I am always cautious about the topics I blog on. More times than not, God uses my blog topics to prick my own heart. He uses my own words to remind me of my own shortcomings. Rest assured whatever lesson I am sharing is one that I am learning right along with you.
Let me give you two recent examples … On the heels of posting my blog on “Choose Joy” I had one of the most “joy-less” weeks I have experienced in a while. When I posted “Steady the Plate” I was daily faced with people who I know God placed in my path for me to steady their plate. So when I chose to write this week’s blog on spiritual warfare, I became more than a little antsy.
Over the past few months, our family has been in the midst of a spiritual war. We have been under a full-out attack by Satan. There have been many very difficult days. As a result I have spent quite a bit of time researching what the Bible says on this topic. I want to share a few of my findings in hopes that you are encouraged when you face (and you will) similar times in your own life.
Paul has the most to say on the topic of spiritual warfare. I find that interesting because he has lived on both sides. He was the persecutor (Saul) and the one being persecuted. I’m guessing he had an intimate knowledge of the topic. In Romans, Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves and to wage war against the evil one.
In Ephesians 6, he writes, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We can only be strong through God. And it is only through a relationship with Jesus Christ that Christians have any authority over Satan and his demons. It is only in His Name that our rebuke has any power.
The Apostle Paul tells us to put on our spiritual armor because our battle in this world is a “spiritual” one. We are at war against the trickery and power of the devil. Even though human beings will certainly play a role in line with the schemes of the devil, they are being used by these entities for the purposes of accomplishing evil. Evil spirits are the true power behind those who oppose the things of God (knowingly or unknowingly).
God provides us with armor. Ephesians 6:13-18 describes this armor: “We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit.”
What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare?
We are to speak the truth against Satan’s lies. People are going to blatantly spread lies about us. The Bible says we must stand firm.
We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we receive. We cannot back down when it appears that the world is against us. We must persevere. I think of Paul’s words as he writes to the church of Corinth in 2 Cor 4:8, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.”
We are not to waver in our faith, no matter how strongly we are attacked. Right is right even when it is unpopular and we are standing alone. Sometimes the majority means that all the idiots are on one side. (that’s not a quote from the Bible. I came up with that one on my own!)
Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation. No one and nothing can take that away. We are sealed unto the day of our redemption (Eph 4:30). I’m sure my Free Will Baptist friends will be sending me emails on that statement. Sorry, but it is true. Salvation is eternal. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. We are to follow Jesus’ example in recognizing that some spiritual victories are only possible through prayer. I sent an email to a few close friends this week asking for them to pray on our behalf. As I read through these scriptures and began to allow those truths to wash over my spirit, I became encouraged. A dear friend sent this excerpt from her daily devotional, “Hardships are part of the journey, too. I (God) mete them out ever so carefully, in just the right dosage, with a tenderness you can hardly imagine. Do not recoil from my afflictions, since they are among my most favored gifts. Trust Me and don’t be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song.”
I LOVE THAT! God has used those words to encourage me. These hard times are “among his most favored gifts.” Wow. I know we are not alone in our struggle. If you’re a Christian trying to live for Jesus and share the gospel, then you, too, are a target. I write these words not only as an encouragement and reminder for me, but for all who share in this struggle. Stand Firm in Jesus Christ.