As a follower of Christ, I can attest to the fact that the enemy is real. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us that the enemy prowls around like a lion looking for who it can devour. Devour! Did you know that one of the definitions for devour is “to destroy completely”? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be devoured! This is why we need our army standing guard for us!
Recently I had an incredibly amazing experience to be a part of a group of people learning about and studying just this exact thing. As we worked on building our armies, and becoming each others armies, amazing things happened. While we stood guard for each other and went to spiritual battle for each other, people were set free from bondage they had been in for a long time (myself included). This is something I plan to write more about over the next few months as the process was so life changing. But the very first important thing to be discussed is:
you need an army!
I want to share a few scriptural references of times in the Bible when we are reminded about the importance of community.
Exodus tells us we need an army.
The first is in the book of Exodus. To set the stage for you, God has just set the Israelites free from their opression under Pharoah. They are now in the wilderness on their journey to the promised land. They have been grumbling about food and water and wondering why Moses bothered to bring them out of Egypt in the first place. (insert eye roll here). Now the Israelites come across their first battle; the Amalekites come to fight them! It is quickly discovered that whenever Moses has his hands raised in the air, the Israelites have the upper hand, but as soon as he drops down his hands, the Amalekites begin to gain ground. Now the Lord knew that Moses was just a man and he would get tired but with the help of others, Moses was able to keep his arms raised and the Israelites received the victory. The Lord provided helpers as Moses needed them. As just himself, Moses would have been too tired to keep his arms up, but with his “army”, he was able to prevail. (Exodus 17: 11-13)
Nehemiah tells us we need an army standing guard
Another instance of this is found in Nehemiah. I’ll tell you, for the better part of my life I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what Nehemiah was about but now I LOVE it. If you haven’t read Nehemiah lately, I strongly encourage you to go and read it and maybe even do a study on it. So Nehemiah was one of the men who was allowed to lead a group of exiles back to Jerusalem from Babylon, where they had been in captivity for many years. Nehemiah decides to orchestrate the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Of course, this makes their enemies very angry to see the Israelites rebuilding Jerusalem and they decide to make it difficult and wage attacks on them. Nehemiah got wind of this and he stationed guards to keep watch. When the enemies got wind of this, they retreated and called off the attack! Now I love what happens here in chapter 4. Nehemiah knew the work still needed to be done but they needed protection while they were doing the Lord’s work. Nehemiah 4:16 tells us that “from that day on, half of my men did the work while the other half held spears, shields, bows, and armor.”
How does this apply today?
So here is the thing friends, that same enemy who was against the rebuilding of Jerusalem is still prowling around today, looking for whom he may devour. Who is standing guard for you? This is what hit me the most from our study in the winter.
We all have important work to do for the kingdom of God. If you are a child of God then He has gifted you with talents that He desires you to use to further His kingdom. The enemy DOES NOT WANT THAT. Satan does not want us to use our talents for God’s glory. In fact, he would prefer we didn’t use them at all. So he is going to ATTACK us while we try to do the work we were sent to do. Sometimes those attacks can distract us from the work. One of his common tactics is isolation. He wants you alone and vulernable. So you need an army standing guard for you! You need to have those trusted friends who have their armour of God on – who are holding the shield of faith and wielding the sword of the Spirit.
You want these people to be steeped in Biblical wisdom and in tune with the Spirit. You want them to commit to being a prayer warrior for you; to engage in some serious spiritual warefare on your behalf. And you want them to be truth tellers. You need people who are willing to hold you accountable, and who you are willing to LET hold you accountable. Who do you love and respect enough to allow them to speak truth into your life?
This is such an important first step!
Building this army to stand guard is an incredibly important first step to so many things. Over time I want to share all that God has done in my life recently from freeing me from long standing bondage, renewing my marriage and so much more. Having a trusted army to pray with, to confess sins to and to call me out of sin and into who God has me to be has been crucial. Step one is to ask! Think of who you want in your corner and ask them. Say “I am trying to break free from ________ and I would love it if you would join my army and do spiritual battle for me.” Or “I am about to embark on this big project I feel God wants me to do and I would love it if you would partner with me in prayer and protection.” Or whatever you want to say really, just ask. Put it out there. Build the army.
I know, for certain, that the Lord used people in my life to break me FREE and I am so thankful!
We weren’t meant to fight alone!
Most are familiar with the passage in Ephesians 6 about the armour of God. But we don’t so often talk about the verses following even though they are just as important! Ephesians 6:18 tells us “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, staying alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” Right after we are told to put on the armour of God we are reminded to be alert in prayer for all the saints (fellow believers). Let us not neglect this crucial part!
We need our army standing guard for us!
Do you have an army? How have they helped you? How have you helped your friends? Who is standing guard for you? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!