Well it’s happening. Our last year in the U.S. The excitement that’s surging in me is hard to contain sometimes. But equally as strong are the emotions of the coming departure. If all I had to do was sit around and ponder my thoughts, I’d probably be an emotional roller coaster. How can I be so excited about going, yet feel my heart sink in my chest when I think about leaving? Going and leaving. To go somewhere, you have to leave. That’s not one of Newton’s Laws of Motion, but it’s simple to understand.
Here’s something else that is very simple, yet gets pretty complicated: Satan doesn’t want us to go. We are forging our way to the front lines of the battle, the Lord refining and guiding us along the way. His strength carries us when our knees get weak. He calls us back to attention when we get distracted by worldliness. And no matter what it takes to get my attention, oh I’ll be grateful. Because our attention is all that’s needed to see the spiritual attacks for what they are… darkness and evil. Darkness twists the truth and evil shouts lies. This is the same darkness that lied to tempt Eve, that twisted Scripture to tempt Jesus and whispered prideful lies not only to the people that had Him killed, but to His best friends. This evil twists and whispers and shouts in the most deceitful and manipulative ways to paralyze us.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Ephesians 6:12-13
Having prepared everything? Wiktionary tells me prepare means to make ready for a specific, future purpose. Just let that sink in for a minute.
Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Ephesians 6:14-18
I could camp out on every phrase in that passage, but you get it, right? Jesus Christ handed us our breastplates of righteousness to guard our hearts when He died on the cross. He wore our wicked filth and bore the wrath of God to hand this armor to us. So let’s stay alert in this! How often do we barely even notice that we’re in a battle, much less take up our shield to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one? We’re too busy strutting around, pouting, or worrying to gird up our loins, face the enemy and retaliate.
Families, we have GOT to get it together.
Men, your minds and bodies are crafted for intense focus and swift action. God Himself engineered you to be a powerful weapon. Don’t you set that shield down. Evil and darkness are shouting that life is all about something else entirely and that you deserve more than this… you deserve what your pride hungers for. So you let your wife “handle” the religious stuff. She’ll read them stories and keep them safe, but will your family ever DO anything to smite the enemy? We moms tend to just want to keep them safe and cooperative. How will your children learn the strategic art of being effective in this battle if you’re not modeling it? What example are you living, every minute, every word, every attitude? Be fierce in this battle and let your children see and hear it.
Ladies… we are not just bystanders in this battle, waving our kerchiefs to the brave warriors. We too, must put things in the perspective of this battle we’re in. Will it have an eternal impact on the kingdom if your wardrobe is fully updated every season? In this battle against the cosmic forces of darkness, does it matter that your baseboards are always dusted, or that we have the right purse, shoes, and tanlines for every outfit and occasion? The enemy whispers to us, too, doesn’t He? Be alert! Prepare everything! Pray at all times! Take up your shield of faith. He’s not just shooting flaming arrows at us, but at our children too. It’s not often we miss wounds that they receive, but we’re so ready to rise to their defense we forget where those flaming arrows originated. Don’t forget. Rise to their spiritual defense. That same darkness that wrestled to have Jesus in its death grip is a very sore loser. This evil doesn’t play fair and your children’s lives are at stake. It’s great when they decide to let Jesus be in charge of their life, but then what? They are watching your battle techniques. Are they seeing what He wants them to see? Let them see that He can defeat pride, selfishness, anger, lies, fear and bitterness. Don’t lie to them and make them think it’s easy and that you’ve always had it all together. Oh that hurts me. This girl does not have it all together.
Satan tells me I’m in way over my head. He shouts my weaknesses and taunts me with fear. He tells me it’s all a lie, this faith that I cling to, that I’m endangering my kids’ lives for no reason. That’s what the sword is for.
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
This is the only weapon necessary for the daily battle we are in. And it’s a weapon millions don’t even have. So we must go, and we must leave. A different side of the world, but the same battle.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6: 18-19