This week’s devotions are based on the introduction week of “Explore God” (WATCH HERE)
Be ready for battle!
The day after 9/11 the nation prepared for war. However it wasn’t a conventional war where soldiers lined up against an enemy. The initial challenge was figuring out who the enemy was, where they lurked, how they fought, and what they would do next. This enemy hid in the shadows, blended into classrooms, or hid in caves in far away lands. 22 years later the battle still rages with vigilance, intelligence and preventative measures to keep terror like happened on 9/11/01 from happening again.
Battle is hard when we aren’t prepared. Battle is hard when it comes in unexpected ways and unexpected times.
So the key is always to be ready.
So, if we are going to be prepared to give a reason for the hope we have, we MUST realize we are stepping more fully onto the spiritual battlefield. The commander of the enemy is Satan himself who desires the demise of Christ and all who follow him. Every promoter of the message of grace will be identified as a target to annihilated. To enter the battle with anything but strength of soul, intensity of heart and clarity of mind would be to commit spiritual suicide at worst, a terrible defeat at best.
The Apostle Paul knew the enemy. He writes about it in Ephesians 6:
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Paul knew that when he opened his mouth, Satan would want to shut it. He knew that people were not going to like him and would stand opposed to him. He knew people could hurt him or even kill him.
When facing an enemy like this, the temptation is to give up and go home. Or shut up and be quiet. As a result the hope found in Jesus remains silent.
But it can’t. Just like the US could not just walk away from the 9/11 attacks with no recourse, so God’s people cannot walk away from the onslaught of the spiritual terror that Satan is making in our country and communities. We must be ready. We have the hope the world needs. So armor up…and be ready to take on the enemy with the power of the Spirit and the Word of Truth!
Apply: What piece of armor do you find most important for you as you think about engaging the spiritual battle connected with sharing the faith God has given to you?
Prayer: Spirit of God, cover me with the armor of God and move me forward with the confidence of faith and the conviction of your truth! AMEN!