On the red muddy sand, I lay, wondering how I had come to this. I had thought it was good judgment. I was very wrong. It opened the door to the devil and I took some beating. I could hear the raucous laughter and jeering from the stands. Like showers of rain, shame overwhelmed me. I imagined how tales of my failure would be spread far and near as an example of a perfect failure. I thought about how exaggerated tales of my poor judgment would make for good examples in class rooms, business conferences, career talks and in religious teachings.
I had no strength left in me. Processing my failure over and over had done more damage to me than the devil’s last punch in my face. “I would never rise again. It is over!” I whispered to myself.
Satan, the enemy of my soul, was about to have a victory party over my massive fall. The fight was over. It wasn’t even a fight. It was torture. I took the devil’s bait and he whooped me silly. The crowd were on their feet leaving the stands when I heard a whisper. I knew that voice. It had spoken to me over a thousand times. “Rise and fight! The victory is yours! You have the victory,” it said. “No! I can’t! I am finished. They know I am the man who impregnated that girl! They know I am the girl who aborted last week. They know my mistakes. I can’t do this anymore! They know all about my shame, failures and weaknesses. I can’t, please don’t speak to me anymore!” I yelled at that holy voice.
“Don’t quit child. God knows you have done all that, however he also knows if you chose to turn away your focus from your failures and fight one more time, this unfolding story will end differently. Rise and fight child, for the righteous will fall seven times and rise again! Fight, for he is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all your unrighteousness. Fight, for God knows your story does not end like this. He has read it many times and this is not how it ended each time I heard him read it to his angels. Rise and fight child! I know this part of your story very well, and I know there is also a part of your story where you stood up in spite of your shame, mistakes and weaknesses and fought well. You fought well child. You quit the habits. You sought God’s forgiveness and he gave it to you gladly. You became a source of hope to the wounded. Rise and fight child!”
I tried to muster strength and rise to my feet but the images of my failure flashed through my mind and I collapsed back to the ground. “Rise and fight,” that holy voice goaded me. “I can’t holy one,” I replied. Raising my right hand which was weak and worn from my being battered, I pointed to the jeering crowd. Can’t you hear them Holy One? They are talking about my failed marriage. They know Jane has left me and is now living with another man. They know about the stash of porn that was found under my bed. They are talking about the man I foolishly followed and got pregnant for, thinking he would marry me. Can’t you hear them? They are having a laugh about the last business I started which has since closed. They are laughing at me. They know I fought my pastor’s wife and started rumours against the church.
“Look at my age, I am not married. Can’t you see my mates? They are all married. Look at the men, they no longer look my way. You know I am 36 years. I am 36 and it means the number of men willing to marry me are few and getting fewer by the day…”
“Stop! Do you listen to yourself at all? God knows all about the things you mentioned. He wants you to rise to your feet and take one more shot at life. He knows you have done the things he hates. The good thing is that you also can see the things you did are bad. Now rise and forgive yourself. You have asked him to forgive you long enough. It is time to act on his word. Child, don’t let Satan have that party over your failure. You have what others don’t have – the lessons of your failure. You are stronger. Rise and fight child! The devil’s last punch didn’t kill you, it shows you can take much more than you think. You have much more fight left in you. Fight! Rise and fight the good fight of faith!”
The crowd had thinned out and Satan’s party was about to start. I didn’t feel like it, but something powerful and strong was stirring in me. I reached deep into that stirring strength and tottered to my feet. I staggered to my Sword of the Spirit and picked it up. My eyes darted about for my Shield off faith it was lying some distance away. A little demonic imp was sitting on it telling bloated tale about how they took me out. I was miffed. They had not seen I was back on my feet. To them the battle was long over and I was finished.
No! They were dead wrong! “In the name of Jesus get off my Shield of Faith!” I yelled at the imp. It tumbled of my Shield of faith as if a sledge hammer had hit it on the head and went underground. That little victory was for me a shot in the arm. I found myself mumbling to myself, “Greater is he in me than he that is in the world,” as I picked up my Shield of Faith.
The imp must have spread the news that I was back on my feet. Suddenly all preparations for the party stopped.
In readiness for a feisty fight of faith, I tightened my grips on my sword and shield and narrowed my gaze on a demon which ambled toward me out of darkness with choking arrogance. As his figure became much more visible to me, I was able to make out the weapon he had in his hand. He was coming back with my pornographic addition. My heart flew into panic. Then there were many more of them, they were back with all my wrongs and habits. One had the record of all the abortions I had for some men, he had a sadistic grin on his face. The others had records of the lady I got pregnant, the division I started in the church, lies I told against my pastor and his wife, the record of my failed businesses and ventures.
There was another imp, it took a while before I took notice of it. It was mocking me already about my lacks, jeering about how no man would marry me. It jeered. it jeered relentlessly about how no woman would want me for a husband. “You have nothing! You have nothing! You are nothing!” it jeered with a croaky voice. My feet tottered and my hands shook. My eyes darted about for the Holy One who spoke to me. He was nowhere to be found. I took two steps backward to bolt away, then I heard him, “Your faith is the victory that overcometh the world. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Don’t run, I am here with you.”
I turned and had an angry look at my adversaries. To them I didn’t look like much a fight. They had beaten me times without number. At the stands a few people had taken notice that I was back on my feet and had begun to jeer wildly again. Some of them had their hands in their mouths, afraid of what the devils would do to me. I could tell some even prayed for me out of pity. Those who had long left heard their roar and ran back. “Oh no! She should have stayed down. Now those who didn’t hear about her failures will do,” some said. “Now many more will know he was the guy whom his wife left. I hear no lady wants him now.” “If you haven’t seen failure before, there it is, standing with a shield and a sword that will do his enemies no harm. Hahahahaha!” “Finish him!” “Rid the earth of him!” The jeering resumed with earnestness. Each word they spoke was like a stab through my heart, yet I stood my ground. How I did it was a mystery to me.
The demon spirit of condemnation was the first to attack me. My response surprised even me. I had expected myself to drop my weapons and condemn myself, but instead of that, I raised my shield of faith and swung my Sword of the Spirit. My gaze was fixed on its neck; my target was the nape of its neck. Like a thunder I heard from my own lips, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit! My sins have been forgiven! God has forgiven me and I have renounced my sins. You cannot accuse me of those sins anymore!” The demon’s neck tilted and I saw blood spurt from a deep gash on its neck. It had taken a blow from my sword. I felt lighter. I could tell a burden had fallen of my shoulder. The demon dropped down on one knee. I sprang toward it and plunged the full length of sword into it. Again my lips were at work, shooting the word of God, “The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death!”
The others retreated in terror and confusion. “It can’t be! Is this him? What came over her? No, this must be a look-alike,” they conjectured as I poised myself for another round of fight of faith. My footwork was good, and my muscles tightened up. I could see victory having tasted blood. Then came my nightmare, the demon had records of all my sexual sins, and piles of pornographic content he forced me to watch when we were together. My grip on my weapons loosened. My feet seemed to move of their own accord toward the demon. The demon could tell I was being ensnared. It reached into a fetid, black, bag which hung on it filthy back and pulled out a chain. I knew that chain, with it he had bound me several times. I wanted to stop the slide toward it, but I could not. “This is who you are! Take this and go back to your sin,” it demanded gloatingly. Within me, a righteous indignation rose. “For sin shall not have dominion over me, I am not under the law but under grace! I am not a slave of sin! With the blood of Jesus, I was bought! I am, no longer bound to sin.” I yelled.
The scene seemed like the day of Korah’s rebellion. The ground opened and the demon sunk in with all it had come against me with. The rest must have been peeved. They swarmed me with all they had. I had expected myself to fight the regular way I fought in the other two fights. No, something else happened.
My tongue loosened and I began to speak in tongues. A canopy of light, so resplendent the devils could not stand its brightness, shielded me. The light overwhelmed them. I could hear their monstrous shriek as they ran for cover. For once in my life, I saw myself as who God says in his Word that I am, his righteousness, free from the stains and filth of this world. I stood with my Shield of Faith and Sword of the Spirit in my hands, beaming like a beacon of light. Suddenly I saw I was robbed in a white garment of righteousness. Its brightness has no human word adequate to qualify it.
The crowd on the stands was in awe. The crowd could jeer me no more. That day, I learnt a big lesson. In battles of life, if you choose to stay down, then it is over; your enemies can move to other businesses. However, in spite of your many good reasons to quit, if you chose to stand and try again, you will achieve results, possibilities that will astound you.
Irrespective of what the devil tells you, there is life after your failed marriage, there is life of true freedom beyond your current fears and habits. There is life of joy and happiness beyond your present pains and sadness. You can have that job, that marriage, that relationship, that health and that business. You can quit that habit in the name of Jesus! You can live happily irrespective of your mistakes, if you would accept God’s forgiveness and reach out for what lies ahead of you. There is life ahead of you and it is worth fighting for. Have faith in God!
I prevailed…we prevailed. We believed in his word, resisted the devil and he fled from us. Not a day should you let the devil to rule your life with his sins and accusations. Indeed, he sent his word, and healed them and delivered them from their destructions. Halleluiah! You can be free!
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