“Consider it a great joy, my brothers whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3 (HCSB)

One night, not too long ago, I had a series of dreams that started with me training with a chain. I am talking, swinging a big thick chain around as a weapon! Then I heard the Lord say, “Train with the chain!” As I sat with the Lord about this I sensed Him say that this is a season where we must learn to take what used to be our shackles and use them as weapons against the enemy. I feel the Lord is calling us to a deeper level of spiritual warfare!!!

The very areas where the enemy used to keep us bound up are now to become the very tools we use to help set others free. Every place where the enemy had brought pain, shame and brokenness is now to be turned into a weapon, used with great authority and confidence. Understand this, you have authority in areas where you have triumphed over. The pain you carried in the past is the key to help others in the present.

The Apostle Paul told us to comfort others with the comfort we received (2 Corinthians 1:4). We can do that because we know how it feels. And we know how to walk into freedom from it! This is allowing God to take what the enemy meant for evil against us and turning it into good (Genesis 50:20). When we start doing this we can begin to approach testings, challenges and trials from a whole different perspective. When the enemy throws something at us, we can praise the Lord because, by faith we know the Lord will somehow use it for our growth, and against our enemy! James says to approach trials with great joy because through it we can be better. Of course, we can also choose to be bitter, instead of better. Trials will cause our endurance to increase, if we let the Lord do that in us. And they will lead us to greater maturity. Or as James said, lacking in nothing (James 1:4).

Having said all that, we must learn how to take these shackles that were on our ankles and turn them into chains in our hands. Hardship doesn’t naturally result in being better off. Many do not end up better, just bitter. It requires us to be intentional, to allow the Lord to bring healing, and releasing forgiveness and freedom in us.

Ask the Lord to begin training you to wield the chains of your past! Ask Him to reveal any places of bitterness, pain, unforgiveness or shame that remains. Ask Him to take everything the enemy has used against you and make it all a weapon you can use against Him. Ask the Lord to use your journey to help minister to and train others. Ask Him for the grace to approach trials completely different than you used to. May the Lord release praise on your lips and a double-edged sword in your hand (Psalm 149:6) as you joyfully embrace the trials in your life.