Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, March 20, 2016
“Put on the whole armour 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 armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:11–13).
In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a fierce battle going on. And, no, I do not mean the countless wars that are being fought around the world over commodities, tribal disputes, religion, or politics, although these are symptoms of the larger battle. I am not even talking about battles for power in the corporate setting or family skirmishes, while they, too, are symptomatic of the larger battle. No; the battle to which I refer is so huge, there is no area nor being in the universe that is unaffected by it. This battle is what some refer to as the great controversy between good and evil. We see it depicted in movie plots, bestselling novels, and even our music. But more sharply than these, at least from our perspectives, we see this battle raging in the war theaters of our lives. The question really is, then, “Who will win the battle in my life?”
The Bible aptly states that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Rather it’s against spiritual beings who once lived in the presence of God, but were expelled due to unrepentant rebellion. Now they have a vendetta against all that is holy, and all whom the Lord loves. This is why you cannot get a break! Whether you have yet learned to love God or no, the devil and his cohorts want to destroy you. If you have not given your life over to the care of God, the devil wants to extinguish you before you do. He wants to so fill your mind with fear of the future, hatred, racial conflicts, struggles with police and government, etc. as to incite your darkest character traits and obscure your view of God. And the result, if you continue down this path, will be continual sin, guilt, shame, defeat, and ultimate destruction.
For those who have chosen to follow the Lord’s leading in life, you will find that your trials will increase too. Your good will be evil spoken of. When you do what God says, you will often draw the ire of people you least expect. Your families will experience apparently unexplainable problems at times. Your work, health, and emotional wellbeing will often be assaulted, not to mention the incredible temptations that will certainly come your way. You will lose people you love to the cold, cruel hands of death. All of this and more are targeted at causing you to lose focus and abandon your God.
That being said, what is the answer to this problem? If our enemies are supernatural beings who once lived in heaven, how can we fight them? Do we arm ourselves with assault rifles and shoot the first thing that moves? No. Do we equip or homes with panic rooms or properties bug-out shelters with months worth of food and water storage? No. Should we learn survival strategies and become proficient in the martial arts? Absolutely not. Since our battle is against supernatural beings, we need supernatural weaponry. Paul says it this way: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5). Thus it is that we must put on the entire armor of God if we ever hope to be victorious in this battle over our eternal life. You do realize that is what’s at stake, right? Were it merely this life we were dealing with, the strongest would always come out on top. But in this battle with eternal implications, only those who submit to God, the Captain of our souls, will live forever in blissful relationship, with the freedom to explore the creation of God without sin, sickness, tears, or pain, just the way God intended in the beginning.
This week, we will be going through the seven implements of this cosmic conflict so each of us can be well prepared for victory over every problem and trial we will face until Jesus returns. Rest assured that the Word of God guarantees victory for those who follow His war plan. Jesus won the battle with Satan in heaven when this war began. Jesus won the battle with Satan during His life on earth wherein He never sinned and purchased our salvation. Jesus won the battle at the tomb where the devil failed to keep Him dead. And daily, Jesus is winning in the lives of those who choose to remain submitted to His care. Will you be a victim or victor in this battle? The choice is yours.