Girls with Swords Chapter 4

The Battleground

We’re girls, so most of us don’t think like warriors – we’re typically nurturers, organizers, helpers. But if you’re like me, you have enough men in your life that you’ve seen a few movies or heard enough stories that you get the concept of war. Two sides. Opposing views. One winner.

I know I’m late to the game, but only this last year did I read Gone with the Wind. I got a glimpse of life in the Civil War south that no textbook ever gave me. I was mad at the unfairness of “reconstruction.” It broke my heart to “see” innocent people be ravaged by war and its consequences.  It surprised me that I empathized with the rebels.

A few months later I watched Lincoln. Same war. Different perspective. If I was rooting for the Confederates in Gone with the Wind, I was rooting for the Union Army and Abe Lincoln in this movie.

What did I learn? Both sides were passionate. Both sides of the Civil War had heavy losses as they fought for what they believed to be right. And they each knew who the enemy was and what he stood for.

Girls, we’re no different. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians, we’re not fighting flesh and blood; we’re fighting forces that are spiritual. And those forces have a leader. If we’re going to be part of this winning team (this is no war like any other…we know how it ends), we need to enter into the battles we’re confronted with. And to do that effectively, we need to be prepared.

That’s Lisa’s point for this book. And this chapter outlines some truths that will equip us so that as we enter into battle, we are fully armed, fully aware.

First, we have an enemy. What Lisa teaches here is that one of his main strategies is to DIVIDE God’s people. If Satan can come between families, friends, churches…his strategy is working. How does he get away with such division? He uses his “invisibleness” to his advantage.

“If we wrestle not with flesh and blood, then a whole lot of us have wasted a lot of energy and time wrestling with someone who is not even in the ring.” (p. 48, Fencing Manual)

Can you think of some examples in your life (or around you) where you have witnessed two people or groups who continue to argue and fight with one another over words? Or over something like who spent the most on their Christmas presents? Or over a style of music? Or maybe even over a social issue?

What if we took Lisa’s advice? What if we pulled ourselves back a minute, long enough to disengage and ask the Holy Spirit, “What is really going on here?” If we did this, would we realize that the issue is not the issue?

So this subtle, invisible enemy of ours has other tools of division in his arsenal.  Lisa says, “My mind was my greatest enemy.” I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t admit she battles her own thoughts…a lot. Without over thinking it, what uninvited thought has bombarded your mind lately?

“The hope of the enemy is that if you hear something long enough, you will begin to believe it.” (p. 49, Fencing Manual)

How do we overcome negative thinking, destructive thoughts? We renew our thoughts and attitudes by “thinking, speaking, and then living by the sword of God’s Word.”

This has been so true in my own life. I’m a true-blue “what-if’er.” If I let my thoughts take over, I can worry every possible scenario for the future, “what-if’ing” myself right into anxiety or full-on fear. It was a novel concept to me at the time that I could control those kinds of thoughts. And control comes from God’s Word. On my good days when my thoughts start running away with my mind, I start praying or I turn on praise music and sing along – some days really loudly! On worse days I actually have to pull out the Bible and read ALOUD to get the thoughts to stop. But it works. Every time.

Let’s summarize so far. The enemy is invisible. He wants to divide us. And he will try to debilitate us with our own thoughts.

When we can SEE these strategies of the enemy at work, we are empowered! We can choose to change our focus and adopt new strategies that build unity and peace.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21

This passage from John is the counter to the enemy’s desire for division. Jesus is our model. He and God are one. His prayer is that WE would all be one. We are the Body of Christ. We’re designed with different gifts for different purposes but to function as ONE. (See 1 Corinthians 12) Lisa boldly states, “United, there’s a chance that the world might yet believe.” (p. 52, Fencing Manual)

United, we’re more likely to achieve peace. Matthew 5:9 says God blesses those who work for peace, but peace doesn’t come without effort. In fact, “division happens without any labor.” Lisa goes on to say, “Unity and peace require intentional and strategic wisdom.” (p. 56, Fencing Manual).

And to know how to achieve unity and peace, we must know our enemy well.  Don’t forget we’re on a battleground!

So, why does Satan divide? Have you ever heard the saying “a house divided falls?” Words can divide. Attitudes can divide. Think of all the families that have been divided. Think of all the churches that have broken apart. Entire denominations are split over social issues or doctrine.

Division weakens, lessens.  Our enemy knows this. If he can get us to buy into the issue that’s not the actual issue, if we focus all our “fight” on other people, then he has sufficiently distracted us from the real issue – his intent to divide, to weaken.

It wasn’t that long ago that I heard someone at a conference describe a world where Christ’s church is truly united. If we pooled our resources, energy, and focus, world hunger would be no more. Human rights could be restored globally. Genocide and gendercide could be put to an end. And the list goes on.

Do you see why the enemy wants us divided?

If the enemy’s purpose to divide is subtle, his methods of doing so are hardly detectable. Lisa points out that very simply, “jealousy and selfish ambition are the antithesis of oneness.” (p. 57, FM) What does that mean? Every time we give in to our jealousies and our selfish attempts to promote ourselves, we’re allowing the enemy to use us in his ploys to divide.

God would have us dream. He would have us use the gifts He has so generously bestowed upon us to grow and benefit His kingdom here on earth.

Our enemy will do everything he can to discourage, distract, and divide us so that those dreams never become reality.

“Lovely one, if you dare to dream, you must be brave enough to fight.” (p. 58, FM)

What dreams has God given you? What is a dream that you had to fight for?

And because we are warriors in a battle, we can’t just learn of these truths and walk away, do nothing. We must take action.

For us who are caught in the enemy’s ploys of division, we can act by raising the sword of God’s Word and claim it for our lives. It can bring truth and hope and peace where the enemy meant lies and despair and strife.

“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.”  — C.S. Lewis

Be aware that for every claim God makes in His Word, the enemy would try to counter-claim it. As I think about this, the season Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted by Satan for 40 days, comes to mind. Three times the enemy tried to use God’s Word, twisted for his own devices, to tempt Jesus away from His call, His ministry. Three times Jesus successfully raised His sword and countered with the truth. So can we!

Let’s not forget how the enemy will use division and blame to keep us from unity, peace, and our dreams.

“We fight for the dream: a people who are one, with the glory of God operating openly in their lives. When we are the answer to Jesus’ prayers, we flourish.” (p. 60, FM)

Take time to read Isaiah 27:1-3 in The Message. If you’re like me, you’ll discover two parts to the lesson there. One part is about end times and judgment, the second about God’s fine vineyard – US! The judgment and the vineyard are happening at the same time. Take heart in that truth. God cares for His vineyard, watering it, protecting it.

We’re in a battle, but with God we win the war! “Draw your strength from the unseen and never allow the shadowed form of the dragon to blight the light of your future.” (p. 61, FM)

Lisa challenges us to further action.

Girls with Swords Chapter 4

The Battleground

We’re girls, so most of us don’t think like warriors – we’re typically nurturers, organizers, helpers. But if you’re like me, you have enough men in your life that you’ve seen a few movies or heard enough stories that you get the concept of war. Two sides. Opposing views. One winner.

I know I’m late to the game, but only this last year did I read Gone with the Wind. I got a glimpse of life in the Civil War south that no textbook ever gave me. I was mad at the unfairness of “reconstruction.” It broke my heart to “see” innocent people be ravaged by war and its consequences.  It surprised me that I empathized with the rebels.

A few months later I watched Lincoln. Same war. Different perspective. If I was rooting for the Confederates in Gone with the Wind, I was rooting for the Union Army and Abe Lincoln in this movie.

What did I learn? Both sides were passionate. Both sides of the Civil War had heavy losses as they fought for what they believed to be right. And they each knew who the enemy was and what he stood for.

Girls, we’re no different. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians, we’re not fighting flesh and blood; we’re fighting forces that are spiritual. And those forces have a leader. If we’re going to be part of this winning team (this is no war like any other…we know how it ends), we need to enter into the battles we’re confronted with. And to do that effectively, we need to be prepared.

That’s Lisa’s point for this book. And this chapter outlines some truths that will equip us so that as we enter into battle, we are fully armed, fully aware.

First, we have an enemy. What Lisa teaches here is that one of his main strategies is to DIVIDE God’s people. If Satan can come between families, friends, churches…his strategy is working. How does he get away with such division? He uses his “invisibleness” to his advantage.

“If we wrestle not with flesh and blood, then a whole lot of us have wasted a lot of energy and time wrestling with someone who is not even in the ring.” (p. 48, Fencing Manual)

Can you think of some examples in your life (or around you) where you have witnessed two people or groups who continue to argue and fight with one another over words? Or over something like who spent the most on their Christmas presents? Or over a style of music? Or maybe even over a social issue?

What if we took Lisa’s advice? What if we pulled ourselves back a minute, long enough to disengage and ask the Holy Spirit, “What is really going on here?” If we did this, would we realize that the issue is not the issue?

So this subtle, invisible enemy of ours has other tools of division in his arsenal.  Lisa says, “My mind was my greatest enemy.” I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t admit she battles her own thoughts…a lot. Without over thinking it, what uninvited thought has bombarded your mind lately?

“The hope of the enemy is that if you hear something long enough, you will begin to believe it.” (p. 49, Fencing Manual)

How do we overcome negative thinking, destructive thoughts? We renew our thoughts and attitudes by “thinking, speaking, and then living by the sword of God’s Word.”

This has been so true in my own life. I’m a true-blue “what-if’er.” If I let my thoughts take over, I can worry every possible scenario for the future, “what-if’ing” myself right into anxiety or full-on fear. It was a novel concept to me at the time that I could control those kinds of thoughts. And control comes from God’s Word. On my good days when my thoughts start running away with my mind, I start praying or I turn on praise music and sing along – some days really loudly! On worse days I actually have to pull out the Bible and read ALOUD to get the thoughts to stop. But it works. Every time.

Let’s summarize so far. The enemy is invisible. He wants to divide us. And he will try to debilitate us with our own thoughts.

When we can SEE these strategies of the enemy at work, we are empowered! We can choose to change our focus and adopt new strategies that build unity and peace.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21

This passage from John is the counter to the enemy’s desire for division. Jesus is our model. He and God are one. His prayer is that WE would all be one. We are the Body of Christ. We’re designed with different gifts for different purposes but to function as ONE. (See 1 Corinthians 12) Lisa boldly states, “United, there’s a chance that the world might yet believe.” (p. 52, Fencing Manual)

United, we’re more likely to achieve peace. Matthew 5:9 says God blesses those who work for peace, but peace doesn’t come without effort. In fact, “division happens without any labor.” Lisa goes on to say, “Unity and peace require intentional and strategic wisdom.” (p. 56, Fencing Manual).

And to know how to achieve unity and peace, we must know our enemy well.  Don’t forget we’re on a battleground!

So, why does Satan divide? Have you ever heard the saying “a house divided falls?” Words can divide. Attitudes can divide. Think of all the families that have been divided. Think of all the churches that have broken apart. Entire denominations are split over social issues or doctrine.

Division weakens, lessens.  Our enemy knows this. If he can get us to buy into the issue that’s not the actual issue, if we focus all our “fight” on other people, then he has sufficiently distracted us from the real issue – his intent to divide, to weaken.

It wasn’t that long ago that I heard someone at a conference describe a world where Christ’s church is truly united. If we pooled our resources, energy, and focus, world hunger would be no more. Human rights could be restored globally. Genocide and gendercide could be put to an end. And the list goes on.

Do you see why the enemy wants us divided?

If the enemy’s purpose to divide is subtle, his methods of doing so are hardly detectable. Lisa points out that very simply, “jealousy and selfish ambition are the antithesis of oneness.” (p. 57, FM) What does that mean? Every time we give in to our jealousies and our selfish attempts to promote ourselves, we’re allowing the enemy to use us in his ploys to divide.

God would have us dream. He would have us use the gifts He has so generously bestowed upon us to grow and benefit His kingdom here on earth.

Our enemy will do everything he can to discourage, distract, and divide us so that those dreams never become reality.

“Lovely one, if you dare to dream, you must be brave enough to fight.” (p. 58, FM)

What dreams has God given you? What is a dream that you had to fight for?

And because we are warriors in a battle, we can’t just learn of these truths and walk away, do nothing. We must take action.

For us who are caught in the enemy’s ploys of division, we can act by raising the sword of God’s Word and claim it for our lives. It can bring truth and hope and peace where the enemy meant lies and despair and strife.

“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.”  — C.S. Lewis

Be aware that for every claim God makes in His Word, the enemy would try to counter-claim it. As I think about this, the season Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted by Satan for 40 days, comes to mind. Three times the enemy tried to use God’s Word, twisted for his own devices, to tempt Jesus away from His call, His ministry. Jesus successfully raised His sword and countered with the truth every time. So can we!

Don’t forget how the enemy will use division and blame to keep us from unity, peace, and our dreams.

“We fight for the dream: a people who are one, with the glory of God operating openly in their lives. When we are the answer to Jesus’ prayers, we flourish.” (p. 60, FM)

Take time to read Isaiah 27:1-3 in The Message. If you’re like me, you’ll discover two parts of the message there. One part is about end times and judgment; the second part is about God fine vineyard – US! They’re happening at the same time. Take heart in that truth. God cares for His vineyard, watering it, protecting it.

We’re in a battle, but with God we win the war! “Draw your strength from the unseen and never allow the shadowed form of the dragon to blight the light of your future.” (p. 61, FM)

Lisa challenges us to further action. Look for ways to increase unity and peace where you are – and act on what you say!

We’re lifting the sword of God’s Word to make a difference in our lives and in those around us. Let us not grow weary of choosing to fight for unity and peace. Let’s be sure we’re fighting against the real enemy!

Fighting alongside you,

Shelley Johnson

Girls with Swords Chapter 4

The Battleground

We’re girls, so most of us don’t think like warriors – we’re typically nurturers, organizers, helpers. But if you’re like me, you have enough men in your life that you’ve seen a few movies or heard enough stories that you get the concept of war. Two sides. Opposing views. One winner.

I know I’m late to the game, but only this last year did I read Gone with the Wind. I got a glimpse of life in the Civil War south that no textbook ever gave me. I was mad at the unfairness of “reconstruction.” It broke my heart to “see” innocent people be ravaged by war and its consequences.  It surprised me that I empathized with the rebels.

A few months later I watched Lincoln. Same war. Different perspective. If I was rooting for the Confederates in Gone with the Wind, I was rooting for the Union Army and Abe Lincoln in this movie.

What did I learn? Both sides were passionate. Both sides of the Civil War had heavy losses as they fought for what they believed to be right. And they each knew who the enemy was and what he stood for.

Girls, we’re no different. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians, we’re not fighting flesh and blood; we’re fighting forces that are spiritual. And those forces have a leader. If we’re going to be part of this winning team (this is no war like any other…we know how it ends), we need to enter into the battles we’re confronted with. And to do that effectively, we need to be prepared.

That’s Lisa’s point for this book. And this chapter outlines some truths that will equip us so that as we enter into battle, we are fully armed, fully aware.

First, we have an enemy. What Lisa teaches here is that one of his main strategies is to DIVIDE God’s people. If Satan can come between families, friends, churches…his strategy is working. How does he get away with such division? He uses his “invisibleness” to his advantage.

“If we wrestle not with flesh and blood, then a whole lot of us have wasted a lot of energy and time wrestling with someone who is not even in the ring.” (p. 48, Fencing Manual)

Can you think of some examples in your life (or around you) where you have witnessed two people or groups who continue to argue and fight with one another over words? Or over something like who spent the most on their Christmas presents? Or over a style of music? Or maybe even over a social issue?

What if we took Lisa’s advice? What if we pulled ourselves back a minute, long enough to disengage and ask the Holy Spirit, “What is really going on here?” If we did this, would we realize that the issue is not the issue?

So this subtle, invisible enemy of ours has other tools of division in his arsenal.  Lisa says, “My mind was my greatest enemy.” I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t admit she battles her own thoughts…a lot. Without over thinking it, what uninvited thought has bombarded your mind lately?

“The hope of the enemy is that if you hear something long enough, you will begin to believe it.” (p. 49, Fencing Manual)

How do we overcome negative thinking, destructive thoughts? We renew our thoughts and attitudes by “thinking, speaking, and then living by the sword of God’s Word.”

This has been so true in my own life. I’m a true-blue “what-if’er.” If I let my thoughts take over, I can worry every possible scenario for the future, “what-if’ing” myself right into anxiety or full-on fear. It was a novel concept to me at the time that I could control those kinds of thoughts. And control comes from God’s Word. On my good days when my thoughts start running away with my mind, I start praying or I turn on praise music and sing along – some days really loudly! On worse days I actually have to pull out the Bible and read ALOUD to get the thoughts to stop. But it works. Every time.

Let’s summarize so far. The enemy is invisible. He wants to divide us. And he will try to debilitate us with our own thoughts.

When we can SEE these strategies of the enemy at work, we are empowered! We can choose to change our focus and adopt new strategies that build unity and peace.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21

This passage from John is the counter to the enemy’s desire for division. Jesus is our model. He and God are one. His prayer is that WE would all be one. We are the Body of Christ. We’re designed with different gifts for different purposes but to function as ONE. (See 1 Corinthians 12) Lisa boldly states, “United, there’s a chance that the world might yet believe.” (p. 52, Fencing Manual)

United, we’re more likely to achieve peace. Matthew 5:9 says God blesses those who work for peace, but peace doesn’t come without effort. In fact, “division happens without any labor.” Lisa goes on to say, “Unity and peace require intentional and strategic wisdom.” (p. 56, Fencing Manual).

And to know how to achieve unity and peace, we must know our enemy well.  Don’t forget we’re on a battleground!

So, why does Satan divide? Have you ever heard the saying “a house divided falls?” Words can divide. Attitudes can divide. Think of all the families that have been divided. Think of all the churches that have broken apart. Entire denominations are split over social issues or doctrine.

Division weakens, lessens.  Our enemy knows this. If he can get us to buy into the issue that’s not the actual issue, if we focus all our “fight” on other people, then he has sufficiently distracted us from the real issue – his intent to divide, to weaken.

It wasn’t that long ago that I heard someone at a conference describe a world where Christ’s church is truly united. If we pooled our resources, energy, and focus, world hunger would be no more. Human rights could be restored globally. Genocide and gendercide could be put to an end. And the list goes on.

Do you see why the enemy wants us divided?

If the enemy’s purpose to divide is subtle, his methods of doing so are hardly detectable. Lisa points out that very simply, “jealousy and selfish ambition are the antithesis of oneness.” (p. 57, FM) What does that mean? Every time we give in to our jealousies and our selfish attempts to promote ourselves, we’re allowing the enemy to use us in his ploys to divide.

God would have us dream. He would have us use the gifts He has so generously bestowed upon us to grow and benefit His kingdom here on earth.

Our enemy will do everything he can to discourage, distract, and divide us so that those dreams never become reality.

“Lovely one, if you dare to dream, you must be brave enough to fight.” (p. 58, FM)

What dreams has God given you? What is a dream that you had to fight for?

And because we are warriors in a battle, we can’t just learn of these truths and walk away, do nothing. We must take action.

For us who are caught in the enemy’s ploys of division, we can act by raising the sword of God’s Word and claim it for our lives. It can bring truth and hope and peace where the enemy meant lies and despair and strife.

“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.”  — C.S. Lewis

Be aware that for every claim God makes in His Word, the enemy would try to counter-claim it. As I think about this, the season Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted by Satan for 40 days, comes to mind. Three times the enemy tried to use God’s Word, twisted for his own devices, to tempt Jesus away from His call, His ministry. Jesus successfully raised His sword and countered with the truth every time. So can we!

Don’t forget how the enemy will use division and blame to keep us from unity, peace, and our dreams.

“We fight for the dream: a people who are one, with the glory of God operating openly in their lives. When we are the answer to Jesus’ prayers, we flourish.” (p. 60, FM)

Take time to read Isaiah 27:1-3 in The Message. If you’re like me, you’ll discover two parts of the message there. One part is about end times and judgment; the second part is about God fine vineyard – US! They’re happening at the same time. Take heart in that truth. God cares for His vineyard, watering it, protecting it.

We’re in a battle, but with God we win the war! “Draw your strength from the unseen and never allow the shadowed form of the dragon to blight the light of your future.” (p. 61, FM)

Lisa challenges us to further action. Look for ways to increase unity and peace where you are – and act on what you say!

We’re lifting the sword of God’s Word to make a difference in our lives and in those around us. Let us not grow weary of choosing to fight for unity and peace. Let’s be sure we’re fighting against the real enemy!

Fighting alongside you,

Shelley Johnson

We’re lifting the sword of God’s Word to make a difference in our lives and in those around us. Let us not grow weary of choosing to fight for unity and peace. Let’s be sure we’re fighting against the real enemy!

Fighting alongside you,

Shelley Johnson

Published by Shelley Johnson

Follower of Christ, wife, mother of three, daughter, sister, friend. Seeker of ways to share the love I've found in Jesus with others.

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