Jesus says in John 16:33, ” In this world, you will have trouble (evil and suffering). But take heart, I have overcome the world!” Notice it doesn’t say if, or maybe, but you WILL have trouble. It will come your way, no doubt. Just wait.
Thank the Lord that He is the ultimate Victor and that we are on His side!
In the last few posts I have been discussing on how to prepare for the fight against “trouble”, and what goes on in our hearts on a daily basis.
When it comes to moral evil, we’ve got our old nature, the flesh, and Satan to contend with. To be a focused follower of Christ, we need to see the realness of the spiritual realm of darkness and the warfare out there. Sometimes we get numb to the fact that there are angels (we will be discussing angels in future blogs) and demons around us. The busyness of day to day living can do that to us, don’t you think? Wake up, folks!
If you haven’t read the 1986 Frank Peretti book, “This Present Darkness”, I would encourage you to. What a realistic glimpse of the battle between good and evil spiritual beings in regard to our day to day activity. Believe me, it’s not science fiction. You won’t be able to put it down. Satan’s got his demons to do his dirty work.
In the Old Testament, we see the spiritual realm of Satan’s movements when we look at Daniel 10:12-14, 20. An angel gets delayed for 3 weeks from coming to help Daniel because the angelic being was detained by an underling (the prince of Persia) of Satan. Finally, Michael, one of the chief princes on the good side, came to the aid of the angel.
In Ephesians 6, Paul gives to us practical guidelines for us as we battle against the spiritual forces of evil so that we can “stand our ground”. (Ephesians 6:13)
We must understand who and what we are fighting. We can win and keep our ground. We must know our foe. We must be properly protected (Ephesians 6:10-12)
On December 8th, 2004, a single question from a young soldier touched off a U.S. media firestorm. The U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had come to deliver a pep talk to the troops in Kuwait. But the usually unflappable Secretary found himself blindsided by a bold query. As news cameras rolled, Army Specialist Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team asked Rumsfeld, “Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?” Specialist Wilson clearly felt vulnerable, as if he were being sent into battle without proper protection. Not good.
As Christians, however, we certainly shouldn’t have that fear. Our Supreme Commander generously equips us with 1) the belt of truth (Eph. 6:14– we must stand on the absolute truth of the Word), 2) the breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6:14– all sin should be confessed and we must always look to Jesus who is our righteousness), 3) the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15– we must develop an eagerness to share the Gospel; and we receive a peace from God that goes beyond any human understanding), 4) the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16– we want to have a life of “ruthless trust” in God’s Word), 5) the helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:17– we must have utter confidence in the sufficiency of Christ for our hope of salvation), and 6) the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17– we should know Scripture verses that apply to specific situations) . We desire to learn to meditate on God’s word and memorize key verses for our lives.
But it’s up to us, is it not, to put these pieces of armor on and put them to use.
Though some of you may feel a little uncomfortable with the battle armor analogy that Paul uses, you have to remember how visible Roman soldiers were in society at that time in history. Quite frankly, I think Paul is also emphasizing the seriousness of spiritual conflict in the lives of believers.
Little doubt the Armor of God summary verse of Ephesians 6 is verse 18: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers…..” Did you catch that? As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18-“Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
A prayerful attitude breeds humility and complete dependence on God. What a great goal as we strive to live the life God desires us to. Thankfulness to God trumps pride any day.
Next week: Prayer Directives From The Word