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A Personal Enemy



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.


Ephesians 6:10,11


At one point, people thought that if something was wrong, it was just an unfortunate accident. If we had more information, better technology, we’d be able to not just solve the problem, but prevent it. This is the plot to the movie, Minority Report[1]. We could eliminate murder, hurt, and pain only if we were just a little bit smarter. Had a little bit more data. Better technology.


The idea that there is an evil spiritual being who’s against us isn’t very modern thinking. That was from the old times when people believed in all that stuff. But now, since so many things seem to be against us, it’s got to be more than an accident. Perhaps there is someone who’s not just against us but wants nothing less than our destruction. And since Jesus taught about and cast out demons, perhaps there is something to all this devil thing.


God didn’t just leave us to try and figure it out how to protect ourselves or fight this powerful enemy on our own. He gives us very specific instructions to follow. And it all starts with the way we get dressed.


It starts with putting on strength. But we’re not just to put strength on like a shirt. Once you put the shirt on, it’s on. There’s nothing left to do. We’re told to continually be putting on strength. To keep putting on strength.


And how do you keep putting on this strength throughout the day? You do it in the Lord. You look to Jesus not only as your savior and God, but as the source of strength that we continually need. We are to depend on him, remain in him, to stay connected with him all the time. As we keep growing into him, he grows into us[2].


When we continually give him ourselves, he gives us his mighty power in return. Not just power, or some power, but mighty power. The kind of power that can take us through the day, no matter what’s happening around us or to us.


But being strong in the Lord isn’t just something that automatically happens. You don’t push a button on your phone, you don’t just throw up a quick prayer and boom, mighty power comes down.


No, mighty power comes from the continual living with, standing with Jesus throughout your day. Throughout your life. We need to be constantly looking to Jesus to provide what we need and then gratefully accepting whatever he gives.


And how are we told to do this? By putting on the whole armor of God. Not just a piece, but all of it. That requires our daily effort to put on everything that God has given. No one can put it on for you. You have to do it yourself. For yourself. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes practice. It takes skill. All the things we don’t like.


We may be thinking that we need some great big instant miracle that shakes the ground. We might believe that he must answer our desperate prayer in a certain way, at a specific time. We come up with all sorts of solutions and ways that God can show up for us.


When God showed up in Jesus, hardly anyone got it. They were looking for a great military and political leader who was going to kick the Romans out. They were looking for someone who’d have a great palace in Jerusalem and sit on a throne. They were looking for someone who was going to fix their problems in a certain way.


But when Jesus comes on the scene, he wasn’t what people were expecting. He wasn’t what they wanted. Yes, he was a king, but his kingdom was not of this world[3]. Instead of a superior sovereign, he was a suffering servant[4].


So, how’s your daily putting on all of God’s armor going? Do you spend time alone with God each and every day? Do you talk with him throughout the day? Do you set aside some time to be with God and his word so that he can talk with you?


If you’re like most people, the answer is no. Not often enough. Sometimes. When the Spirit moves me. I’ll get to it when things settle down. Now I understand all those answers. I’ve used them myself. And they make sense if this world is all there is. But since there is a God who made you, who died for you, who’s coming back for you, then we need to have different priorities.


And yes, there is an enemy out there who’s trying with all his might to bring you down. Martin Luther understood this when he wrote these words.


And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

we will not fear, for God has willed his truth to triumph through us.

The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;

his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure;

one little word shall fell him[5].


And that one little word is Jesus.


Noodling Questions


  • How would you describe Satan?

  • How has he influenced your life?

  • Describe your daily effort and routine to put on God’s armor.

[1] https://youtu.be/arACDYMiNuI [2] John 15:4 [3] John 18:36 [4] Isaiah 53:1-12 [5] A Mighty Fortress Is our God, Martin Luther (1529)

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