Engaging in the War

I’ve recently been studying the book of Ephesians. It ranks near the top of my “favorites” list of New Testament books. God has revealed numerous rich truths to me from this short epistle written by the Apostle Paul. The book of Ephesians solidifies my value to Christ and His immeasurable love for me, overwhelming power in me through Christ, and ultimate victory with sin.

Over the past few weeks, I have delved deeper into chapter 6 of Ephesians. God continues to open my eyes more clearly to the war against sin that I am engaged with on a regular basis. I find myself daily battling the enemy in various struggles within my own heart. Some struggles are subtle, while others are recognized more clearly.

In chapter 6, Paul issues a final word to the believer. Verse 10 reads, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

Another translation says, “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.”

How often do we find ourselves drawing strength from a different source . . . other than our Lord? It is easy to believe the lie that if we get enough rest, take the proper vitamins, exercise, surround ourselves with strong friends, make moral and logical choices, and connect ourselves to a local body of believers, then we will be strong enough to wage war with sin.

So often, we fail to connect directly with the true Power Source—Jesus Christ! We attempt to draw strength from family, friends, work, social media. . .along with many other connections!

However–True strength is found “in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

To be strong in the Lord, we must be intentionally seeking to know His truth. We become “strong in the Lord’ as we become “deep in His Word.” Jesus Christ is the Word. . .and He is the way, the truth, and the life! (John 1, 14)

Knowing and believing His truth leads to strength as a child of God.

Friends, we are fighting a gigantic yet unseen war each and every day! God commands us to put on the full (complete) armor of God so that we can stand firm against the tactics (schemes, tricks, strategies) of the devil

We are to be proactive in fighting this war! To dress ourselves appropriately and fully for battle! To realize we are facing an enemy full of tricks, schemes, strategies to defeat and ruin our lives!

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies.”

Let’s pause here. . .

I find it so easy to view my stubborn 3 year old toddler, or 12 year old middle school son with changing hormones, or disgruntled church member as the enemy. Some days, the enemy is the slow cashier at the grocery store, the neighbor with the blaring music, or my spouse who doesn’t agree with me. In light of recent national events, it’s easy for believers to judge the politicians, judges, news media, or members of the gay community as the enemy.

Yet the truth is “we are fighting against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world (darkness), against the mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (NLT)

I like the way the Message words this verse. “This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”

You and I are in an all-out-war with the real Enemy—the Devil and all his angels!

The little argument with your spouse before bed, the unkind words exchanged with your teenager, the rude attitude displayed at the redlight, the criticism on the phone towards your boss, the angry facebook comment concerning recent national events. . .these are not isolated incidents but rather small battles within the gigantic war against sin and the Devil!

We must be aware that we are daily fighting a war that is much bigger than we can see!

I don’t have strength within myself to continually fight sin. You don’t have resources apart from God’s Word and His strength to wage war with the Devil!

Victory comes from Jesus Christ alone!

So, how do we successfully fight the war of sin? Ephesians 6:13 says we are to “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting, you’ll still be on your feet.” (Message)

We must “take up the full armor of God, so that we may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (HCSB)

Then, after the battle, we will be standing FIRM!

We must daily prepare ourselves to fight this war with the Devil- God’s enemy!

It takes a big picture perspective on life to consistently wage war with sin! The battle is relentless! We will grow weary! We will desire to give up the fight!

But God has provided all the resources we need to win the battle. Jesus Christ is our assurance for victory! Our resources do not lie within ourselves but rather in the mighty power of God.

Here are six steps to victory:

  1. Be aware of the war we are fighting on a daily basis.
  2. Realize the war exceeds far beyond flesh and blood enemies! We wrestle with powers of darkness!
  3. Daily admit your need for God’s strength and power to successfully fight the battles of your life.
  4. Proactively seek to know His Truth and clothe yourself with the full armor of God.
  5. Enlist other believers to help and support you in the fight with sin. Accountability and encouragement are crucial!
  6. Trust that Jesus Christ has provided everything we need for victory in this war!

May we fiercely fight today and every day for His truth! May our strength be found in His power! And may we live victoriously today as soldiers in God’s army!

We can rest assured that our Captain offers ultimate victory! Let us actively engage in the war with sin. . . finding our strength in the power of the Gospel!

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

I Corinthians 15:57

 

 

 

 

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