Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Eph 6:10
Scripture says we have three enemies: the world's system, our flesh, and the devil. In Revelation we see an unholy trinity of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet.
The world is against believers in that the system in place works against the righteous. It is a system built on fortune, fame, power, and pleasure. In Revelation we are asked to come out of Babylon, that is the corrupt city of man- filled with injustice, a city red with the blood of tooth and claw, and a land that lures the unsuspecting to their slavery and doom.
We are in the world, but not of it. An interesting concept. The obvious ways to miss this is to be in and of the world.... or to be totally out of the world, so removed that we do no good as salt and light. In this culture, you will feel like you are always swimming upstream if you profess allegiance to the Kingdom of Christ.
G.K. Beale is quoted as saying: "It has been said that worldliness is what any culture does to make sin seem normal and righteousness seem strange"
ROMANS 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We also have a problem with our flesh. The Apostle Paul struggled with this in Romans 7 when he writes that he cannot do what he wants, but does the very thing he hates. He finds that sin is in him, the one wishing to do good. Our battle versus the flesh is another life long battle, a part of the sanctifying process where we are to starve the old nature and feed the new. We are saved by grace, and we are sustained by grace, but we need to strive by all the means that God has appointed to grow in grace. We have power in the Spirit to succeed- and it is a noble task because God's ways are good and prosperous choices.
Think about how good we feel when we are eating right and exercising- well spiritual disciplines work the same way. We are urged to train in godliness.
ROMANS 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
GALATIANS 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
I TIMOTHY 4:7-8 Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Our final enemy is Satan himself and the 1/3 of the angelic host who now serve him as demons. Yes, He is real and present and active.
It is his whisper campaign that begins the process:
"Indeed... did God say?....."
I have found that Satan's greatest attack in in my mind. He wants me to doubt and fear, he wants me to hide in the shadows of secrets and shame. The word 'occult' means 'hidden'. Satan is a stealth stalker, a master of disguise, a sinister killer. He is the greatest one on one killer of all time- his only defeat was against our Lord in the wilderness. And Christ won it by wielding the Sword of God's Word. Are we prepared for such an encounter?
He loves to divide and conquer. Unity, love, prayer, honesty, and encouragement creates problems for his tactics. He wants us to be divided and suspicious. He wants us to be posers. He is relentless.
Does this battle make you weary? Are we extra tired because we don't know how to take a Sabbath rest? Are we discouraged because we are isolated? Are we being held back by habitual sin? Are we powerless because we are prayerless?
I don't want to stop here.... because hope and good news awaits. My next writing will be on the joy of fighting as a son of the most high.... our greatest identity! Press on!