generation. It’s time for us to become aware of this battle and take up our swords so we can enter the fight.
I don’t believe it’s Lisa’s desire, nor mine, to cause you to see the enemy behind every little bad thing that happens (that gives him more power than he actually has). We need to understand that sometimes bad things happen because we live in an imperfect, fallen world (tornadoes and tsunamis will happen). And we need to know that God values free will so much that He allows every person in His creation to make their own choices, including the bad ones, and too often we’re left battered and broken because of those choices. Then there is the enemy who seeks to kill and destroy all that he can before his time is up. But we aren’t defenseless. God has given us His Word as a sword. Next week we’ll look into how we begin to take that sword up and use it!
–A sister in the fight with you!