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Spiritual Warfare

November 2, 2012

I was reading 1 Peter 5:1-9 as part of the Our Daily Bread daily devotional recently, and I was struck by verses 8 and 9 in particular:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

I’ve heard people talk about spiritual warfare before, but most of the time it sounded really esoteric, kind of like an over-dramatized reason for whatever problem they were having that day. But reading this passage and the accompanying devotional message helped me to see things in a different way. The devil, Satan, is looking for people to snatch up. I believe that most of the people in this world truly desire to good and be good, but too often we fail. A result of imperfection for sure, but also because the devil is constantly goading and tempting us to do the things we shouldn’t do.

I’m also reminded of Ephesians 6:10-18, which calls us to “put on the full armor of God,” and to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Part of our role as Christians is to do battle, to go up against the forces of evil and serve in God’s army. This doesn’t mean picking up real-life weapons, but instead using the “sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.”

Our faith, our prayers, our reading and meditation of God’s word are acts of war against evil. We are tempted everyday on all sides. Should we tell the store cashier that she gave us too much change back (isn’t it her fault anyway)? Should we really tell our spouse the truth about where we were even though we think we really weren’t doing anything wrong? Should we put down a full day’s work on our time sheet even though we took a very leisurely lunch (but we really need the money)? These situations may seem minor, but they are skirmishes in the spiritual battle. And the devil is working around the clock – putting in overtime even – to pull you away from God.

A good book for men on this topic is Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul by John Eldredge. It addresses how men long for a battle in life even from boyhood, and how we are in fact engaged in a spiritual battle every second, even if we don’t realize it.

We are locked in spiritual battle. Every day we choose how we are going to fight that battle. The devil is on the prowl, hoping we will slip up and get dragged away like those scary shadow demons in the movie Ghost. If we remain on God’s side, we will emerge from the battle victorious, and free to fight another day.

From → Faith

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