Once upon a time…
A leaning is taking place right now…a leaning on Jesus. Today I am drinking a hot cup of peppermint tea and today I am drinking in the Word, and all of this leaning in and drinking up – they comfort me and strengthen me. They let me exhale in a world that makes it way too easy to hold one’s breath.
Yesterday I did battle. This war we are in as Christians is not for the faint-hearted, my friends. It’s blood and guts, front line, land mines abounding, itchy camouflage and heavy weapons. It’s sleeping in the trenches during a rainstorm while your comrades snore and fart all around you. And it’s suffocating in the scorching hot sun while the enemy opens fire. It’s war – all out war. And to live in denial is to die.
The single most damaging weapon that the enemy has used in my life over the years has been ignorance. Anybody else? It totally makes sense, right? After all, the Bible says that the truth makes us free (John 8:32), so if we don’t know or acknowledge the truth and we are living in ignorance, what does that make us?…the opposite of free: bound, y’all – BOUND.
To live in truth is to live in liberty. To live in ignorance is to live in bondage. Remember that old saying, “Ignorance is bliss”? Don’t believe it for a second. No, it puts us at a huge disadvantage and the longer we stay there, the deeper the foothold the enemy has into our lives, our minds, our bodies, and our world.
Back in 2008 I went through something pretty awful. One day my world was fine – the next day I was in a place I had never been before…spiritually, mentally, and physically. All hell broke loose on my whole person and my peace left suddenly and unexpectedly. Much happened – too much to share here – but the enlightenment that God gave to me over the next year was so incredible. One day in the midst of it all, I was so weak in every way possible. It was like Satan himself was sitting on top of me and I couldn’t move. I remember literally forcing myself to crawl from the bed to the chair, in order that I might read out loud from the book of Revelations. As I was reading those scripture verses out loud, the Holy Spirit spoke so clearly to me, and this is what He said: “You have been lied to. You have been deceived. The enemy has you thinking that I am hiding behind every bush, waiting to jump out and pounce on you. IT’S NOT TRUE.”
Listen up. Something happened in my spirit at that moment…something clicked. With every fiber in my being, I knew truth had just been revealed to me, and that truth set me free right then and there. No joke. I could literally feel strength and life flow back into my physical body, peace into my mind, and deliverance into my spirit. I arose from that chair a changed woman, and I have carried this with me every single day since. The truth sets us free – positively and experientially.
Since then, there have been many times that I have been in battle with the enemy for the truth – yesterday was one of those times. I sensed in my spirit that all was not well, and at first I felt troubled and anxious, weak and weary. But then God reminded me of that day back in 2008. And so I asked Him right then and there, “Am I being lied to…deceived by the enemy?” God answered with a resounding, “Yes!” And here’s where it gets interesting…
I have been struggling with the issue of absolute surrender. You see, a few months back I became very burdened to pray. As I started crying out to God day after day with an urgency and a fervency that I had never had before, I entered into a new chapter in my prayer life. All of those years that I had struggled with prayer – it all just sort of melted away. My prayers now had wings, power, faith…and God answered them, as He is still doing today.
This liberty in prayer has brought me into a deeper communion with God and His word, and in doing so I have begun to sense very strongly that God is calling me to surrender all. When I say all, I mean all…kids, husaband, health, EVERYTHING. And I, the genius that I am, have been fighting it tooth and nail.
When I think of surrender, I imagine horrific adversities by the hand of God to break me and educate me in His ways, and I somehow convince myself that if I refuse, I’ll maintain my control and He will just forget about it.
Is there a crazy woman emoji I can insert here?
Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, it is true. I have control issues. Hi, my name is Jodi Combs and I’m a control-a-holic. But I digress…
So, yesterday I felt the enemy attempting to get into my thoughts, and as I entertained those thoughts, a heaviness and a dread of God, rather than the love of God (shameful, I know) weighed me down. But God in His mercy once again spoke these words to me: “You’re being lied to. You are deceived into thinking I am just ready to pounce on you. IT. IS. NOT. TRUE.” And I believed Him. And when I did, I once again experienced strength, peace, and victory, because when we stop believing the lies of the enemy, and we embrace the truth of God, we are set free. (And if you’re unsure what is true, hold everything up to the light of scripture).
Fear and dread are common among us, but they are sin, and I am learning that the only place I can take them is to the Cross. Jesus took care of it there a couple thousand years ago as He was “chastised for my peace”.
Each day I am letting go of more and carefully releasing it to God. And each day I feel myself surrendering to a greater degree, and that’s a God thing, you know?
Victory begins at the Cross of Jesus for me, friends. And as I lay it all down there and reject the lies and hug the truth – as I am crucified with Christ on that Cross, and reckon all of my junk nailed to that tree – I will live free and resurrected with new and fresh power from on High.
Will you join me there? Will you lean in to His love and let Him fill you up with Himself?