I have tried to imagine the adrenaline rush that over 100,000 settlers felt when the cannon sounded and they plunged forward into history. On September 16, 1893, the Cherokee Strip Land Run brought myriads of men and women to northern Oklahoma to claim land that had belonged to the Indians.[i] An estimated six thousand settlers lined up side by side at the front of the massive crowd, and anxiously awaited the signal of the cannon.[ii] With the blast and subsequent rifle shots, wagons, bicycles, and people on horseback, train, or foot raced to claim a plot of land. The movie Far and Away has been made about this moment.
In the movie, when settlers came to a plot of land to claim it, they were supposed to take out the government’s white flag that stood on the plot, and replace it with their own. Whoever’s flag stood there, the land was his.
It matters whose flag is flying over the “land” of our lives. Many spiritual enemies try to claim our hearts as their plots of ground to “settle” and fester, enemies like fear, doubt, anger, or selfishness. They try to influence us and our way of thinking, feeling, and acting. But if we are believers in Christ, the only Person who has the right to influence us and direct our lives is God Himself. He has made His home in our hearts (John 14:23), so there is no reason why we should let a spiritual enemy or anyone else stake a claim there. We don’t have to give in to the voice of discouragement or cower to the monster of fear. We belong to God, and His grace, peace, and strength belong to us.
So how we do refuse to let fear and similar enemies—especially our greatest enemy, Satan—have any influence in our lives? Nehemiah knew how.
Not everyone wanted to see Jerusalem secure and strong. When Nehemiah returned home to lead the people to rebuild its walls, certain enemies taunted them and tried to hinder the work. They concocted a lie that the Jews were rebuilding in order to rebel against the Persian king. But Nehemiah answered the enemy’s taunts and lies with the truth:
“The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no right or heritage or memorial in Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:20, NKJV).
When a spiritual enemy tries to invade your life and hinder the work that God is doing in you and through you, stop its momentum by remembering the truth.
Remember who God is. The “God of heaven Himself” (Neh 2:20) is the One who loves you, cherishes you, and sustains you. In the trials of life, He will give you the grace to endure and a strategy for victory if you look to Him. Remember who you belong to, and rest in His arms.
Remember who you are. Even though Nehemiah was made the governor of Judah, he saw himself as God’s servant. He boldly declared, “We His servants will arise and build” (v.20). See yourself as God’s servant, and stay under His protection and blessing. You serve the greatest Warrior and Champion of all.
Remember your reality in Christ. Because God resides in the heart of the believer, Satan can never make his home there. But he will do everything he can to make us miserable. Don’t allow Satan any “right or heritage or memorial” in your life (v.20)—that is, remember that Satan has no authority to influence you or stop the work you do for God. Disarm his lies with the truth—the God of heaven will prosper you, and Satan has no rightful place to demand his way in your life.
Each of us has a special place in God’s kingdom. A place to build. To love and be loved. We can help others to become sound and strong, as God restores our own spiritual and emotional wholeness. Let’s guard the flag of Christ in our hearts, and not allow the enemy to hinder what God wants to do in our lives. Stand your ground!
Katy Kauffman is a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies and the designer of Broken but Priceless: The Magazine. Her heart’s desire is that people know and love God, understand the richness of His Word, and fulfill His plan for their lives. She writes about the daily spiritual battles of life and how to win the victory. Katy makes her home near Atlanta, Georgia.
Connect with Katy:
Blog: Life With God at http://lighthousebiblestudies.com/katy-kauffman-blog
© Copyright 2015 by Katy Kauffman
 “Oklahoma Journeys: Cherokee Strip Land Run,” Oklahoma Historical Society, accessed June 11, 2015, http://www.okhistory.org/about/transcript.php?episodedate=2009-09-19.
 “The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893,” eyewitnesstohistory.com, accessed June 11, 2015, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/landrush.htm.