Spiritual Battles by Dale McCamish
Over the last couple of weeks, I have experienced spiritual attacks. Spiritual attacks on my relationships, on my family, and on myself. Of course, consequences of my own sin (which stem from my own evil desires—James 1:13-15) often look like spiritual attacks. But I have recently felt stronger temptations to sin, greater feelings of loneliness/depression, and a deeper desire for isolation. I even ran and hid when I saw a friend approaching the other day because I didn’t want to talk to anyone (that can’t be healthy) …. I’d like to share with you one of the ways God has given me to fight off these feelings and temptations and spiritual attacks. And if you have experienced temptation or depression recently, maybe these actions will work for you, too.
I fought the most recent spiritual battle of depression and temptation with worship. Specifically, the worship tool of singing.
A lot of times we wrongfully equate worship with singing. But while the converse is true: singing is worship—worship does not equal singing. Worship is so much broader and more widely encompassing than just singing. Worship includes prayer, spiritual sacrifice, obedience, giving, and praise. But I specifically used the songs and praise of my lips (Hebrews 13:15) to worship God when I experienced these most recent “dark moments” of my soul. The worship I gave to God with my singing altered my emotions, strengthened my resolve, and relieved my despair.
Worshiping God in song, somehow allows me to feel God’s presence in a different way than other forms of worship. One teacher recently pointed out to me Psalm 22:3 in a way I have never thought about it before: “Yet You are holy [Oh Lord], enthroned on the praises of Israel.” That verse became “radioactive” to my soul. It didn’t take much of an imagination to picture God, as I sang praise to Him, taking my song and building a throne out of it, and then sitting down in front of me to enjoy my praise. The picture of God listening and enjoying my praise fastened itself in my mind and encouraged my heart, but the Bible says that the imagine I pictured in my mind is actually spiritually true.
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than [a sacrifice].” Psalm 69:30-31
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
“Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you….” 2 Chronicles 15:2
“So tell the people that this is what the Lord of Hosts says: ‘Return to Me, declares the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you….” Zechariah 1:3
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
God showered me with the mercy and grace I needed in the dark moments I experienced. As I worshiped God with the praise of my lips—singing out loud—He showed up and healed me of my temptation. Just a side note: Temptation dissipates in the presence of God; and it is much more difficult to desire sin while God is watching. As I worshiped God with my praise, He showed up and lifted my bitterness, loneliness, and depression and replaced those feelings with joy. Just a side note: When God arrives to listen to you sing He brings His joy with Him and then places it with you.
I hope these thoughts make room for your own worship and I hope you have a song ready on your lips to sing Him praise so that He may come near and comfort you. Jacob Blouse recently asked in a Facebook survey to list your favorite songs of praise. I used these songs for my praise: “The Doxology,” “Alabaster” by Rend Collective, “The Deer’s Cry,” by Lisa Kelly, and “Lord, I Need You,” by Matt Maher. Let me know how the practice of praise and the imagination of God siting to listen to you sing encouraged your heart. Tell me your story in the comments below.