“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two–edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
During worship at church, I had a really interesting vision. I’ve been taught various things throughout my Christian life about the sword of the Spirit. Whether it’s spiritual warfare for cities and nations, counseling people into freedom, or praying for their healing and restoration, I’ve learned and experienced a few things. In this picture, though, I saw myself. Actually, dozens of me. Satan was making version after version of me, each based on a lie. He set them along my path like road signs, and as I came to each one, it spoke with what it had been formed with.
“You’re a failure.”
“You’re all alone.”
“You’re going to get cancer again, and this time you’re going to die.”
Even though I knew they were lies, after walking for a while, I started listening to them. Even if I didn’t believe them fully, they began to wear me down until I was out of strength. I stopped near one that kept repeating “You’ll never be good enough to be a real writer.” Over and over it spoke until I found myself agreeing with it.
“What’s in your hand?” The new voice startled me, but I recognized it. Recognized Him. I looked down. In my hand was a sword. It was the sword my son had given me during chemo, a replica from the 2010 Robin Hood film. On the hilt was inscribed “Rise and Rise Again, Until Lambs Become Lions.” I tightened my hand around the words.
“Use it.” Before I could ask how, He said, “Listen.” I knew that meant to focus on what the Holy Spirit had been trying to say the whole time I’d been listening to “myself” say what a terrible writer I am.
“I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” More than words, more than a Bible verse, the truth of it struck me in the heart and shot down my arm. The sword rang like crystal.
Ignoring the irony of beating myself up, I repeated the words out loud and swung at the image. It shattered like glass. I realized this is what Jesus was doing when the enemy tempted Him in the wilderness. He broke the enemy by living in His true identity, and submitting Himself to His Father. As I walked, filled with renewed strength, I listened for the counter to each lie, and destroyed every false version of myself, every idol I’d let the enemy make out of my fear, self–pity, and bitterness.
You are created in God’s image, in awe and wonder (Genesis 1:26, Psalm 139:14). Don’t let a lie twist you into accepting a lesser identity. You are who God says you are.