All throughout my childhood and into my teenage years, our family would frequently take road trips. My dad, Bishop Joseph Brinson, Sr., was a traveling evangelist. Unlike me, he didn’t hop on planes and leave for a couple days, and come back home.
His revivals and crusades would last a couple weeks at a time on average (sometimes a month or more), so he would take the whole family with him.
Many of our trips would carry us through the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. For hours, I would stare out of the window, enthralled by the beauty and grandeur of the landscape.
Though I liked the view a lot, one thing I disliked when going through the mountains was the sensation in my ears. They’d get all plugged up and my hearing would be muffled. This was uncomfortable and ruined the otherwise peaceful ride.
As I got older, I learned more of the science behind my ears plugging. There’s something in our ear call the Eustachian Tube that connects the back of our nose to the middle ear. It’s there to protect, ventilate and drain the middle ear so the air pressure stays equal on both sides of the eardrum.
Well, as you know, the air pressure changes at higher altitudes. So when flying or riding through the mountains, because the pressure isn’t balanced, our ears feel blocked.
These days, I have a trick I use when I travel. I squeeze both nostrils shut and close my mouth tightly. I take a mouthful of air and blow my nose gently without letting any air escape through my mouth. This directs the airflow to the back of my nose and it unblocks my ears every single time.
Now think about this.
In our walk with God, when levels of pressure in our daily lives rapidly change, it makes us uncomfortable and blocks our ears so it’s harder to hear God. Our spiritual ears get clogged up because quick transitions—whether upward or downward—seem hard to manage.
We all like predictability, which is why slow, steady and incremental change is the easiest kind of change to manage. But what happens when your life’s altitude, meaning how high or low you are, shifts rapidly?
For example, you go from making a steady salary to losing a job and making no money. That’s a rapid downward shift. If you get a big raise there’s a major increase in responsibility. That’s a rapid upward shift. Both cause discomfort and pressure because you feel like you don’t have time to adjust.
The pressures of life can be overwhelming. They throw off your balance. You feel like you can’t rest. You can’t focus. You can’t handle the changes. The pressure impacts your faith, too. It makes it harder to trust God.
So, how do you restore balance and get your faith together? You unclog your ears, that’s how. Well, how do you do that? Through the word of God.
In Matthew 11:15, Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Romans 10:17 explains, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
In Matthew 4, when Jesus was sent into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, He was in a vulnerable position. Now, I want to point something out for you. Up until this point, the book of Matthew focuses on the kingliness of Christ. We see His royal genealogy, His miraculous virgin birth, how the wise men worshiped Him, how John the Baptist announced Him, and how the Holy Spirit confirmed that Jesus was indeed the son of God.
But here, in the wilderness, in chapter 4, there is a serious altitude shift. The book of Matthew goes from focusing on Jesus’ kingship to His humanness and vulnerability. Jesus had been fasting 40 days. He was weak, tired and very hungry. Jesus, the King, became lowly like man and had to grapple with temptation just as we do. What a downgrade! Jesus had to fight with His arch nemesis, Satan, who had already been kicked out of Heaven. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords had to contend with the prince of the power of the air, who is beneath Him.
That is a rapid and dramatic shift downward. This was a new, lower altitude for Jesus, so-to-speak, and the pressure was different. So how did Jesus overcome the tempter, the prince of the world, the savvy, conniving deceiver, Lucifer?
We find the answer in Matthew 4:4.
Jesus told Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
Jesus overcame by the word of God!
Why is the word of God so effective? Because Ephesians 6:17 explains to us that it is the “sword of the spirit,” meaning it is a weapon of defense. It cuts.
It cuts through Satan’s lies. It cuts through his deceptions and myths. It cuts through his attempts to discourage you. It cuts through the weapons formed against you. You have an incredible tool at your disposal. Use your weapon. It's there for you to fight with it.
Somebody reading this knows that Satan has been talking to your mind. He has been doing his best to defeat you at every turn. You have been too passive. You have been letting him tell you lies without challenging him. But God is sending this word today to tell you to hit back.
You will overcome the challenge if you fight. You will make it through the wilderness victoriously if you fight. You will put Satan on the run if you resist him and fight. You will overcome the temptation if you fight. You will see God’s mighty hand of favor move on your behalf if you don’t grow weary and you fight.
Fight for your life. Fight for your family. Fight for your destiny. Fight fear. Fight discouragement. Fight worry. Fight anxiety. Fight depression.
Fight with the word of God.
To remind you that you have power, I’m stirring 2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, note this: that word demolish in this passage is the Greek word, kathairesis (Pronounced kath-ah'-ee-res-is), which means to take down or destroy.
When you fight with the weapon of the word of God, it gives you power to destroy and take down Satan’s attempts to destroy, and take you down. Whatever he tries to do against you, know that the power you possess is stronger than his. You are guaranteed to overcome if you fight. The take-down of the enemy will be epic if you fight back.
Be strong in the Lord. Be encouraged. Know who you are and whose you are. You are victorious through Christ. Use your weapon.
Now let’s pray.
God, thank You for giving me a powerful and effective tool to fight the enemy, which is Your word. No longer will I be passive when Satan tries to attack my heart, my mind, my character, and my destiny. I will use the sword of the Spirit to engage in battle. And I know that through Your power, every time, I will win. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
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