In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
I’ve been thinking about the term “friendly fire.” It describes a situation in which a military group unintentionally causes harm to its own forces. This type of loss seems especially tragic because it’s unnecessary and makes victory even harder to attain. When I see it in the news, I shake my head and wonder, “How could that happen?” Yet as battles rage within me, I often engage in friendly fire as well.
The past week I’ve been fighting a cold, going through some challenges professionally, and dealing with some personal issues in my life as well. One morning a coworker invited me to pray with her. I shared my frustrations and she said, “You’re called to be a warrior.” Tears came to my eyes and I said, “I know but right now I’m just tired. I don’t feel like fighting anymore.” She gently placed her hands on my shoulders and began to pray for me.
As she did I sensed the Lord whispering to my heart, “I am for you. When you come against yourself, you side with the enemy.” I knew instantly what those words meant. When I don’t feel good or get discouraged, I begin an inner barrage against myself. I launch lies like, “You’re not good enough. You’re letting everyone down. You’re a disappointment to God.” Each word wounds my heart further until I feel utterly defeated.
At the end of Romans 8 Paul asks four important questions:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
Who is he that condemns?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
All of these are intended to be rhetorical questions with the answer “no one.” But I’ve realized my answer to those questions is often “me.” God has defeated our enemies, given us victory, and made us more than conquerors. But because of free will, we can still choose to be against ourselves. When we do so, we fight on the enemy’s side—whether we realize it or not.
I’ll probably still struggle with the “friendly fire” that sometimes rages within my heart. But I’m learning that in this too, God has given me victory. Merriam Webster’s dictionary says to conquer “implies mastery of” and while I may be my toughest opponent, God isn’t giving up on me. He isn’t giving up on you either. We may never fight a military battle or face persecution like the early church, but we are still warriors in the battle for our hearts and minds. May we have the love, grace, and courage to live out the victory that is already ours.
Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears
They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child
─Twila Paris, The Warrior is a Child