Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

7. Standing in God’s Strength – Part 2

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Ephesians 6:10-24
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

Only when we are standing in His strength will we be able to:

• Recognize what is really going on.
Recognizing you’re in a war is a big part of victory, because when you do you can prepare yourself to face your foe. Understanding the enemy’s tactics puts you in a position of strength, you see the devil works in darkness but when we are living for the Lord we are walking in His light. The devil tries to take advantage of our ignorance, but when we are living in the light, he can’t do what he had planned. God’s Word teaches us to be alert, which means to be watchful. We need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus at all times. As we do we will be prepared to deal with the devil. The Bible reminds us not be ignorant but instead, “stand firm against the devil’s schemes.” We have a very real enemy who is out to destroy us. Look the enemies that we face are not “bad vibes,” or “negative energies in the universe” They are personalities who think, talk, listen, observe, and strategies as 2 Corinthians 2:11 and Ephesians 6:11 state. As we read God’s Word and watch we will recognize the strategies of the enemy in our lives as well as in society. Do you see a pattern of hurt and rejection in your life? Is Satan trying to destroy you with suicidal thoughts, or slowly suffocate and kill you with drugs and alcohol? Does something always seem to happen to keep your family stuck in strife? Look for the enemy’s strategies and recognize his poisonous patterns. After recognizing Satans strategy we need to go on to the second “R.”

• Refuse
Refusing to listen to Satans lies is key to wining the war. Often this doesn’t feel like warfare because it is more passive in nature. But once you recognize what he is up to, you need to learn to ignore his lies and avoid his traps. How do we tune out his words, we do this, by engaging in worshipping Jesus. When we are busy lifting up the Lord in praise its hard to listen to Satans lies. You drown out the devil by saturating yourself with your Savior Jesus. Refuse to give into your feelings and walk by faith. Satan wants to engage you and escalate you emotions like, anger and bind you up in bitterness. You need to refuse to live your life in hurt, refuse to give in to unrighteous anger. Let it go and instead engage in lifting up the Lord. Nothing defeats the devil faster than ignoring what he’s trying to stir up. Third we need to learn to:

• Resist
This is active warfare! Scripture says “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” God is calling you to resist him which means you need to be ready. Only in the name of Jesus will you be able to resist him. When you tell the devil to flee he may try to defeat you several more times but remember even though he came at Jesus, during his time of testing in the wilderness, several times he did eventually flee. Remember James 4:7 says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” And I Peter 5:9 says, “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” The only way to have spiritual success is to stand in God’s strength. We fight in his power and with his armor. Paul says “From now on, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Notice that this is a 2-pronged strategy. Be strong in God’s power, and enter the battle wearing the equipment he provides. There’s a balance needed here, you see. There are some Christians who are so confident in themselves that they don’t even bother to ask God for his help. They pridefully assume that they can go through life resisting all the temptations the devil throws at them in their own strength. While there are other Christians who forget that they have a part to play. These people think that as long as they pray and trust God, nothing can go wrong. But that’s only part of the truth, you see we need to rely on God’s power alone, but we also need to put on the His armor so that we can be protected and defeat the devils attacks. This first instruction to stand firm reminds us that this isn’t a battle where we’re on the attack. Rather it’s the image of a siege, where we’re defending a position. In fact, think about the instructions that precede this. What were they about? Weren’t they about how to order the household of God? It’s as though Paul has extended that analogy, to the idea of the household now being under attack from outside, and our task is to defend it from that attack. The goal then is to stand firm so the attacker can’t get in and wreak havoc in our midst. Do you see how he repeats the phrase “Stand firm” we see it repeated in verses 11, 13, and 14. This is a word for us today if ever there was one. We’re pressed on all sides by those who would have us waver in our faith and cave in our confidence in Christ. From within and without we’re told you can’t trust the Word of God. We’re told not to believe the stories of the Bible, not to take nor trust God at His Word. But all that is just the sly strategy of the devil who wants to defeat you by getting you to turn from God and start trusting in self. So where do you need to recognize Satans strategies in your life? Where do you need to start refusing to listen to his lies? And where do you need to start resisting him so that instead of him running over and ruining your life he runs away? As believers in Jesus Christ its time for us to stop submitting to Satan and start standing up to him, but we can only stand in the Saviors strength. Who are you turning to and trusting in today, is it self or is it the Savior?

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