“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” From the movie The Usual Suspects

There is a battle that occurs in the lives of believers everyday. This is not a physical battle that is played out flesh to flesh. It is not a battle that is fought with an army of soldiers. The battle that Christians face is one of a spiritual nature.

Here in our western mind and culture these ideas are viewed as crazy and far-fetched. When we talk about a spiritual realm in which battles occur that we can’t see, it is hard to understand. The real danger is that we have marginalized any idea of forces working behind the scenes. Instead we like to pick our battles with the people and ideologies we do see. We think these things are our enemy and we do what we can to tear people down and spend all our time and energy on the things we see because it is easier to attack what you see than what you don’t see.

Let me give you a real life example. We have a church in our area that attracts a lot of people; they would be considered a mega-church. We have had people leave our church and go over there to worship. There are some people who respond with a voice of hostility thinking that evil church over there is stealing our people. I respond every time the same way…we are not in competition with that church or any other church in the area. This is not where we should be spending our energy or time. Instead I point out the people in our area that have no connection with a church or with God. The devil loves when we take our eyes off the real issues and focus on trying to destroy other churches and their people.

The fact is that our real enemy is not people, churches or even other religions. The real enemy is the devil and the evil forces that come from him. I know that people can be evil all by themselves without the devils help but that does not mean we can ever believe the devil is not real. The devil disguises himself as a child of the light and will attempt to lie and deceive to achieve his evil goal. The devil will take our personality (something that God created us with to set us apart from others) and use it in ways that hurts others.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The devil lives in the extremes of our life. He prowls around waiting for the right time to pounce. Whenever we take something to the extreme it can used for evil. For example, food needs to be consumed for our health, but taken to the extreme we can eat ourselves to death. We can see that even extreme devotion to religious causes can be taken to a radical extreme. The good cause can overshadowed when we fight to the death anyone who might oppose it. The cause may be just and right but taken to the extreme we become no better than the Pharisees of scripture.  The Pharisees guarded the laws that they spelled out to the highest degree. They were so blinded by their own traditions that they missed the messiah as he stood in front of them. In our extremes, whatever they may be, the devil can use it not only to draw us away from God but others around us. This is the real battle that exists in the lives of every believer. You might not believe in the devil but he sure does believe in you.

So what can be done about the battle that rages on? What can we do with the devil to keep him at bay? First we need to recognize that he is real but we don’t have to have an unhealthy interest in him. Second, we need to realize that spiritual battles need to be fought on the spiritual realm. Hear from Paul as he speaks to the church in Ephesus about the spiritual battle.

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.” Ephesians 6:10-17

If you notice there are a lot of defensive weapons that are mentioned but only one offensive. The Word of God is the only offensive weapon that we need against the devil’s attacks. We need to be in the Word to make sure we have the weapon to fend off the devil’s attacks. This is the whole reason why Christians are encouraged to be in the Word on a daily basis. Those daily encounters will equip us for the battles we face over a lifetime.

As Christians we have the weapons and the armor from God himself, why not use them? What are the scripture verses that you go back to time and time again when you are faced with battle? Please share, as you can be an encouragement to others that are facing similar battles.

Strap on the armor and carry your sword as God goes with you today. Be blessed!

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