Healing Line

Healing Line

Push Back

by Linda Strickland
July/Aug 2010

I don’t know about you, but there are days when I feel like the kingdom of darkness is pushing so hard on me that I am tempted to give up. In my struggle I turn to the scriptures which remind me that being a Christ-follower will not be easy, that I can expect persecution and defamation. I read about the struggles of the disciples and all that they went through. And then I re-read the Passion, and I picture Jesus hanging on that cross asking His Father to forgive His offenders - and I am humbled.

But to be honest, I am not consoled. Some days are just really hard.

Have you ever felt this way? I have. It is easy to feel discouraged, especially when people disappoint you. I realize that our fight is not against flesh and blood (people), but Satan will certainly use flesh and blood against us.

The last time I was going through a particularly difficult time, I was complaining to the Lord about the enemy pushing me around. His response was immediate and crystal clear:

“PUSH BACK!” He said.

“How?” I asked Him.

I happened to be reading the book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by The Rev. Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC. In this compelling and thought-provoking book, the author challenged me to a new way of thinking. He states, “There are basically two approaches to life: playing to win and playing not to lose. Too many of us are tentatively playing the game of life as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. We need to take our cues from the early believers who competed for the Kingdom.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men will take hold of it.  - Matthew 11:12

“There is nothing remotely passive about following Christ. Some of us approach our relationship with Christ like we’re called to play a “prevent defense” when we ought to be in a “two-minute offense.” Some of us act like faithfulness is making no turnovers when faithfulness is scoring touchdowns. Faithfulness has nothing to do with maintaining the status quo or holding the fort. It has everything to do with competing for the Kingdom and storming the gates of hell. With a squirt gun, if necessary!”

So I took the advice from this powerful book and went to the scriptures in search of an offensive approach I could use. It’s so tempting to take a defensive posture, especially when you are caught off guard, so I needed something to counteract the attack. Something I could do on a daily basis to help me stay offensive rather than defensive. So like the good wife of a former law enforcement officer, I decided to study my enemy’s tactics a little closer.

One scripture that reveals Satan’s plot against us is John 10:10. It tells us that “The thief (Satan) comes to steal, and kill, and destroy.”

Here are some counteractive strategies that I came up with to help me PUSH BACK when my enemy is pushing on me:

The thief comes to steal

Some ways we can counteract this tactic is to be a giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that “…God loves a cheerful giver,” and I can’t help but believe that anything God loves Satan must hate. Therefore, this tactic is sure to be a strategic move in pushing back.

Some of us have resources to give in a large way, while others of us can only give a little. The main thing is to live life ready to give when the opportunity arises.

My husband is a great example of this. Every time he sees those guys on the street corner selling newspapers, he always rolls down the window and buys a paper for more than what they are charging, and then tells them that the Lord loves them. He doesn’t even need the paper, as we have the paper delivered at home, but he buys it anyway. He makes use of the opportunity to bless them, and I can’t help but believe this small action pushes back the darkness every time he does it.

We can also give through actions. Do you have a neighbor who needs her lawn mowed but is physically unable to do it? Or how about your friend who needs to go to the doctor but has no car?

I think that if we really look, we have an opportunity every day to give, somewhere – somehow.

So give...it counteracts the enemy’s attempt to steal.

The thief comes to kill

It’s hard to think about someone wanting to kill you, but this is exactly what scripture says. In the second part of John 10:10, Jesus tells us that not only did He come that we might have life, but that He wanted the life we would have to be full and abundant! It is evident that our enemy would like to kill the abundant life God has promised.

 An extraordinary way to counteract this tactic of the enemy is to offer life at every opportunity. We can speak life everyday into our children, into our spouses, into our friends and even strangers. A simple blessing, offered through meaningful touch or affirming words can pour life into people.

Judith and I were recently at a conference where I felt led to hug a woman who was standing in line to receive prayer. When I asked her if I could give her a hug, she grabbed me and held on so tight that I thought I was going to lose my breath. Afterward, she explained that she had not been touched, in a meaningful way, for months and she was feeling incredibly lonely. She thanked me over and over for this simple, yet life-giving, act.

So offer life to those around you…it counteracts the enemy’s attempt to kill.

The thief comes to destroy

Some of the synonyms for destroy are: obliterate, wipeout, annihilate, devastate, and tear down. The actual definition is: to demolish; ruin; annihilate. To put an end to; extinguish. To kill; slay. To render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate. To defeat completely.

To destroy something means that something had to have existed in the first place. For instance: relationships. It is my feeling that this is one of the main things our enemy wants to destroy. If he can take down the family at its foundation, he has won. We are truly in a fight for the family, and the way we can counteract this attack is to stand together and love each other.

We all know how important words are, especially when they are last words, and I don’t think it was by accident that Jesus chose this topic to talk to His disciples about after He had washed their feet at the Last Supper. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another.”  - John 13:34

And to make sure they heard what He said, He then repeats it for them: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  - John 14:12-13

I don’t think there are better weapons against our enemy’s desire to destroy than love and forgiveness. If our enemy is out to destroy, then we should have a counter plan to build up!

I guess what I am trying to say is: your enemy has a plan against you. The question is: do you have a plan against your enemy?
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Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is CHM's Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Magazine Issue

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