Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday, May 1 ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 3-4; Psalm 87; John 19
Today's scripture focus is  Ephesians 6:10-12

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Wow.  Depending on where you are at spiritually, and possibly even your current circumstances, these verses can be motivating or disheartening, don't you think?  There are two sides to everything.  It says "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."  So that means that we don't have to do it all by ourselves.  Motivating and encouraging, right?  But then our struggle is against the rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness, spiritual forces of wickedness.  Whoa, wait a minute.  That sounds hard and scary.  And it is.

So what do we do with that?  Before we can be effective as soldiers in God's army, we need to know against whom we are fighting and for whom we are fighting.  Driscoll says the following in his sermon I Am Victorious:

So, we need to know our enemy. The first thing in any fight is, well—who are we fighting? 

Satan was created by God. So, he’s not God; he’s not equal to God. You need to know this. He doesn’t share all of God’s attributes. God can be everywhere; Satan can’t. God knows everything; Satan doesn’t. God reads your mind and thoughts; Satan can’t. He’s created; he’s also fallen. He’s rebelled against God. He’s turned his back on God. He’s declared war on God. He’s also very powerful as a spirit being, akin to an angel who has turned to the dark side. He’s very powerful. He’s also been observing human history for thousands of years, so he understands how to read people. He can’t read your mind, but he can read your life and your body language. And we’re not all dealing with Satan because he is limited, but he has demons at his disposal. These are fallen angels, rebellious angels, who joined him in his war against God.

Friends, they are real, and they are really at work in the world. You need to understand this: under Satan’s motivation is ultimately pride. Satan is the most proud being in the history of creation. Meanwhile, God is utterly humble. We see this in the Lord Jesus. Satan has done such a good job in our day that self-esteem is not a vice; it’s a virtue. Independence is not a vice; it’s a virtue.

Some of you don’t even believe in Satan and demons, but let me say that the root of demonic work is always sourced ultimately in pride. “I don’t need to listen to someone else; I’m smart enough. I don’t need to submit to someone else; I can take care of myself. I don’t need to follow someone else; I’m the authority in my own life.” And Satan will, in every way, tempt and test your pride. He fell through pride. The angels who fell with him and became demons fell through pride. And he will tempt you ultimately through pride. You need to know that he is real, that he is really powerful, and that he is really at work. You also need to know that we need to be careful not to make too much of him or too little of him.

The question is: how in the world am I going to live, how are you going to live, in the clench—Satan and demon’s hand on you, exhausting you, trying to destroy you, your business, your family, your relationships, your ministry, our church? Let me say this: you’re not going to make it for a lifetime. You cannot make it for a lifetime. You can’t motivate yourself for a lifetime of war. There’s no shortcut to a lifetime of war. You’re going to need strength that is beyond you, strength that is apart from you.

So, he says, “Be strong.” How? “In the strength of his might.” Jesus is going to need to give you his strength, because yours won’t do. You get that? You can’t serve Jesus for a lifetime without Jesus’ strength. You can’t love your spouse for a lifetime without Jesus’ strength. You can’t raise your children for a lifetime without Jesus’ strength. You can’t be a faithful church member for a lifetime without Jesus’ strength. You can’t be a faithful Christian leader for a lifetime without Jesus’ strength. It’s his war fought by his strength, and this is ultimately the person, the presence, the power of the Holy Spirit—that Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who empowered the war life of Jesus against temptation and exhaustion and sickness and opposition and criticism. How Jesus persevered, how he was strong, was by the power of the Holy Spirit, and he sends that same Holy Spirit to us to empower us.

Thank you, God, for making us new creatures.  Fill us with the Holy Spirit and equip us for whatever battles are before us.  Help us to keep our courage by remembering always that it is with Your strength that we fight and not our own. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Ephesians 6:13-14
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  1 Samuel 5-6; Psalm 88; John 20

1 comment:

TammyIsBlessed said...

It is so key to realize that we cannot fight Satan on our own strength, but we are more than conquerors when we rely on His strength.