As a follower of Christ I am very aware of sin and the effects of it. I experience it each and every day in real and intense ways. As a Youth Pastor I feel as if I am in a constant battle where my enemy is trying to deceive, destroy, depress, demean, debunk, and demote.
Sin is not now…. It’s been around since the F
And I am not talking about the season – I’m talking about Genesis 3 Fall where sin entered in. Ever since there has been this cosmic, physical & spiritual battle going on for the hearts of mankind. Every day that you wake up there are choices, moments, and interactions that are pulling you either toward God or away from God. Ephesians 6 tells us:
“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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood – but of the rulers, authorities, and powers of the dark world and spiritual forces of evil.
I’m not a religious fanatic and I don’t tend to spiritualize everything or even feel the need to take what is “secular” and baptize it – for a fun video illustrating the “SHOOT CHRISTIANS SAY” that usually drives me nuts.
But, I can honestly say that the more I wrestle with sin and experience the opposition that is present in our world – I am convinced that the Devil and his demons are scheming more than ever to end this “christianity” thing once and for all. Whether it be the Beheadings and Murders of Christians in the Middle East, ISIS and the Islamic State, Sex Trafficking, Rise of Suicide, Muslim Student Association on campus, Sin City, Satanist Groups in Oklahoma, or Religious Freedoms being stripped away in Arkansas – the ENEMY IS HERE.
We have to FIGHT – we have to be able to defend and battle well against the devil and the darkness. So how do we do that?
1) KNOW YOUR ENEMY
The first thing we need to realize is that our enemy is deceptive, cunning, evil, is like roaring lion waiting to devour you, walks around earth as he pleases, he lies, he steals, and cheats, and he is a MASTER OF DISGUISE….
NOT THAT MASTER OF DISGUISE
but, honestly – we must know that satan disguises himself well in our every day lives. Whether it is chocolate cake, that attractive person of the opposite sex, the temptation of being lazy, or the opportunity to tells some juicy gossip. He disguises himself in something that seems good at the time, but ultimately leads to distraction. (Scripture references on Satan – 1 Peter 5:8, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14, John 10:10, 1 John 5:19, Acts 10:13, Revelation 12:9, Job 1:7, Matthew 4:1-3)
Satan also has no boundaries. He will come at you whenever, with whatever and however he can. He will make you choose between your friends, kids, spouses, or other opportunities. He will ask of a lot of you. He will make you commit social suicide. He will distract you in Church (especially) or in the worst possible moments. HE WANTS TO DEVOUR YOU (1 Peter 5:8). He doesn’t even care that it’s you. He went after the Son of God, Jesus Christ for crying out loud (Matthew 4:1-11)
2) KNOW YOUR WEAKNESS
Know your weaknesses – because Satan does and he will NOT hesitate to exploit them. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12 that:
“I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”
You better believe that Satan exploited that thorn in his flesh and poked it, twisted the thorn, pushed it deeper and deeper into Paul’s skin to distract him from the mission that God has set him on. He will not hesitate to “SWEEP THE LEG” and go all Karate Kid on your tail. Know where you fall short and where you usually stumble. Whether it be insecurity or lust or drugs or gluttony or laziness or covetousness or jealousy or the list goes on and on. KNOW YOUR WEAKNESS so that you can protect against the schemes of the devil.
3) KNOW YOUR STRATEGY
Your strategy is a simple but hard one. Don’t try to do it on your own. Fight by the Spirit. Spiritual Warfare necessitates War by the Spirit. You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight – or even worst a nerf gun to a real gun fight. We have to realize that we have this Spirit living inside of us that is powerful and that has already claimed VICTORY over us. This Spirit has the same power that could just speak the earth into existence and that could bring back Jesus from the dead. This Spirit is alive and is moving and connects us to God the Father and allows us to fellowship with the Son, Jesus Christ.
Our Strategy is God. Our Mighty Warrior, Savior, Defender of the Weak, All Knowing, All Powerful, God.
Ephesians 6 encourages us to go enter in the FIGHT agains the devil and darkness – not alone, but with the FULL ARMOR OF GOD – “the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Romans 8 says that “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
James 4 says “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”
Over and Over again – we see that we are not in this battle alone. We have a God who fights for us. Do we still have to defend? Yes. Do we still have to battle well? Yes. But, we also need to tap into the power of Jesus. We need to arm ourselves with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the WORD OF GOD that will remind us of who we are and Who we serve!
FIGHT WELL MY FRIENDS….
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”