When Faith is a Battle

Gwen Smith Blog 43 Comments

When I was a little girl, one of the highlights of every summer was going to our family reunion at White Oak Park. I loved those reunions because there was always a seven-layer salad (with bacon), yummy home-made favorites, and lots of desserts. All of us kids played grassy games that filled us with laughter and drenched us in sweat. Then after the kid games were done, some adults would join us for a final competition: the tug-of-war.

When it came to tug-of-war, I had a strategy: wherever my dad went, I went. Because in my little-girl mind, he was superhuman strong. (I was ever the rational one.) Dad always positioned himself at the far end of the rope as our anchor, and his strength usually helped our team gain traction and, ultimately, win the game. My opinion… but here’s proof… (I’m in the front middle. Note that my belly was sticking out far and proud. With an outty. So refined.)

(I’m the second from the left in this one… next to my strong daddy. And I’d just like to add that my bell bottoms are a pretty epic combo with my pig tails.)

Anyhoo… back to the post.

When it comes to tug-of-wars in life, you and I need a strategy. Every day you and I live out a faith adventure that takes us to a different type of battle: one we fight against the invisible.

Let’s break down the competitors:

TEAM DEFEAT: On the Enemy’s side of the battle rope, the opponents are lined up and ready to take us down. They want to shove us into a dark, stinky pit. These opponents aren’t visible, but they are very real. We know them: fear, doubt, guilt, insecurity, pride, comparison, inadequacy, indifference, and lies. Power zappers, all of them!

TEAM VICTORY: On the faith side of the battle rope, the Holy Spirit is right beside us. He is the anchor that helps us gain traction. The Holy Spirit leads with help that enables us to stand firm and be ready to fight. He teaches us how to be confident, compassionate, forgiving, humble, wise, and content. He reminds us of who we are in Christ and defends us against the thugs on the other side of the rope.

Each morning when I wake up, a tug-of-war begins again.

Every. Single. Day.

The Enemy we face is real—the Bible tells us so—and our lives give us all the evidence we need to believe it.

Here’s the way I look at it: The Word is truth, and Jesus is the Word (John 1:14). Jesus is the truth and can speak only truth (14:6). If Jesus said that His followers would be better off without Him (16:7) and would do even greater things because of the One He would send in place of Him (14:12)—then who are we to pretend that the Holy Spirit is inconsequential?

Since Jesus made it clear that my life will be better with the Spirit of truth, I want all of the Holy Spirit. I want every vibrant connection possible between God and my life. I want every ounce of guidance, teaching, comfort, help, and reminder He will give me. Bring it on! This happens when—and only when—I live yielded to the Holy Spirit. (When I grab the rope on the faith side of the battle.)

I wish I could write from a place of perfection, but I can’t.

The battle between walking in the flesh and walking by faith is as fresh as my morning mug of dark roast. And the pathetic thing is I know what I need to do even when I don’t choose it. I know that I need the Spirit of God to fill and fuel my day with fresh power, which comes as He leads me in the perspective, peace, conviction, and truth of Jesus.

I need help from the Spirit of God because the battles are fierce.

Are you whispering “Amen”?

We simply cannot go into a gunfight with plastic knives in our hands. If I want to live with all the power that the Lord has for me, then I have to invite the Holy Spirit to lead.

Every. Single. Day.

We Jesus lovers need to be fully engaged and alert. You don’t have to wear camo, but you need a battle plan. It begins with acknowledging that there is, in fact, a spiritual battle raging all around you, and it requires you decide which team you’re fighting for and against.

Dear Lord,
Please crush my insecurities and doubts so that I might be an effective witness of Your power. Cover me in Your Spirit today and equip me to fend off attacks from the Enemy.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Read John 17: 9-19. (This is a section of the prayer that Jesus prayed for believers just before He went to the cross.) What about this prayer encourages you? What would it look like for you to pick up the rope of Team Victory today? Personalize this by posting a prayer of response in the comments section of my blog.

Cannot WAIT to read and pray through the prayers you post!

I’m so honored to be pulling from the same side of the rope with you. Thanks for doing life with me. I pray that this message helps you know and trust God more today.

Love and Blessings in Christ,

🌸 GWEN 🌸

Are you ready to fight with MORE of God’s help?
My book, I WANT IT ALL, will challenge and point you toward more faith, more power, and more impact. More of Jesus. All of Jesus. Everything that God has for you.Order yours today from Amazon your favorite retailer or, for a signed copy, from my web store.

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Comments 43

  1. Precious Jesus, thank you so much for praying for me then and even now! It is so mind blowing and how You hold on to me each and every second of my life! Don’t let me go and save me from me! Thank you for the Holy Spirit that lives inside of me and helps me every step of the way with strength, boldness and power and above all Your Love that flows through me! I praise and glorify You,God, for all things. The good and the bad. Glory to God in the highest!!! In Jesus strong name I pray, Amen! <3 Great blog!!! Thank you!

  2. Father ,I am not a great writer and not very good at putting the words together that I want to say so I will leave you with this with tear drops strolling down my face I am broken and I need you to help me.Pkease I pray give me strength and make me a way……..Amen

  3. My Mighty Savior!!!!
    May I be so consumed inYour Love
    For me!!!! Take my fears and set me free today!!!! So blessed to read this
    Precious devotion!!!!! Thanks Gwen!!!!
    Team Jesus!!!!!

  4. Wow I am so blessed reading all your books sister Gwen and thank you for your emails God bless you
    You truely are a blessing from me and not just for me only but every one

  5. Father in heaven I fully submit myself to You in agreement with the prayer that Jesus prayed in John 17:9-19 and in His name I pray, amen.

  6. Dear Lord, Thank you for Jesus and His prayer for me, His follower! I am sanctified, set apart for sacred use! I confess that is hard to process sometimes! However, I trust that I have been cleansed and made Holy through believing and obeying Your Holy Word. Please continue to show me how to apply Your Word so I may fiercely lead Women’s Ministries in my church and beyond for such a time as this! Cover me in Your spirit and protect me from the evil one as I continue to organize, develop, assist, and equip women to intentionally pursue multigenerational mentoring relationships keeping their eyes on Jesus and trusting God for the results. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

  7. Wow, Gwen, this was powerful today! I loved this! I teach this stuff in my life coaching, but hearing it from you made it fresh today. If you don’t mind, I am going to post your blog on my Facebook, Rebuilding Families Christian Coaching. You can see it there. You are an exquisite writer, and I am grateful for the spiritual feeding that I get from you and the other women on the Girlfriends in God blog. I often share that blog with my clients. Thank you for today’s wisdom. Oh, and by the way, your dad was gorgeous! Ha!

  8. Thank you Father God for giving us Jesus that through faith in him we can become one with you. Thank you for your protection and sanctification to not be of the world but to go into the world to spread the good news of the Gospel. Thank you for loving us so much. Amen!!!

  9. Thank you Father God for giving us Jesus that through faith in him we can become one with you. Thank you for your protection and sanctification to not be of the world but to go into the world to spread the good news of the Gospel. Thank you for living us so much. Amen!!!

  10. Lord, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to be with me. I thank You , that I am Yours and I’m never alone.

    Fill me with Your joy, and let everything that I do and say today be a reflection of Your love.


  11. This prayer is so encouraging and full of love. I pray that I keep this prayer with me all day as I face the world. Knowing that Jesus has “got this” and that he is in control covers my insecurities and fear.

  12. Than you Heavenly Father for teaching and showing me how to be on the winning team, knowing you are in front of me and behind. Each day I will remember to get back on the winning side when I start getting on the wrong side. Thank you Jesus …… Amen

  13. I fight the Devil every day and tell him he does not have control over me. I have been under attack for the last two weeks with him trying to get at me but I serve a Lord who is more powerful than him. He made me fall down and and last week I was very dizzy the Doctor did not know what it was I think my sinuses. I refuse to give in to the flesh and give praises to My Lord he is my Healer.

  14. Lord, you came to teach me that I do matter and that because I believe you will always be at my side. May you never leave me but be with me when the evil one pulls at my rope. Watch over those I love who struggle with not truly understanding this when the evil one pulls at them.

  15. Dear Gwen,
    Your words today really struck home. I feel I battle each day to live my faith and couldn’t understand why. You made me see that it is a fresh battle every day. I couldn’t do it without Jesus, I can’t imagine trying to. Thanks for your words. Have a glorious blessed day!

  16. My victory today would look like this:
    I will finally take that first step to exercise today and track what I eat on this app on my phone. I will take that first step in order to stop using food as an idol, or a replacement for God in my life.

  17. Lord God, please help me to take up the rope on the Faith team right where I am at. Help me to stay fully committed until you move me to a new team. May you be ever glorified.

  18. Master and Lord, Sanctify me with Your truth; That I may live out to Your great plans of prosperity and a hope-Full future.

  19. Thank you Lord for choosing me, giving me to your Son, so that I may follow Him, believe in Him and have faith and hope in Him. Without Him the battle is over before it starts

  20. Thanks so much for this word today. It has encouraged me and will continue to encourage me to seek all of God’s Holy Spirit today and every single day. Bring it on!

  21. Team Victory for me will be having the courage to stand up for myself and not allow people to stop me from my calling regardless how uncomfortable it makes them feel.

  22. Pray for me. Going through an intense battle. But keeping my eyes on Jesus. Thanking God for Holy Spirit for his leading. ASking prayer for my thirty-one year old son,Henry. For him to surrender fully to the Lord and to be filled with Holy Spirit. Staying in faith….Thank you Gwen!

  23. Lord, please equip me with your armor, in order to be a witness wherever I go. Let the Holy Spirit take the anchor of the rope, so that I may have victory in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  24. Gwen,
    Amen, Amen, and Amen.
    Your words and scripture encouraged me today. My desire is to walk in the Spirit, but some days the flesh wins out. So thankful God gives us second chances to keep striving for the end goal. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
    Proverbs 4:25-17
    Let your eyes look directly ahead
    And let your [a]gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
    26 Watch the path of your feet
    And all your ways will be established.
    27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left;
    Turn your foot from evil.

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  25. I love your stories. They make me pull onto the rope tighter. I pray for stability in my life. I am getting so tired of not moving forward. Kindness does not bring kindness in a world full of ugliness. I pray for our world. The loss of my spouse 5 years ago has left me distressed. I have been manipulated, taken advantage of and people have stolen from me. Whom do I trust. I lean on My Father and pray for strength daily.

  26. What a message! Bless you. Many prayers needed. Recently had a miscarriage after a car accident I believe God know why this happen. The pain is real but so is God.

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      Oh, Alma! I’m so sorry for your loss. Yes, the pain is surely real. Praying for you right now.

      Love and Peace,

  27. Father, Your Word says that I am guarded by and prayed for by Jesus. (WOW) Help me to let this sink deep into my heart so that the fears and battles I face are met with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah instead of trembling and defeat.

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  28. Thank You Gwen for reminding me that I have to invite the Holy Soirit into my day each morning, because the battle is real. I thank God for giving us an advocate to comfort us and bring to our remembrance all God has for us and I thank God for praying to the Father on our behalf, and I thank God for you and your wisdom. Have a Blessed day🙌🏽

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  29. It is moving that Jesus prayed for me, that HE prayed for my protection from “the evil one”
    I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
    Thank you for a reminder of who I am and who fights my battles for me

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  30. Gwen, I need the reminder that the evil forces are all around me and that I am protected. Dear Heavenly Father thank you for your unending love and Jesus words that I am His protected by His blood. I need you every second, minute, hour all the day long every day. Thank you for your Holy Spirit my guide and comforter in my every day battle! My anchor in this tug of war for my soul. I praise you and thank you for winning the battle for me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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  31. Thank you Gwen for a great reminder as I’ve been up since 4:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep lol lol. I am having a small women’s retreat at my house this week; my first. My mind has been racing and the fiery arrows are shooting But God (gotta love that), has been bringing me back to the center. I wander with my thoughts and the enemy is trying to pull me in his direction … I speak and say NO!! and tell him he’s already been defeated! And then I praise the King out loud! My mornings are a lot like yours and I’m sure we’re not the only ones.
    Thanks for all your sharing that you do. Please pray for me this week for the Lord to protect the doorways of my home and that He prepare all of our hearts to know Him better❤️ Have a blessed day and may the Lord continue to strengthen you and give you a double portion of the Holy Spirit everyday!

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      Susan… girl, get you some rest! LOL! Your retreat sounds wonderful and I’m confident it will be simply amazing as you keep Christ and His glory in the center. Praying for you now, friend.

      GWEN 🌸

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