Have you felt you are in a battle? I am sure most of us have. This have been a tough season with all of the cultural and social dynamics around us. The Bible indicates that our Christian faith involves a struggle with and against evil that is in our world. Part of this battle takes place in our own hearts as we face our own evil desires, but the scripture also indicates that there are other forces at work — a spiritual battle that we fight against Satan and his demons. We must be ready for a spiritual battle each and every day.
This is what the apostle Paul said: “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. 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” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
First, we are called to be strong in the Lord. This is not self sufficiency and/or self-reliance. We must understand our weakness and seek God for our strength. If we fly solo, the enemy will sink us or get us off track. Followers of Jesus are called to live in submission to the Lord if we are going to be successful in our spiritual battles and stay strong in this world that seems so heavy and burdened.
Being surrendered to God, we are then called to put on the full armor of God so we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. We should be standing in faithfulness to God. Temptations will come, so we must be ready for the evil one’s schemes. Paul is giving us a heads up — there is an enemy scheming to trip you up.
These schemes are often relational and involve temptations and opportunities that are harmful to us and others. The enemy often seeks to send the wrong relationships in our life to trip us up or distract us. How many of you have ever missed God because of a wrong relationship? Or you said yes to a wrong invitation? How many teenagers have rebelled because of relational pressure? How many relational conflicts have caused us to make mistakes spiritually? How often have affairs happened because someone did not guard against an unhealthy relationship dynamic.
These relational issues are often deeper though. Paul said our battle is not against flesh and blood. We are not fighting with people, but we are fighting our own sinful desires and wrestling with spiritual powers. Our relational problems are almost always the sign of a spiritual problem. Our relationship with God should affect our other relationships.
What if all the people in your life were to surrender to Christ and to live their life by biblical principles? What if you were to do this? I am certain it would change your relationships.
We wrestle against spiritual powers. The word wrestle implies a struggle where your opponent seeks to throw you off balance and gain a position of advantage against you. You may feel like you are pinned to the ground spiritually even now. Maybe you have fallen for the same tricks and traps over and over, the same temptation over and over. The Lord wants you to learn to fight – to take your stand against the devil’s schemes. You must surrender and discover God’s strength. You must be aware of the enemy’s schemes, and then you must learn to stand strong.
We will talk more about that in the weeks to come. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at david@weare community.church or 912-634-2960.