Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Understanding our Spiritual Battle

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Another year is fast approaching, and we need a reminder of the spiritual battle we need to face with confidence and assurance of victory with God's help.

Craig Brian Larson, chief editor for Christianity Today's, shared a National Geographic article about the Alaskan bull moose: The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk.

These images clearly illustrate what occurs in our spiritual battle on a daily basis. One gained supremacy because their dietary source was better than the other and not about their size. Thus, in our spiritual battle against our enemy, our victory depends on the strength of our faith life and not our religious life. We need to anchor our faith in God’s promises to remain “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). What are the sources of our strength? It is through “the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1) and the “power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).

Aside from maintaining our faith-life secured, what else could we do to ensure our victory on an ongoing basis? Paul outlined specific instructions for us to do on a daily basis:
1.      Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). What does the armor of God symbolize? Paul explained it this way, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).
2.      Stand firm then, with 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” (Ephesians 6:14-15).  Remember, the belt holds the clothing together in the same way that the truth of God’s Word holds our faith firmly in place while the breastplate protects the front body as it moves forward only. What does the breastplate symbolize? It is “putting on faith and love as a breastplate”(1 Thessalonians 5:8). What role do our feet signify? Our feet fitted with readiness “who bring good news!" (Romans 10:15) to others in need.
3.      Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). What does this mean? The shield of faith is both a defensive and an offensive weapon against the enemy. It becomes defensive by having “minds that are alert and fully sober” (1 Peter 1:13) and it becomes offensive when we “keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18).
4.      Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17). When we wear the “hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thessalonians 5:8), we preserve what Christ gave us in His death in the same way that Jesus used the word of God to defeat Satan’s schemes in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-15).

How do preserve and secure these things on a daily basis? By following the same pattern of clothing ourselves physically. Simply put, it is a position of readiness at all times because our enemy lurks and waits for an opportunity to attack. Ray Stedman explained,
We have been born into a world under the control of the satanic mind. Yet, in the mystery of the cross of Jesus and in the power of His resurrection, applied by faith, we discover that the force which ruins us is now broken and its power is canceled.”

He added, “No battle was ever won without courage, perseverance, and strength. And that is the challenge before us, clearly sounded in Ephesians 6.” But the most important aspect of our spiritual battle is to distinguish our real enemy: 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 (Ephesians 6:12). Thus the conclusion of the whole matter: 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 6:13). Keep standing no matter what and to hold your ground at all cost. Jesus did, and He promised His presence is with us when we do the same.

Let’s talk again!