I Will Fight WITH You!

2 Chronicles 20:13-21

Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their wives, and their children. And the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen all of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Be not afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord. And the Levites, Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed. And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped destroy one another.

There are many battles that we face in life for God, but today I want to speak to one that has the biggest influence in those that are already believers: How to fight with your spouse. I say fight ‘with’ because it is important to acknowledge that we shouldn’t fight the person that makes up the other half of our marriage, but we should fight against the sin that has snuck in and set up camp in their heart while we were not watching. This is something I see all too often with marriages that fail: one spouse decided that the other is 100% wrong, they are the guilty party, they are the one who should be sorry, they aren’t doing their part, they are being unfaithful, they aren’t leading the family spiritually, they aren’t doing what we feel like they should do…. How often do we start out a bad thought against our spouse with a confession of what we have done wrong before launching an all out attack on the person we love most?

God gave us our spouse to love and strengthen us against the enemy. Regardless of if they have sinned, they are never the enemy and when there is a problem in marriage it is never 100% the other person’s fault. You are one flesh bonded before God and the body shouldn’t fight itself. So how should we resolve conflict with the one who can cut us deepest? Just as Jehoshaphat took steps in the battle he was facing, we must take steps to even prepare ourselves to fight against the enemy that dwells in our spouses.

Step 1: Cleanse Yourself

You can not go into a spiritual battle with God if you are not clean. Ask God for forgiveness of your own sins first. Are you angry? Lay it in His hands. Are you wrestling with Pride, Spite, Resentment, Hate, Unforgiveness, or Jealousy? Give it over to God and do not pick it back up again. You may have to go into this battle confessing how you wronged the other person before you get them to listen. The enemy can not throw a sin in your face that was turned over securely into God’s hand. He can try but remember that God has that covered by the blood of Christ. Do not go into this battle field without prayer! Pray for yourself, pray for your spouse, and pray for your home that God protect you.

Remember the words of Jahaziel because the first thing he told Judah and Jerusalem was: Thus says the Lord to you. ‘Do not be afraid or dismayed at this great horde for the battle is not yours but God’s.’

If you go into a spiritual battle for your spouse knowing that you are cleansed and that they enemy can not hold those sins over you, then you have nothing to fear from the accusations that he may fling at you. You have nothing to fear from thoughts that dwell in insecurity if you have handed those insecurities over to God. You don’t have to fear your spouse not loving you when you are fighting from a perspective of battling on God’s behalf for their heart. To have this peace in yourself is to win half the battle because you have reduced the enemies arsenal tremendously.

Step 2: Put on your armor:

Judah and Jerusalem went out to face their enemies even after knowing that God would fight the battle. Why? Well because they knew that they still needed to show up for God. They had to go out there in faith that what was prophesied would come to pass. They had to physically go and praise God’s sovereignty to their enemies. God has set you in your marriage to be all that your spouse needs and sometimes they need you to come to the front and fight for them. They need to see they are worth fighting for and that God’s love is real.

They need to see Jesus in you and here is where things get messy. It is every bit easy to yell at each other and your spouse may feel attacked if you call out a sin.  Remember again that your enemy is the sin in them not the person themselves. Even though the scripture above is from the old testament, we still have a duty to respond like Christ even if the enemy is causing them to rage. The enemy sees a strong marriage as a severe threat and seeks to destroy your home! Marriages that desolve cause ripples are capable of drowning family members, children and friends in their wake.  Sin isn’t going to give up a stronghold without a fight and it will do whatever it takes to make you stumble and fall all the while whispering in the ear of the one you love that you are a fake. They may believe it, so never repay venom with venom. The best approach would be one that mirrors Jesus….answer them with the compassion, grace and forgiveness that is extended to you. If you need to bring them to Christ then come prepared with the Word of God, if they need to come to a place of conviction then prepare to show then in the Word what God’s perspective is on the matter. Always be prepared to remind them that they are loved unconditionally by God and by you, so you are not attacking them but leading them back to mercy.

Step 3: Leaving that Front is Not an Option

When Judah and Jerusalem went out to the front to fight they had the promise from God thru a prophet. Can you imagine going into a battle in today’s world armed with a promise and praise? You’d be wise to believe that it still happens everyday. When we get married, we make vows and promises to one another that shouldn’t be broken. God is witness to our promises of ’till death do we part’, and only in the instance of adultery were we given permission to go. If you are being abused or there is molestation happening in your marriage, then yes you should get away and prosecution should be brought to the offender. There are just some sins you should flee from. Outside of abuse, you had better pray about the decision to leave long and hard. Imagine if you were hurting and your spouse walked away from you. Would you see unconditional love in them? Don’t you dare leave your spouse to fight the enemy on their own because once you walk away, there is a longer path to forgiveness and healing should you decide you were wrong to do so. Trust is hard to piece back together after it is shattered.

Now sometimes we go into the battle and expect that one fight to be the end of it. No dear reader, you may have to defend your spouse against the enemy several times while they are healing from the battle that was waged inside their heart. Patience will go along way. Cling to God and teach they to cling to him as well, but do not leave them on that battle field.

Step 4: Forgiveness

So why would I use a battle that God won for Judah and Jerusalem as an illustration on fighting with your spouse? Simply because God went before them and fought the battle by causing the enemy to attack itself. You can bring your spouse all the way to alter but only Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit can bring them to heartfelt conviction. It may take a hundred times of leading them to that place for them to make that decision, and as painful as it may seem you can not make them repent on your own will. What you can do it offer them forgiveness in the meantime. If you did wrong at one point in your marriage then ask them for forgiveness and be the example. If they keep stumbling then forgive them and show them the gift of salvation that lives in you. You can not have sincere prayer on their behalf if you are unwilling to forgive them yourself.

Marriage isn’t easy by any means but it can be such a powerful tool for God to further His kingdom. When one of you falls you both suffer, and if the enemy can cause that union to self-destruct he will do everything he can. Hopefully this will shed some light on how to fight the enemy in your love, while guiding their heart thru the battlefield. If you are going thru a spiritual battle for your marriage I pray God give you the strength to stand firm in his promises.

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