Are you ready for war?
There is a war going on, a spiritual war, and the Enemy will use all kinds of sneaky tricks to cause you to fail in your Christian life.
Let me tell you a personal story of something that happened to my husband and I just last night. We were in our pick-up truck driving to a juvenile prison facility to teach our weekly one-hour bible study lesson. We were going to be teaching a powerful lesson on the danger of taking God's mercy and forgiveness for granted. Well, as we were stopped waiting for the red light to change, out of nowhere a car comes barreling in our direction. Some guy in a Porsche had made a left turn way too fast, lost control, and is now screeching in our direction about to T-bone us. There was nowhere for us to move to avoid the impact, and our truck was hit.
But the story didn't end there. After this guy hits us, he backs up and starts fleeing from the scene. My husband gives chase, and now we are chasing some lunatic Starsky and Hutch style down residential neighborhoods. We were able to get the guy's license plate number and eventually gave up trying to catch him, as it was evident that this was becoming an increasingly dangerous endeavor.
Now, all the while that we are chasing this guy, I kept thinking, "This is another trick of the Enemy. Satan does not want us to teach this lesson tonight, and this evil, reckless driver was just used as a tool to accomplish that end." For, you see, this is not the first time that we have encountered resistance of one form or another on the very night we were striving to do the Lord's work. There have been many other times where the devil tried to hinder us. Sometimes he has even succeeded, but not this time. Praise God that even with all of these fiery darts being thrown our way, we still made it to the lesson on time, and we were able to share God's Word with those young men at that facility!
And as I pondered these things over night, it was laid on my heart to write about our experience and to warn others that they need to be ready for anything the Enemy throws their way. Friends, there truly is a war going on! Are you armed and ready for the battle? Let's look at some of the Enemy's tricks and see what God's Word says we must do to prevail against the devil.
Ephesians 6:10-13, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Have you got on the WHOLE armor of God? Have you done everything you can think of to make sure that you are aware and ready for whatever the Enemy sends your way?
First, what is the whole armor? Ephesians 6:14-18 tells us this, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."
Have you cast off all traces of untruth and unrighteousness from your life? Have you made it a point to read your bible faithfully, ever growing in the knowledge of the Lord, always ready to share with others the gospel? Is your faith in the Lord deep and sure, knowing that He is in control and able to lead you forward in all matters? Is your assurance of salvation such that you are truly just a pilgrim passing through and you know that when you die you WILL go to heaven? Have you kept your sword sharp and ready, not relying on some other man's knowledge of the Word, but able to discern Scriptures for yourself? And is prayer a consistent part of your daily walk?
We truly need the whole armor of God to be successful in the war that is raging!
Romans 13:12-14, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
The second important thing we must do to be successful in this battle is this: Have you done everything you can think of to make sure that you are able to stand against whatever the Enemy sends your way? This includes not only arming your mind and body for battle, but also making sure that your camp (your home) is clean. The bible tells us in Deuteronomy 23:14, "...For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee."
Are there things that you or your children have in your possession or in your home that you know would be displeasing to the Lord? Certain movies, music, posters, video games, magazines, books, clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, artifacts, charms? If Jesus came through your front door right now and did a "tent inspection," is there anything that he would find that would bring shame to you because you know that He would disapprove because that thing is worldly, explicit, profane, or from some heathenish culture? And, please, don't rationalize it away by saying, "But that's not what it means to me" or "my son/daughter is just going through a phase." Remember, we are warring against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. So how can you say that you are battling against evil if you are personally allowing it to reside in your own home? Those things that you allow into your home and take lightly will become snares to you and your family's Christian growth and welfare. God does not want us to welcome them into our tent. He wants us to destroy them. Deuteronomy 7:25, "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God." 1 Peter 2:11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul..."
This is a matter of grave importance. Joshua 7:11-26 tells what happened to Achan, his family, and the Israelites because of the stuff that Achan had in his tent. First, Achan hindered the Israelites from being successful at war. Then eventually he and his whole family had to pay the ultimate price with their lives because Achan had taken of an accursed thing, stolen it, and put it even among their own stuff. Here is some of the bible account:
[God's warning] "Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for this saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you." (Joshua 7:13)
[The punishment Achan and his family would face] "And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel." (Joshua 7:15)
[Achan's mistake] "When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it." (Joshua 7:21)
Friends, we are living in some dark days. We need to decide which side we are on and live accordingly. The Lord wants to build us up, use us, and protect us, but we have to give him every area of our lives. We cannot give up any ground to the Enemy. No, you probably won't be burned alive like Achan and his family, but you and your family WILL suffer if you allow just any old worldly things into your home.
So, in conclusion, I hope that you now see more clearly the battle that is at hand. The good news is that even with all of the things that are working against us, the Lord gives us the power to overcome them. Jesus' shed blood made a way for us to be victorious against all sinfulness and against anything the Enemy would try to do to us. Here are some verses of encouragement for those of you striving to be soldiers for the Lord:
Psalm 18:39, "For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me."
Psalm 138:7, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me."
1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
Psalm 91:3, "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence."
Jeremiah 1:19, "And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 17, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Revelation 1:18, "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."