When you grow up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and summer yields to fall, you root for the Steelers. It’s not even an option. It’s culture. You bleed black and gold. The home team binds every borough, city and suburb into a greater community that rises in unison to wave Terrible Towels and high five complete strangers. In the stadium, in the grocery stores, in the workplace… anywhere.
To this day, even though I’m now a Carolina girl, when I see any random person in public wearing Steelers gear, I see family… and I stroll over to chat with them as if we graduated from high school together.
Yinz guys. Not even kidding. Rilly. We Steelers fans love our team fiercely.
And we have ridiculously strong feelings about our rivals. (Ahem. Patriots, Ravens & Bengals) These teams aren’t just opponents, they’re enemies. Enemies who come against our people with a strategic game plan to poke holes in our defense, overpower us on offensive and neutralize our effectiveness on the field. Enemies that I want my Steelers to take down. Bad, bad enemies. (Please don’t send me nasty emails if you root for one of my enemy teams. Just repent.)
In Psalm 83, the psalmist cries out to God about His enemies and begs Him to wipe them out. He asks God to rise up and crush the forces of darkness that conspire against the Lord and His people.
O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—
Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
Cover their faces with shame, Lord,
so that they will seek your name.
(Psalm 83:5, 13-16)
I read this and am reminded of the wars that rage all around us in the unseen realm. I’m reminded of the authority in Christ we’ve been given to boldly pray against all that is contrary to God’s heart and will, which is revealed in His Word. Given the current events and tragic losses of late, this list is lengthy and loaded with led.
We can confess personal rebellion and pray against tendencies in our own hearts that oppose His best for us. Things like stubbornness, pride, laziness, anger, sexual sin, jealousy, resentment, gluttony, bitterness, division, toxic thoughts, bigotry and idolatry.
“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.” (1 John 2:9)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)
“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” (Proverbs 28:13)
We can ask the Spirit of God to replace any darkness with His holy light that forgives completely and invites us to come as we are by grace.
“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
“The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12)
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1:6)
We can pray against enemies like depression, fractured relationships, laws, ignorance, ungodly movements, despair, fear, and doubt. And we can align our choices and responses with the instructions in God’s Word.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
And as we call out for the Lord to crush His enemies and invade darkness with light, we can rest in the assurance that we’re on the winning team because our MVP chose to wear a headpiece of thorns to ensure the victory.
So let’s join together as a community of believers today on bended knee. Wave a towel and strike up the band in celebration that God cherishes our team fiercely and leads us in the battle against our enemy. (v3) #herewego
Lord Most High,
You are all powerful, all knowing and all seeing. Please go before me and take action against darkness today… in this world and in my heart.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
What in your heart or this world needs to be wiped out? Ask God to equip you for battle and pray that He will expose any areas in your life that need to be surrendered. Then gain some accountability and put on the full armor of the Lord as you move to the front lines.
With you in the battle,
You never have to do life, battle or faith alone. Hang out with Gwen and friends and be strengthened for the fight! Listen to the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith podcast as you commute to work, go on walks, exercise, run errands, eat guacamole or travel. Podcasts are also perfect to listen to as you do household chores! (Laundry anyone?)
Each GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith podcast episode is filled with fun, faith-focused, grace-filled conversations that will help you know and trust God more.
These discussions encourage you in meaningful ways to live out and lean on the GRACE of Jesus in the midst of cluttered, messy days. CLICK HERE to listen on iTunes, or visit GwenSmith.net/Graceologie for more information.