I wanted to share a past Facebook post written by a good friend, Jennifer Otto. In the last several years, Jennifer, her husband Travis, and their family have been “under attack.” These attacks come in all forms – from illnesses, to the death of a loved one, and even fire damage to their home.
They are by no means the only ones to go through tough times. There’s lots of hurt and pain in this world. The difference? How they handle it and who they turn to. They fill the gaps and keep both each other and others strong so the enemy has a harder time penetrating their spiritual armor and walls of defense. What you will read below is indicative to not only who they are, but who they are becoming. This was a Facebook post from Jennifer in its entirety (photos added):
Considering where I work, this was a great illustration for me this morning!! Love the Ladies that I can call upon at any moment to “stand in the gap”
The word “intercede” comes from the Latin “inter” meaning “between” and “ced” meaning “go”. So it literally means “go between”.
Think of a brick wall, in particular, the mortar in the joints between the bricks. That mortar “goes between”, or “intercedes”, between the bricks to bind them together and strengthen them. Without the mortar “going between” the bricks, the wall would collapse.
If you want to break down that wall, the easiest way is to start where there are gaps in the mortar. You start chopping and chipping at those sections and soon the entire wall will lack the support it needs and will give way.
That’s just what the enemy of our souls does. He and his cohorts look for those weaknesses in us — places where there are gaps or chinks in our personalities or spiritual armor. Even if we are not consciously aware of those areas, our enemies are! They have spent years watching us, studying us — looking for those things that cause offense in us, or where we’ve compromised truth for self-advancement or exaltation. They know where the pride, contentious and resentful triggers are, or where we’re vulnerable to a religious spirit or divisive spirit. And they know which people, incidents, and conditions are most likely to have the greatest impact and cause us to lose our spiritual balance.
They don’t target the areas where we’re strong; that would be spiritual suicide for them. They target our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our besetting sins [our friends & family members may not know about them, but the spiritual forces in the heavenly places do!]. They look for old, recently-healed, or not-yet-healed emotional wounds, or habits about which we feel some shame or guilt [like smoking, gluttony, too much TV, too much internet or social networking, etc.], or those matters we’ve confessed to others as being weaknesses or problems in our lives.
So, when we intercede for one another, our chief purpose is to fill in those gaps in one another’s spiritual armor and hold up that person so the enemy can’t gain an advantage over them. Likewise, when we fail to intercede for one another, we’re virtually giving the key to that person’s spiritual house to his/her enemies for them to wreak havoc, to steal that person’s peace or joy or health or even their financial security.
Just as we wouldn’t build a brick wall and intentionally leave gaping holes in the cement joints, I would go so far as to say it’s malicious for us to not “go between” / “stand in the gap” for our brothers, sisters, and our religious and political leaders. Jesus said, “By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.” [John 13:35]
How can we say we love one another and not pray for each other?! It’s impossible! It’s a contradiction and a lie!
From having Travis and Jennifer as members of a past LifeGroup and knowing their family for over seven years, they are gap-fillers. There have been times when they have needed others to patch their walls, and other times when they have shown up with mortar and trowels. This is what community through Christ looks like. It is helping others and interceding when the gaps are being chipped away. We could all do a better job of having mortar and trowels on hand to patch up and reinforce our lives.