Sunday, July 6, 2008

Taking Our Stand

Some of you know that I am participating in a First Place group at my church. First Place is a wonderful Bible-based program that focuses not only on weight loss, but on bringing balance and wellness to the whole person...physically, mentally, emotionally and most important, spiritually. Our Bible study lesson this week is teaching us about expecting opposition as we commit areas of our lives to the Lord.

As Christians, we must remember that we have an enemy whose main goal is to steal, kill and utterly destroy all things. He is a murderer and a liar who likes nothing better than to stir up trouble. All you have to do is turn on the evening news to see that he's working overtime these days. The good news is that we are not defenseless.

The battle is in the spiritual realm...the unseen world. It is so easy to get caught up in the junk that is going on around us and to forget that. When we face opposition, we want to lash out at accuse and blame. But the Word of God makes it clear that our fight is not against other people, no matter what they have done. Our true enemy is Satan. Our fighting gear and battle plan are outlined in the following passage from Ephesians.

(The emphasis on the word "stand" is mine because I find it encouraging that we don't have to run and hide or be afraid when trouble comes, but rather to stand against the attacks in God's power.)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

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