THE BATTLE WE FACE
As little boys, most of us battled a fire-breathing dragon hundreds of times. In our make believe world we were always strong and courageous. Then as we grow and mature our make believe play fades away into memories. But I am here to tell you that the dragon is very real and the battle we fight is a spiritual one. We need to be very strong and courageous to face down this dragon. As we begin to step into our role as spiritual head of our families, the dragon will attempt to stop us.
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. Revelation 12:7-8
This dragon is very real indeed and he goes by many names - Satan, Lucifer and Beelzebub to name a few. He made an attempt to overthrow God but did not succeed and was cast out of heaven and thrown to the earth. The dragon now wages war against our families and us. His desire is to turn you from God. He wants to neutralize your Christian witness and your effectiveness as your family’s leader.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9
Who does this roaring lion want to devour? You and your family! The battle is very real. Are you willing to engage your enemy? The enemy is engaging you. If you will not fight for your family then who will? Satan would like nothing more than for you to sit on the sidelines of this battle.
If you don’t think your enemy is real, just look at the world around you today. Remember, the dragon wants to keep you distanced from God. Look at the distractions that call you away from time with your Creator. Media influences are all screaming for your attention - TV, radio and the Internet. How can you hear from God over all of the noise? God doesn’t usually come to you in a shout but a whisper. If you are not paying attention you will miss an encounter with God. If there had been radio, TV and the internet in Jesus’ day – would the original disciples even have heard him? Jesus simply says “Come follow me”. There is no shouting or yelling or jumping up and down to get our attention.
This spiritual battle is tough. The war is raging all around us but we can’t see it with our eyes. It would be much easier if our enemy would show himself. The first thing is that you must acknowledge that the battle is real. The second thing to know is that you are in it whether you know it or not. You can choose to let the enemy run over you or you can engage him and fight back. The Apostle Paul tells us more about this spiritual war:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 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. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:10-13
The first part of this passage is crucial. Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. If you do not have a close relationship with God through is son Jesus, you are destined to lose the battle. The Lord’s strength is the only thing that can turn this battle and make us winners rather than losers.
The most dramatic impact in my walk with the Lord comes from this foundation. A few years ago I was just the average Christian guy. I accepted the Lord but I did not have a quiet center to my life. I prayed – but not regularly. I usually waited until I got myself into trouble. I knew I needed more time with God and had actually been grumbling to myself that I did not have enough time during the day to spend with Him.
My Sunday school teacher at the time, Brett Smith challenged all of the men in his class that had long commutes to turn off the radio and talk to God for two weeks. It was like he had issued the challenge just to me. You see, I have a two-hour daily commute to and from work. Here I was alone in my car for two hours a day. This is plenty of time to spend with God. Why hadn’t I seen this before?
Even though I am a believer I had been tricked by the devil. Through my busy schedule I’d been blinded to the fact that I really did have enough time. Plus there is so much good music on the radio – I didn’t want to give it up. The devil had engaged me and I didn’t even know it. I was beaten before I even got started.
I took Brett’s challenge to do without the radio for two weeks. My life has never been the same since. I can now hear the voice of God and I have a closer relationship with Him than ever before. I long for my time with Him everyday - time to talk, seek His guidance and listen for His voice. The Lord has opened my eyes to the spiritual battle raging all around us.
The point of this story is to demonstrate that even though I was in the spiritual battle I did not know it. This is exactly where the devil wants us to be – lazy and ignorant. I was fighting my daily battles in my own strength – not the Lord’s and I was losing.
Paul tells us in this passage that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but it is every bit the same life and death struggle of any military battle in history. He also tells us that the devil is scheming against us and that we need to take our stand against him. There is no wavering here; there is not a question of backing down. Paul is urging and exhorting us that we MUST take our stand against the devil. You must be aware that the devil is constantly scheming against you.
The devil would like nothing more than to keep you blind to his attacks. If he can keep you on the sidelines he’s won. You are nothing to worry about if you aren’t in the game. If you’ve never come under spiritual attack before, maybe it’s because you have not engaged the enemy. If you are warring and battling against our ancient adversary he will not leave you alone. The fact is that the more you serve God and are in His will the more likely it is that you will come under spiritual attack. If you are not doing anything to take territory away from the evil one, why should he attack you? Why should he beat you down and “wake you up” to his schemes? If you sit on the sidelines of this battle you may as well be on the opposing team. Are you ready to get in the game? Are you ready to fight back? This is war – spiritual war!
Filed in: Faith, Journal, Religion