She and I were having a particularly bad morning. In the process of getting ready for church I had raised my voice more times than I could count, and she was currently dissolved in tears for the third time since breakfast. As we backed out of the driveway and into the street, my eyes fell on her socked feet. I took a deep breath, my eyes grew large, and my jaw clenched.
“Where…..where…..are…..your….shoes……?” I roared.
“I don’t know!” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
We were on our way to church, and she didn’t think she needed to put shoes on. Deep breaths.
I’m not proud to admit that I lost my temper – again – and yelled at her – again. (Did I mention that it was a very, very epically bad morning?)
She cried again and I again said things I shouldn’t have said. Her lack of remorse made me even angrier, and the whole thing culminated with me pulling back into the driveway and sending her to her room while she wailed, “I just feel like I’m your enemy!”
Well, if you read my post recently about who the real enemy is, you know just how awesome that made me feel. Not only had I been feeling like she was the enemy, but she had sensed it in the way I was acting toward her. This was not a shining moment in my motherhood.
Once I cooled off – about an hour later – I ventured up to her room to talk to her about what had happened. I lay down next to her on her bed, each of us making a little pool on the pillow where our tears ran down our cheeks. I asked her for forgiveness, and as always, she forgave without hesitation. There was more to be said, though. I normally wouldn’t have veered into the heaviness of the topic I addressed with her that morning, but under the circumstances I felt it was critically necessary.
I asked her if she remembered what she had said to me, about being my enemy. She nodded, and I told her – as best as I could – about the real enemy. I explained to her who he is and what he does and how he influences situations like what had happened in our house (and car) that morning. She had a lot of questions, and as I answered I tried my best to keep the focus on Jesus. On victory. On God’s selfless redemption of His children who had chosen to side with the enemy.
Even so, her youthful fascination with new things kept bringing her back to the issue of “the devil.” She wanted to know more about him: who he was and where he came from and why he was so angry at God. But I didn’t want to keep talking about HIM. I wanted to keep talking to her about GOD. The One who won. The One who saves. The One who every conversation should be about.
But even though I was frustrated as I got with her for wanting to talk about the devil, I realized that sometimes we adults in the Church does the same thing. We recognize Satan as being our enemy, and in an effort to remain vigilant we give him undue focus. We keep too many of our thoughts on him and his battle strategy, rather than developing a battle strategy of our own.
In battle, it’s important to be acquainted with your enemy and how he operates. I think it’s more important, though, to know the One who’s leading you into battle in the first place. When our soldiers initially enlist in our military, they have to train under their leader and learn how he thinks and how to use the weapons they’ve been issued. They also have to learn how to become a team with their fellow soldiers, as they’re all fighting together against a common enemy. Only later do they rise through the ranks and become part of developing the battle plan against the enemy.
Scripture promises us that God goes before us in Scripture…that He fights for us if we rest in Him…that He is with us in the thick of battle. If we want to know who this God is who leads us in battle, one way I’ve found to do that is to study the names given to Him in Scripture. Those names shed light on His character and attributes in powerful ways, and add depth to the way we can know Him. I’ve been wanting to do a series here on the names of God for awhile, and as I walk with my daughter through the realities of spiritual warfare (as best as I can with a seven year old) I thought now might be a good time.
I’m not sure how long this series will go, honestly, and it won’t be a consecutive series. Rather, I’d like to intermingle these posts with others, so you and I both can reflect on the names and allow them to really sink in before moving on to the next one. There are a lot of names for God, and there are a lot of names for Jesus in Scripture. I can’t possibly tackle all of them. But as I write through and explain some of the names and how they relate to us, I think we’ll all gain a better understanding of Who our God is and grow deeper in our personal relationships with Him. Knowing our Commander is the best way to engage in battle with our enemy.
I hope you’ll join me next week as we begin this journey together.
Categories: Everyday Faith