Terri Downs, Director of Women's Ministries
March 11, 2014
"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. 6:10-11
I'm one of those people who plans ahead of time what they are going to wear. I think through where I'm going, what I will be doing, what the weather will be and then I set out my clothes accordingly the night before. It saves time! I know... most of you are not like that. However, that is quite biblical. I like that Eph. 6:10-12 tells us that we need to be prepared and dress ourselves for battle at all times because we simply do not know when and where the enemy is going to strike. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
As I was recently reminded, a flimsy hospital gown designed to expose more than it covers is insufficient battle armor! I must admit that I was unprepared when the spiritual battle hit. Following a recent surgery, I was surprised by unrelenting physical pain. Having previously endured what I thought was a similar type of surgery, the pain was not what I expected. The timing also came right on the heels of a great deal of emotional pain because of what our church has been going through. And so, I confess that during a moment borne of weakness, physical pain and sheer exhaustion, I whispered these words to my husband, "Where is Jesus? I feel like He has abandoned us." It was a very dark moment and it felt like Satan was winning the battle.
The difficult and painful circumstances of our lives remind us that we have an enemy and we are engaged in a spiritual battle, and it’s personal. Satan wants us ineffective and frustrated and to keep us from becoming all we are in Christ. We are in a spiritual war and have an enemy who strikes when we least expect it. We are never more vulnerable than when sorrow and suffering have gripped our hands and are walking us down a road we would rather not travel. Dr. Frank Chan tells us that, "Lies born in times of pain are powerful. The presence of pain makes the lies feel true."
Lies are Satan’s tool. The power of a lie is Satan's weapon, for he is the father of lies. How many of you have heard these lies in your heart?
- "Not good enough."
- "God doesn't really love me."
- "If God really was good, He wouldn't let this be happening to me right now."
- "Go ahead, no one will know."
- “I could never be forgiven for that.”
The list goes on. Have we forgotten we have an enemy and he is not flesh and blood? Eph. 6:12 tells us "we wrestle against the rulers, the authorities, and… the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." It's important that we recognize that we are engaged in a spiritual battle and identify the lies we are believing. It's not enough just to identify them, we also must get dressed in the spiritual armor that God has provided for our protection (see Eph. 6:14-17).
Fortunately, in that dark moment in the hospital, my husband helped dress me. He said, "Jesus is here. He hasn't abandoned us. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He is good and we just don't understand how He is working." Truth always trumps the lies of Satan and dispels the darkness.
In the heat of the battle, we need to hold up our shield of faith and wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:16 instructs us to take up our shield of faith and "extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one." Those flaming arrows have a lot of different tips. They can be fear, accusation, discouragement, defeat, compromise, doubt, complacency and temptation; just to name a few. But it is not enough just to assume a defensive posture. We must stand our ground and "take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God and pray always." The specific Word of God applied to a particular situation at just the right time in the power of the Holy Spirit will defeat the enemy. It has been said that Satan trembles when the weakest saint is on his knees in prayer.
The challenge always lies in whether or not we will believe our feelings or believe the truth of God's Word. The tests of faith will always come along these very lines. If we aren't abiding in Jesus and remaining in His Word we will not be dressed when the moment of crisis comes. We must cling to God's Word even when feelings tell us otherwise.
Even though we have an enemy and are engaged in ongoing battle, even though some days it feels like the enemy is getting the upper hand, we have the assurance of victory. “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) We can be overcomers because we serve a risen Savior – Jesus, who defeated sin and death, arose to victorious life, ascended to the right hand of the Father and forever crushed the enemy. Satan is a defeated foe (Rev. 19:11-21). When I am feeling particularly battle weary, I need to remember that my God is powerful, sovereign and reigning victoriously on the throne and I have a future with Him that gives me hope. When the days are evil, I need to get my eyes on Jesus and get dressed appropriately.
So, what will you be wearing today?