How is your day going?
Welcome back to yet another episode in my life.
How are you finding the month of August?
Me? I love the month of August, it is my birthday month! In fact, today is my birthday!
Fun fact: today marks exactly one year since I wrote down my first blog post for this blog. I only sent it to one person at that time (this is the person I had promised that I would have written my first blog post by my birthday last year and they held me accountable to that promise until I wrote it on my birthday haha). I publicly announced the existence of the blog much later in February 2022 though so I guess the blog has two birthdays haha.
Anyway, let us get to the business of the day, shall we?
When we got to the village, I did promise that I would take my time showing you around the place I grew up and the events that took place there, from my perspective. So yes, we are still in the village.
When I went to the village, I stayed a full school term without going to school, which was the last term of the year, 2002. However, when the new year began, 2003, I enrolled as a third grader at our local school, Kuedza Primary School. Initially, I was somewhat ‘special’ because I was coming from the city. The assumption was that I had had some form of exposure to a better standard of life and for that reason, I was quite…unique. This sometimes had this particular classmate of mine volunteering to be beaten in my stead when I was due for a beating from the class teacher. I hear now that the beating of students is a rare occurrence, an illegal occurrence at that, but back then it was quite a normal part of school life. Fun times I tell you.
I wish my fickle fame had lasted long enough but it did not take long until the other children, teachers and everyone else pretty much picked that there was something ”wrong” with me. I was skinny, very skinny and apparently, this was quite unacceptable. Other children began to let me know that I was that way and that it was abnormal. This was obviously done in a vile way, an intentionally hurtful way.
Prior to this point, no one had ever commented on my body type so you can imagine how much of a shock it was to me to hear this and hear it in the vilest way known to me. I remember how I instantly missed my late aunt, I gained a new respect for her as my parent and how she had shielded me from such harsh environments and enabled me to grow up confident believing myself to be just as normal as any other child my age. This is primarily because at this point I did feel quite alone and defenseless. Afterall, teachers and even family members back home began to reiterate and cement this new reality that I was just too skinny and that it was a concern.
I remember vividly how during one school day, a teacher in another class chose to ask the students to nominate the skinniest child in school (and probably the fattest), and yes, the children picked me as the skinniest. After school when I was having a merry afternoon, the children from that class could not wait to deliver the news to me. I felt violated by that teacher, I expected better from him as an adult and I knew there was no one I could tell about all of this. From the little I told you the other time about my late aunt, you know this would have ended in tears on the teacher’s part, right? Definitely! She was gone now though and was not coming back.
I can assure you there is no feeling worse than feeling alone as a child. That is exactly how the devil wanted me to feel and to view myself. I truly HATE talking about the devil, it’s one of the things that agitate me the most. Regardless, he is quite a topic we cannot completely sideline as children of God because we might find that we get to deal with this guy, or his manifestations more than we would prefer to.
You see, this devil is not as disorganized as most people believe him to be, he is a real enemy with a real set of strategies against every person on earth. I cringe at how people are comfortable with nonchalantly living their lives without engaging actively in resisting the devil from their lives. It is not even enough to just acknowledge the devil as your enemy, you have to develop a hatred for him and his manifestations in your life.
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)
11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
The Passion Translation puts it this way;
11…so that we would not be exploited by the adversary, satan, for we know his clever schemes.
The devil uses ‘schemes’, and by definition, a scheme is a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining a particular object or putting a particular idea into effect.
I was just a young fragile child coming to terms with so much loss and so much change all at once. My confidence, self-worth, and identity were hanging by a thread already as it was. You can only imagine how adding on ridicule over something I could not change impacted my view of God, my view of myself, and my view of the people around me. Schemes! Unfortunately, we tend to react to negative circumstances as Job did, he turned around and blamed God and up until you fully understand the character and nature of God you will too. I was no different, I concluded that God must have had some form of vendetta against me and stopped trusting him. I concluded that everyone around me didn’t like me that much and that I wasn’t worthy after all. Schemes!
You see, the devil stops at nothing to completely wipe you out at his earliest convenience. Job’s story is such an eye-opener to the extent to which the devil is willing to go to kill, steal and destroy any and every child of God. At the slightest chance he got, he completely crushed Job, completely, within a day. He only stopped at the parameters God put in place. He is still the same devil to date, he still stops at nothing in his quest against us, the slightest chance he gets.
The biggest battle the devil launches against us is the battle of our identity. If he can get you in a place where you are unsure about yourself, where you have self-defeating beliefs, where you feel alienated from God, you feel helpless, you are reacting and exhibiting all forms of unbecoming behavior, making poor decisions, the happier and more successful he would be. Schemes!
You know, it is heartbreaking how elaborate these plans are and that they start very early and most of us do not realize it until much later on, if ever. We spend so much of our time fighting people, reacting to abnormal situations that don’t seem like they are coming from anywhere else but just the surface yet it is the devil operating behind these occurrences. Schemes!
Ephesians 6:12 puts it this way:
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places are all the devil and his agents and structures put it place to resist you in every possible way. Schemes! The devil breathes to just be against you and he is willing to use whichever wicked weapon at his disposal. For me, him successfully causing the premature death of my parents was his first and biggest blow. It did affect me in more ways than one. I could see other children my age run to their parents at the slightest inconvenience and yet I couldn’t do the same, I had to just be strong and keep it moving. He did not stop there, and quite frankly, he doesn’t stop.
This new type of verbal abuse was not ineffective either. I developed a self-defense mechanism of threatening to beat anyone who teased my body. I became relatively moody, relatively bitter. I was consistently snapping at my grandmother and just consistently trying to run away from myself. I was 10 at most, okay. He started planting seeds at 10, in fact, earlier than that. The point of this blog post is not to have a pitty party. Trust me, I would not be writing a blog post on this exciting day of my life just to have a pity party. The point is to show you that you have a real enemy who is really actively resisting you as we speak and that if you are not taking your relationship with Christ seriously, (who is your only reliable victory source against this enemy) then you have no idea how much he has stolen from you already. Please, please, I beg of you, take your relationship with Christ very, very seriously. That is the only way you can withstand the schemes!
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Funny enough, I was going around threatening to beat people that I had no capacity to beat and somehow that seemed to work. Because no one had ever seen me fight anyone before and get defeated, they just assumed that perhaps I could actually beat them. This ensured that whoever I intimidated would be scared of me although they had the capacity to beat me to a pulp! This right there is exactly how the devil operates! He intimidates you enough into believing the illusions he puts in front of you and you start living in fear and defeat, yet in Christ, you actually do have the ability to defeat him and thwart all his plans over your life. Schemes!
As I end this blog, I would love to assure you that the wickedness you see in your life is not God doing His will in your life. That is just the biggest scheme of the devil yet! If God was to actually be against you even for one second, you do not want to imagine just how terribly long that second would feel and how you wouldn’t be able to survive beyond that second. God is for you, not against you, never against you! The devil though, the devil is definitely against you. Rise up and resist him from your life, not passively too, aggressively because he is not playing nice against you, trust me. This is not to glorify the devil or make him to be this big guy that he is not. Oh, no no. He is powerful yes, but not as powerful as God who is on your side, (oh please, there is a vast, vast, vast gap between God’s power and the devil’s power) and yes, by virtue of being in Christ, the devil is not as powerful as you either as long as you put on the whole armour you are supposed to put on and stay consistently hidden in Christ.
Romans 8:31 (TPT)
So, what does all this mean? If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who then could ever stand against us?
Romans 8:38 (TPT)
So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love.
Shalom, my friend…let’s get to work, and by work I mean the work of resisting the devil, of course.