Winning the Battle Against the Enemy

Engaging in warfare against the enemy.
“The devil made me do it.” It’s a tale as old as time (see Genesis 3:13). When bad things happen, we quickly blame the devil. We use him as a scapegoat, but in actuality, the bad things are from him. He is in constant battle against God for our souls. Not because he cares for us so much (or at all really) but because he hates God that much. When you have those moments—those days that everything seems to go wrong—can I offer you a bit of insight? Don't take it too personally. Satan isn't after you, per se. He's after God. He knows the love that the Father has for us, and that the only way to hurt our All Mighty God, is to hurt our relationship with Him. And he does that by attacking us in our daily lives. (Ephesians 6:12)

I’m not typically one to jump on the ship of blaming the enemy. Mostly because I don’t want to give him the credit—I don’t want him to feel that important or to think that he’s affected me that much. But unfortunately, yesterday was not one of those times. He managed to deflate my excitement in a quick moment. The conversation went from elation to deflation in less than three seconds. It took all I had not to cry. And as soon as I got alone, that’s exactly what I did: cry. I hate those moments. I hate giving in to his deceit. And that’s what it is: deceit. (see Genesis 3:1- the serpent was the most [cunning, shrewdest, crafty, subtle, skilled in deceit]) He is a liar and a thief. (John 8:44; John 10:10) He seeks to destroy God by destroying us. Don't allow him the satisfaction. 

The enemy will attempt to deceive you, tempt you and accuse you. To help protect yourself from the enemy’s attacks, read more about the Armor of God to prepare yourself for the battle. (Ephesians 6:10-18). Gird your waist with truth: this means to have a true heart, unwavering resolve/allegiance [Side note: the belt was the last piece of armor attached by the Roman soldier—it symbolizes that having a pure heart for God will hold the rest of the armor together]. Put on the breastplate of righteousness: this means integrity, acting and thinking in purity to guard our heart. Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace: the Word of God is to be our footwear—it will keep you grounded and protect you—it will be your foundation. (Matthew 7:24-25). Take the shield of faith…to quench all the fiery darts: when we are drenched in faith, the shield will stop the devil’s fire from spreading when we get hit with a ‘dart’. [Soldiers would light the arrows on fire before firing them- Roman soldiers would douse their shields in flame retardant material to keep their shields (and themselves) from catching fire]. Take the helmet of salvation: keeping your mind focused on your promised eternity will remind you that you are not (and never will be) alone in this battle (Deuteronomy 31:6). And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: [the only offensive piece of the armor] that represents the individual passages (not Bible as a whole). The Bible is full of many different weapons, depending on the need: it is not one weapon, but an arsenal.

 My Pastor summed up the Armor perfectly last Sunday as:
Stand in undivided devotion... Belt of truth
Live righteously against sin... Breastplate of Righteousness
Walk in sureness and boldness... Shoes of Gospel of Peace
Guard every thought and give it to God, before it inflames... Shield of Faith
Know you are His, know every work counts eternally... Helmet of Salvation
Learn your weapons of war with each Word of God... Sword of the Spirit

Staying grounded in God’s Word will help you fight the deception. It will also help you grow in your walk with Him, which will help you overcome his traps of temptation. (Matthew 26:41, James 4:7) Having God’s Word written on our hearts and in our minds will help fend off the accusations (lies). His condemnation is futile when you have accepted Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The war is raging around us. In order to gain victory with Jesus, we must engage and suit up in our armor. (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

Let Freedom Ring!

This is a long holiday weekend for many. [It’s been an even longer ‘holiday’ for me, as I’ve been on a five-week hiatus from my ‘day job’ to pursue my writing.] This holiday is about celebrating America’s birthday—our Independence Day; our freedoms—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. [The irony for me is that my ‘independence’ ends Wednesday. I go back to ‘real life’. But—that doesn’t mean my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in Jesus ends.]

Do you realize this country was founded on Biblical values? I’m not looking for a debate regarding whether the founding fathers were Christians, or how many times the Declaration of Independence mentions a ‘Creator’, the display of the Ten Commandments to shape our laws, the fact that legislature and government didn’t count/work Sundays, etc. I’m talking about looking at the mere principle—the one thing America prides itself on, both sides of the political aisle spout, and what causes terrorist nations to hate us: Freedom. Do you ever think about how the Creator of the Universe, the One that spoke it into creation, gave us humans (created in His image) the choice to love Him? The One who can do anything, refuses to force us to love Him? He gives us free will—the power of choice. Adam and Eve had a choice in the garden—we have a choice now. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) Not to mention, Jesus came to save the world (John 3:17)—to break (free) our chains from the bondage of sin. (Romans 6:15-23)

And just as many (most) Americans take our freedom for granted in this nation, so do we Christians in Jesus. We allow our sins (we all have them) to keep us bound to this world. (Romans 12:2) We are to be showing others Who Jesus is, yet all we manage to do is show them that we fail at being Christ-like daily—not just in the things we do and say, but also in the things we don’t do and say… We are to be Jesus to the world, with our lives. (Ephesians 5:1-2). Everything that we have (our time, our tools, our gifts, our money) are to be used for His good—not our own. Jesus gave up His will for our Father’s—why would we think we are any different? (Matthew 26:39, John 4:34, 5:19, 6:38). We need to stop focusing on ourselves, and focus on God and others. (Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:30-31) This world needs Jesus—but it has youyou are responsible for showing them Who He Is. Being a Christian doesn’t just mean you get to sit back and receive His grace and do nothing else. It means you get out there and do—you show others Who Jesus Is. Galatians 5:13: You were not saved to sit; you were saved to serve. If Jesus gave up everything to come to this Earth to serve us, and we claim to be Christians, who are we to think we don’t have to follow His lead and reciprocate? (Matthew 20:27-28; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 9:14)

Yes—we are free to choose whether or not we believe (and want to follow) God… But, as a true believer in Christ, our choice is whether to believe Jesus was/is Who He claimed/s to be. Once we choose to follow Him, we accept not only our Salvation from Him, but also our duties. (Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23; John 12:26; James 2:17).

We should be spreading the ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness—in Jesus—across the Earth…Let Freedom Ring!