In 1 Corinthians 7, there is an entire section on marriage and how God intended His design of marriage to work. I want to consider specifically verse 4, “The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.”
I acknowledge this verse is talking about sexual relations between a man and a woman in the holy bonds of marriage. However, I want to offer an additional perspective on this authority. When I got married, I said these verses to my husband, and we live them out daily. Recently, we each have been under various spiritual attacks of all kinds. Some of these attacks have been rather brutal. Some of these attacks have resulted in dark thinking and deep spiritual struggles.
I found that when my husband is under attack, I pray more for him than my usual, daily prayers. For example, I will set hourly reminders to pray for him to be cleansed. I am not sure if you have ever seen your spouse in a dark place when enduring a spiritual attack, it can be scary. Which is exactly what the enemy wants you to focus on, fear instead of Jesus.
Every believer has the armor of God (Ephesians 6), but there are times during an attack when we are too weak to pick up the sword of the Spirit or the shield of faith. We need someone else to help us fight and draw on the strength of the Holy Spirit we have inside of us.
Recently, when my husband was under severe spiritual attacks, of course I prayed for him. But this verse began to take on new meaning for me during that time. When my husband said 1 Corinthians 7:4 to me, he gave me authority over his body. Why can’t that apply to wielding my God-given authority to protect his body, too?
With this new perspective, I began to use the name of Jesus commanding anything that was not of Jesus or from Jesus to leave my husband’s heart, mind, body and environment immediately. I commanded it never to return, and I forbid it in the name of Jesus to send any other enemy agents in its place.
I picked up the sword of the Spirit, (Word of God), and the shield of faith and used the armor of God to protect my husband, too. As married people, we need to see an attack on our spouse as a direct attack on us, our family, and our vows before God.
When one is under attack, there is a de-motivation to fight or a feeling of weakness that usually comes with the attack. It is in those moments when our spouses cannot fight to protect themselves, that we wield the authority given to us by this verse above, empowered by the precious blood of Jesus to defend our loved ones. How dare they attack a child of God and especially one that has a spouse who is unafraid of spiritual warfare.
The battle has been won! Jesus is our Savior and our Victor, through His name, we have power. Through the Holy Spirit living in us, we have authority. All we need to do to protect our loved one and fight is invoke the authority that we already have been given from our Lord Jesus.
Father in Heaven,
We know that attacks are part of being a Christian. There are many verses in the Bible teaching us how to fight against the enemy and how to know the strategies of the enemy. One of the most beautiful human relationships is that of a husband and bride. Marriage is God’s design and when our vows are being lived out in a manner that bring glory to You, God, attacks are a guarantee. Give us strength and wisdom and remind us of our authority in You to fight to protect those we love. To fend off the attacks of the enemy. In the name of Jesus, we stand against the enemy, he will have no part in our families’ lives.
Have you ever prayed and fasted for so long, waiting to know His path for you, with no answer? I have to the point where I began to think, “Why won’t He just tell me what to do? I will do it, but I am tired of this. Sometimes this all feels like a game!”
When you have feelings such as these, we must put on our spiritual armor and take every thought captive. These thoughts are of the enemy. I know this because God has already told us and showed us the path we need to be on. And we have failed to follow it.
“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:21-24 NIV
This verse says “all have sinned” – you, me, everyone in the past, and everyone in the future. All – except Jesus, of course. He died without sin so you and I can spend eternity with Him and live on Earth forgiven of our sin.
You may ask when did God tell me the path to be on, what about the answer I need to a specific decision, or what is the step I am to be taking right now, and so on. All valid questions. I offer that when we are praying for His path on the big things in life, we need to ask ourselves where we have failed with His path on the “little” things in life. When was the last time we told a lie, had a lustful thought, were mean to our neighbor, or said words that were unloving, and so on?
“Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10 CEB
I am not saying that we will be perfect. We are not and will not be perfect, as we are humans. My suggestion is that we keep praying and fasting for His path on the big things in life, but in the meantime put a heavy focus on ourselves and where we can become more obedient in every area of our lives. God’s goal is for each of us to be more and more like His Son, to better prepare us for what lies ahead. He is building our endurance and character to be able to enjoy what He has ahead for us on His path. If we allow ourselves to be casual with commandments like lying or loving our neighbor, then how can we be faithful with much?
Yes, keep praying and fasting for His path and do what He told us to do in the meantime. We must work every day to read and obey, work at walking with the Spirit and obeying Him (Matthew 6:33). We must ask for forgiveness when we fail (1 John 1:9), forgive others (Colossians 3:13), and do not keep repeating the same sin – that is a sign of a lack of repentance. We need to ask and strive to be more like Jesus every day (2 Corinthians 5:17), and when He gives us those opportunities to be Jesus to others, we must take them. That may mean praying with somebody or sending an email or mailing a card or leaving a letter for a neighbor sharing the gospel.
You do not have to be a superhero daily, but just keep your eyes open. Yesterday, I was in a store and a man noticed a lady who appeared very sad. He asked if he could help her. They wound up sharing a God-given moment where encouraging words and a prayer were exchanged. The global pandemic has put every single human being on a level playing field. The virus does not care what color, race, background or education you have – you are at risk. There is raw, real pain across our globe right now, and we are the light.
“Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12 CEB
We bring the light of life and God wherever we are – whether that is in a store or online in social media or a business video meeting. We are His light. We have the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead in us; let’s act like it in a world where there is the most pain and suffering possibly ever in our lifetimes. As believers, we are to steward the light He gave us. We are not to hide it, but shine it bright (Matthew 5:14). You may have nothing, but if you believe in Jesus then you have eternal life and the Holy Spirit in you, so be an excellent steward with what you DO have. Be faithful with what you do have.
God has told us all what to do. The commandments are for every single person on this planet. Yes, He has a unique purpose for each of us as well, but the commands are the foundation. Love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), honor our parents (Matthew 19:19), love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39), love God with all our hearts, being and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5), and love each other (Romans 12:10). If you love Jesus, we are to obey all of His commands daily.
“This is love: that we live according to his commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love.” 2 John 1:6 CEB
We must build up that foundation so He can build out the plan for us. Conquer your thoughts and your actions, steward your God-given talent and the light He has given you.
One final thought on the matter, if you are like me and want God to just tell you what to do. As Dr. Martin Luther King said so beautifully, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
If you are thinking I do not even know the next step at all, return to what God has already told you. How can we live that step out today, then tomorrow, and so forth, demonstrating how we handle the “little” things that prepare us for the “big” things?
Throughout our lives as Christians, we will endure many trials and blessings. Times of blessing are, of course, easy to walk through. The potential hazard during times of blessing is forgetting to thank God. We must recall that He provided all we have, and we should not slip into a sense of self-righteousness or thinking that we provided all we have.
It is during the trials, times of suffering, times of silence, and times of confusion, that we need answers. Depending on what we are walking through, our questions can range from “Why, God?” to “When, God?” to “How, God?”
The enemy will use those times of trial, silence, or confusion to try to get us to doubt God. To doubt His promises, to doubt His past provision, or to doubt that He will once again provide. The enemy knows that when we feel the farthest from God is the exact time that He is the closest and just waiting for us to draw near. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” The enemy will show up in full force when we are going through hard times.
Job and Joseph are just two examples in the Bible of people under attack but standing firm in their faith for God. Sometimes reading those chapters of the Bible does not help me. I feel like I am not a Job – I could not drop to the ground in worship if God were to wipe out all my children in one swoop, like Job did (Job 1:20). I truly do not think I could do that. Perhaps I could get to that place with time, prayer, and help.
However, in my journey, I have realized that there are three words that we need to insert as the answers to our questions for God. So, in those moments when we feel that the examples in the Bible are not encouraging, and God is silent, and the enemy is attacking, what answers do we have to the questions and hurt swirling in our minds?
I offer three answers, each with three words.
“It is well.” No matter what happens to us or our loved ones, our souls will spend eternity with Jesus because we believe He is the Son of God. There are many, many awful things we will endure in this life – but ultimately, our destination is eternity. We need to keep our eyes on eternity, and if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart He rose from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Your soul is safe for all eternity, and it is well.
“Thy will, Lord.” There are going to be hurtful, hateful, senseless things that happen. On this side of Heaven, we will not always understand why things happen. But we know that He works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We simply cannot understand all that God knows, and it is with this perfect knowledge from generations past and future that He makes the decisions He makes to form His perfect will for us. We will doubt God, we will say this does not make sense, and it will never make sense, and that very well may be true, but we are to “trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding” (Proverb 3:5). Surrendering to His will is what is best for us, whether we can see that now or not.
“God loves me.” There will be times of silence. We will feel far from God, or we will be passionately seeking God daily in prayer without an answer for a decade or more. This does not mean He does not hear our prayers. Psalm 116:2 says, “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” We may receive no response because the timing is not right, or His answer will be different than we seek. However, in those times, we must never doubt His love for us. He sent His one and only Son to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). God is our loving Father (Romans 8:15).
Cling to one or all of these answers when the enemy comes for you. Nothing the enemy says is true, for he is the father of all lies. These answers above are Truth. They are promises in the powerful Word of God.
When we share the gospel, we have no idea how far reaching those words can become. We are doing what Jesus commanded us to do (Matthew 28:18-20). And by speaking the words of God to another, we claim this promise:
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT
We know that when someone turns to Jesus, all of Heaven rejoices:
“In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” Luke 15:7 NLT
This is in the spiritual realm, which the Scriptures tells us some things about, but we will not completely understand this side of Heaven. What we do know is that when something changes in the spiritual realm, our earthly lives are impacted.
Think about it. How were you before you met Jesus? Different, right?
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
Have you ever seen someone’s life changed after they met Jesus? I have been blessed to see this new creation many times, to see the veil pierced right before my eyes: that moment when someone understands who Jesus is and why He came and that we are forgiven, no matter what we have done.
I have been blessed to see convicted murders and drug dealers just break down and sob uncontrollably when they understand they are forgiven. When they understand that they are loved more than they can comprehend. The love of Jesus enters us and breaks us in a good way. When we have the Holy Spirit poured out on us, it is an incredible realization of the way the universe works, there is good and bad. There is an entire other realm. The spiritual realm is real, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. So why not use that knowledge to bring blessings here on Earth?
Just one example of this in the Bible is Saul. He was a murderer (Acts 8:1), met Jesus (Acts 9:7), and gave his life to telling others about Jesus (Acts 9:15).
From a personal perspective, I can share many, many stories about how a change in the spiritual realm rains down onto Earth. I have seen someone who was lost and hurt “beyond repair” encounter Jesus and after they understood who He is and dedicated their life to Him, my entire life changed through our friendship.
I have seen “tough” men who think they do not need Jesus eventually realize their desperate need after hearing the Good News many times. There is one gentleman in particular who runs a car repair shop, and he rejected Jesus time after time. Eventually, he realized how broken he is (as we all are) and accepted Jesus as his Lord. He has since dedicated the proceeds of his shop to developing an entire ministry in a third-world country that has touched thousands of lives.
I could go on and on. The bottom line is this – it just takes one. One person like you to tell one person who needs to hear the Truth for Heaven and Earth to be impacted. We say sometimes that we want to change the world, make it a better place – I completely agree.
Then tell just one about Jesus. Encourage that one to tell just one.
Each week, could there be just one person that you tell?
Whatever men you have in your life–dad, son, brother, husband, coach, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, and so on–the enemy wants them weak and vulnerable. That could mean physically or spiritually weak. Once the enemy can incapacitate a man, those around him are much more vulnerable.
This is not a sexist view, this is Biblical. Man was created first:
“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.'” Genesis 2:18-23 NIV
But you will also note that the serpent used the woman to get to the man:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”‘ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:1-6 NIV
While women have influence over the men in our lives, that can be good or bad influence. As women, we need to be on our knees for the men in our lives. If you think, “Well, there are no men in my life – no family, no friends, no Pastors, etc.,” then be on your knees for our President, for instance, if you are an American. Whatever political view you have, the Bible commands we are to submit to the government authorities that God instituted:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Romans 13:1-7 NIV
Men do not always pray for themselves. I understand that, for it can seem selfish to pray for yourself. David prayed for himself a lot, however, and he was a strong warrior and king. There are many examples of David praying for himself, and here is just one: “Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (Psalm 3:7 NIV).
We need to encourage the men in our lives. We need to pray for the men in our lives. We need to let them know we are praying for them, whether they are praying for themselves or not, and that we have them covered daily.
The prayers of a woman are incredibly powerful, as are all prayers. The point I am highlighting here, though, is that the serpent used the woman to bring down the man. Can you imagine how much more powerful it would be if God used women, through prayer, to protect the men in our lives?
If they are unsaved, cry out to God for their salvation. If they are wandering, pray they would become the prodigal son. If they are weary, pray for strength and tenacity to keep their eyes on Jesus. If they are walking with Jesus, pray that they would continue to deepen their walk. (From a wife’s perspective, I personally can attest that a man who loves Jesus above all else is extremely attractive!)
Ask them how you can pray for them. If you do not know, just lift them up to God to fulfill whatever it is they need. God knows. Just be on your knees against the enemy’s attacks.
Will you join me in a prayer now?
Father in Heaven,
We lift up the men in our lives, whether fathers, friends, family, mentors, or romantic partners. We lift them up to You.
Please surround them with hedges of spiritual and physical protection forged by the precious blood of Jesus. Let only that which is of You or from You dare touch them.
We pray for their souls to grow closer to You. We pray for their flesh to submit to You. We pray for them to aggressively pursue You and Your Will daily in their walks. We pray their relationships with Jesus grow deeper every single day.
Lord, fill our men with strength and courage. Lord, fill them with wisdom.
Lord, fill us all with the desire to be on our knees in prayer for Your Will to be done in our lives. May we draw closer to You with each passing day.
Father, we thank You and praise You for all You have done.
With the world we live in now, it is critical that you know that nothing can separate you from God’s love. Nothing and nobody at all, ever (Romans 8:38).
Once you believe in Jesus, you no longer belong to the dark side – the battle changes. Before you believed in Jesus, the battle was to keep you in the dark, so to speak.
Now, you stand in a place of victory. It is the victory that Jesus won for you. So, the dark side changes their approach because they no longer have you on their team. They want to keep you from enjoying all that is already yours through Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and hell. But fear not, God did not leave you without instructions on what to do when the dark side tries to distract you or hurt you or invade your thoughts.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:11-17 NLT
These verses are saying that people and situations are not your enemy; your enemy is real and is not flesh and blood. The enemy is the opposite of Jesus, who is full of life and love. Just like anyone in battle, there is armor or equipment we need to use.
The first is the belt of Truth. The belt was critical, for it held weapons and enabled warriors to defend themselves when under attack. We fight with Truth, and it is one of the ways we defend ourselves.
The second is the body armor of righteousness. You keep this as a “covering” to protect yourself against attacks. It is not how good you are. It is God’s righteousness, so you protect yourself standing on the victory Jesus already won.
The shoes of peace mean wherever you go, you carry the peace of God with you. No matter what is going on, you have the peace of God. Not only do we need to anchor to His peace, but we are also to carry that peace with us and share with the lost why we have peace. You will go through many storms in your life and when you remember that you have His peace, you will look “different” to others as you navigate storms.
The shield of faith is what protects you. You must never let go of your faith. No matter what bad thoughts or bad things come your way, you use your faith to protect you like a shield. Believe in God and His love for you.
The helmet of salvation is to protect your mind with the knowledge that you are saved by Jesus. Nobody can take that from you. Once you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are His. Period.
The last piece of armor is different. This weapon we are to wield. When we are attacked, we have all of the defensive weapons to use. This last one is an offensive weapon. It is the Word of God, and it is a sword. This means many things, but we will focus on just one. When Jesus was dealing with the devil in the desert, Jesus kept saying, “It is written.” Every time the devil would say something, Jesus would say Scripture back and speak the truth (Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11). He was teaching us how to use the Word of God like a weapon. When you hear lies, listen to the truth and speak the truth, which is the Word of God. What a different world we would have if Eve had just stuck with what God said when the devil showed up to tempt her.
You may be thinking, how do I get these weapons and know what to use when? Reading the Bible daily equips you. It teaches you all these things, and then you have what you need when you need it. You will be amazed how Scriptures will just pop into your head when you need them. This is the Holy Spirit at work within you. He will even bring Scriptures to your mind that you have not yet read or did not quite grasp when you did read them. He speaks only truth.
You have everything you need to push the bad away from your heart and mind. You just need to remember that you have everything you need – that is the hard part. It is something I struggle with a lot. I allow the bad stuff to creep into my head when I know it is not true, and I know what is true. That is the battle that people who believe in Jesus face. Our souls are safe, but it is our hearts and minds that can still be distracted from the amazing blessings we have been given. So, we need to stay aware of what we are allowing into our hearts and minds. The enemy will constantly send fiery darts at us and attack our hearts and minds. It is not a sin to have a “bad” thought, but it can become a sin depending on what you do with it. Do you take it captive, as we are commanded in 2 Corinthians 10:5, or do you entertain it?
Thank God that He has armed us with these weapons, outlined for us what they are, and demonstrated Jesus using them. He also has given us the Holy Spirit, the Author of truth and our Helper. As we endure many trials in this life, we must focus on what God has given us to defend ourselves and stand at the ready for when the attacks come, not if they come.
The process of obtaining a divorce has taken a very long time. During that time, God has moved in miraculous ways; He sent believers into my path at the most unexpected times and at the most unexpected places. For example, as various bank employees told me how my former spouse stole my identity and I started to cry, they quoted Scripture to me. That happened on four different occasions at three different financial institutions. Words of faith, hope, and love were shared with me by complete strangers. God is always going before us and walking with us and being our rear guard too.
“You will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12 NIV
These are Scriptures, not my opinion or an empty hope.
I have seen Him move in less obvious ways too. He was very hard at work when I was struggling the most and wandering in my desert, although I did not see it.
One day during my quiet time, I heard God telling me to approach a co-worker and share the Gospel. I had no idea what this person’s values were, let alone religious beliefs. So I started to pray for the Spirit to show me the right time and way to reach him.
I enlisted the help of a friend of mine, who is a prayer warrior, during this time to ensure that two of us were praying. Over the next few weeks, I prayed and was shown how to approach my co-worker in a way that would be embraced.
As someone who loves to share the Gospel, I have witnessed many reactions from others; everything from acceptance to rejection and in between. The more you share the Gospel, the more experiences you have that you can apply to future situations.
I asked my co-worker if he believed in a higher power. He said yes. I then asked what faith he was. He responded Baptist. I have learned that when someone responds with a denomination, we should not assume they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. More times than not, they are not actively practicing or that was how they were raised and so on.
It is critical to ensure they know Jesus as Lord. To do that, I ask one key question. The question that immediately polarizes the conversation. There is no gray space:
“If you were to die tonight, where would you go and why?”
I have never seen this question fail to guide the rest of the conversation. Either the answer is something like, “Heaven, because of Jesus” or not.
My co-worker and I had been friends for about two years by the time I asked him “The Question.” We each were married and pretending that all was well in our lives. We each were burying pain. We each were experiencing and ignoring similar suffering. We each were being abused by our spouses, in different ways but nonetheless abused. We each stayed for different reasons. Mine was the kids and his was because he felt trapped and hoped not to live much longer.
We knew none of this about the other when God burdened me to ask “The Question.”
At that point in my marriage, I was channeling 100% of my energy into my kids. So what if my spouse treated me the way he did? The kids were fine. Not true, but I believed it at the time. Kids see more than you think they do.
I prayed and looked for the opportune time to ask my co-worker, “If you were to die tonight, where would you go and why?”
Ever since I was saved, I love sharing the Gospel. It is mind blowing to me that the Creator of the universe chooses to use sinners like me to share Jesus with people. The most meaningful moments in my life are having the honor of watching the veil be pierced, the scales fall from eyes and people realize their desperate need for Jesus. They physically change before your eyes, whether they start to cry, drop to their knees or just grab you and hold on. It is an incredible privilege. Sharing Jesus is what we are left here to do (Matthew 28:19-20). You interact with eternity when you share the Good News with people.
My co-worker’s reply was, “Heaven, I hope. Because I’m a good person?” No mention of Jesus.
Over a series of conversations and emails, I explored the Gospel with my co-worker. One Sunday afternoon, I was incredibly burdened to enter a time of intense prayer for him, though I had no idea why. I had never felt like that, as if the Holy Spirit was telling me to pray as if my co-worker’s life depended on it.
So I did.
My co-worker recently recalled:
For years – most of my marriage, in fact – I had been repeating the words “I wish I was dead” inside my head for most of almost every day. Despite these negative thoughts, I had not often seriously contemplated ending my life on my own. It was simply a wish, a desire for it all to end. Then, I wouldn’t be trapped anymore.
That Sunday afternoon was different. Actually, that whole weekend had been different. By the end of it, I was devising creative methods to kill myself with objects I had on hand. The thing is, I didn’t really understand why I wanted to end it all. There were no logical reasons. Not even illogical ones.
I was blessed in that JC had recently started talking to me about Jesus. I had started reading the Bible. Knowing a little about my anxiety, she had introduced me to a local church that also streamed its services online. Many of those early sermons had spoken to me. On this Sunday, I was hoping for the same. I needed to hear something to get the dark thoughts out of my head. Instead of a real service, though, it was only what I call an “infomercial” for the church’s community groups. Not helpful. At all.
Though she had no idea what I was going through, I prayed JC would have some words for me that would help, and I promptly fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon. When I awoke, there was an email from her, along with a link to an older sermon by a different pastor.
When I went upstairs to my little office to watch it, this sermon gave me some perspective about the gift that is life. Yet, I still felt in a dark place. I revealed some of this to JC when replying to her email.
Once my co-worker shared with me what was happening, I realized that while I was crying out to Jesus on his behalf, he was wrestling with spiritual warfare. He was not yet a believer, so God had sent me to battle for him – to pray for his very soul.
I emailed him back with a high-level overview of spiritual warfare and gave him some suggestions, including Scriptures to read. My co-worker then accepted Jesus while I was still in fervent prayer. I did not receive his email with the news right away, though, as I had been burdened by the Holy Spirit to remain in focused prayer.
While he had been wrestling with his faith, I had literally been crying out to Jesus and spending hours in prayer for him. I have never been that focused on anyone for that long in prayer without knowing why.
After I concluded my time of prayer and worship, I picked up my phone and there was the email from my co-worker sharing his decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
My co-worker recalled:
JC had referenced a number of verses in her email about spiritual warfare to help me, including some in John. As I was flipping through my Bible, I could not find John. I was still a newbie at all of this, but I had never once had a problem finding a book before, including John. I even went to the index, and yet still found myself looking on the wrong page.
I realized something did not want me to read those references, so I focused my mind until, of course, they were there – as they had been all along.
After that, I knew that I had to accept Jesus in my heart. All the while, unbeknownst to me, JC was praying for me. If I ever had any doubts about the power of prayer, that Sunday evening abolished them.
Even after I was born again, very dark images tried to enter my mind that night as I was falling asleep – right in that time where you are not quite awake but not quite asleep. But I prayed them away. . .twice. . .and was able to have a restful sleep. It was all so very fascinating to me to realize that the world worked in a completely different way than I ever thought.
Ever since those hours when I was praying for him and he was battling spiritually with his belief in Jesus, my co-worker and I have become what I will call “spiritually entangled.”
God blesses obedience. My co-worker, Snow, heeded the call of Jesus, and I prayed when I felt led to. Being spiritually entangled is an amazing gift that I struggle to explain. We hear each other’s thoughts, we feel what the other feels – physically and emotionally – and we each help the other grow in Jesus daily.
Even though we are no longer co-workers, we communicate daily. We read Bible plans and pray together via text or over the phone. We challenge each other to have faith in Jesus, despite trials.
Presently, Snow is my best friend, and we are each unmarried now and working on healing from the abusive marriages we endured. Years later, we still hear each other’s thoughts and feel what the other feels. The more we pray and read the Bible together, the more the spiritual entanglement grows.
God was moving in mighty ways while I was wandering in my desert enduring many trials during my divorce. God was also moving in mighty ways as Snow and I battled for his soul.
Jesus was aligning the lives of two wounded butterflies to cross paths with each other. Our paths are permanently intertwined – one that would join Jesus in helping me heal so I can soar.
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8 NIV