Surround Yourself

Nicole D. Hayes Head shot

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain 

I will be the first to tell you that your faith in Christ will be challenged. I will be the first to encourage and implore you to surround yourself with trusted prayer partners who will lift you in prayer in your times of spiritual battle, the trials of life and spiritual conquest. Taking territory from the enemy (spiritual conquest), sharing the Gospel to advance God’s Kingdom, interceding in prayer for others or situations and living as salt and light in an immoral climate—every one of these interactions—changes lives, shifts atmospheres, bears witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and bears out eternal fruit, praise God. It also makes the enemy take notice of you. Yes, there is a cost to living out authentic faith. But don’t stop, don’t shrink back. Keep advancing. Persevere. As James 1:2-4 says, 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (New International Version)

Do not isolate during these times of spiritual battle and oppression as I have done sometimes not wanting to interrupt or upend someone else’s day by reaching out to them. Reach out to them. The body of Christ is precious and what great strength we receive, together. As Jesus reminds us in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (New International Version) Satan knows this is true and would rather only spar with one Believer versus several of us at one time! Truly, there is great strength in numbers.

Surround yourself with those who love you and will not coddle you—those who understand that engaging with our enemy may manifest as attacks against your health, your relationships (divisiveness, strife, jealousy, accusations, etc.), your resources, your peace, your faith, or your joy. They will pray for you to continue knowing that God is with you. That the weapon may form but it will not prosper (Isaiah 54:17). They will encourage you to persevere in your calling, knowing that none of us in Christ Jesus are strangers to this, and this too shall pass. They will remind you to call out God’s truth–often–and to immediately reject the enemy’s lies.

Surround yourself with those who are doctrinally sound but are not necessarily shaped of your same tribe (meaning they don’t talk like you, look like you, think like you, etc.) As I said the body of Christ is precious, rich in giftings and talents that are extremely glorious and beautiful as we bring together those diversities collectively to advance God’s purposes.

I am grateful for my dear brothers and sisters in Christ. I am grateful for my prayer partners who I’ve sought for prayer more times than I can count. They have helped me to rally back, go through and overcome. I love how in addition to Christ being our refuge and strongtower, we can serve as a refuge to one another. We all come out more strengthened for our ‘next’! I love the body of Christ!

With 2019 soon in the rearview mirror and 2020 ahead, I am excited by what God is doing through His People. Saints, it is our time to be intrepid — not tepid. We can’t back down. As the body of Christ united, we are the tip of the spear, guided by His Hand. God is raising up a standard among His People to boldly confront and foil Satan’s plans as we pray and labor to transform hearts and cities. God has positioned us right here and now to be light in darkness. Praise God!

And don’t be discouraged: while it may seem like things are falling apart, they are also coming together. We ask God to to tear down, shake, and disturb those things in which our world has placed a false peace so they would surrender all to trust Him. The instability is necessary as we rest in Who holds all things together (Colossians 1:15-18).

And at times you will have to “encourage yourself” as the song says. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Stay Staunch,

Nicole

P.S.- If you missed some of what I’ve been blessed to do recently through the Lord’s equipping, I invite you to read my ChristianPost.com op-ed in response to D.C. Councilmembers who proposed a bill to decriminalize prostitution in our nation’s capital (that bill fortunately will not pass this year, praise God!). I also interviewed with CBN’s The 700 Club last month which has been seen worldwide via television and online platforms. All glory to God! All of this again, made possible with the help of others’ prayers. So grateful.

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