6th December 2023
Garrett Kell offers
Tempted and Un-armed
It was the boy's first day of junior high.
All was going well until three older kids took his lunch, ruffled his hair, and stuffed him in a locker.
What the bullies didn't know, though, was that the kid in the locker was the little brother of the football team's 'starting middle linebacker.'
After lunch, the boy told his brother what happened. His brother looked him in the eyes. "Let's go." That was the last day they messed with him.
As Christians, we have a dangerous adversary. We face something far scarier than getting stuffed in a locker.
"Spiritual warfare is about God's people joining their Lord in his warfare."
So, when the apostle Paul instructs the Ephesian church about spiritual warfare, he begins by exhorting them not to go into the battle in their own strength.
He reminds them of their Elder Brother. He says,
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil".
Jesus is on a mission to rescue captive souls from a strong enemy.
This means that, when we follow Jesus, we follow him into a war zone.
Though Satan has been decisively defeated, and his future is doomed, he lives for the present.
He still schemes, stalks, deceives, ensnares, hinders, harasses, and attacks us with fiery darts of temptation.
On the wall of my childhood Sunday school classroom hung a poster of a Roman soldier's armour.
It explained that God's armour corresponded to what those first-century soldiers wore.
While there are similarities, Paul desires our imaginations to be captured by something far greater than a Roman soldier.
He wants us to see our warrior God, who powerfully fights "against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places".
The focus of spiritual warfare isn't Satan or an imaginary Roman soldier; it's our Saviour.
Too often, spiritual warfare is seen as an individual believer's call to put on armour and fight demonic forces alone, as if this is a test to prove his faith.
This couldn't be further from the truth.
Spiritual warfare is about God's people joining their Lord in his warfare. He equips and empowers us to accompany him into enemy territory and further his kingdom purposes.
Putting on God's armour isn't like dressing with clothes from your closet.
There's no mixing and matching, no switching out for whatever the season may require.
Spiritual armour is applied by faith, daily - and the entire letter of Ephesians teaches us how to put it on.
At times, we fail to put on the armour.
We get busy with our own pursuits, and when the struggle sneaks up on us, we try to fight in our own strength.
We step out from under our Lord's strength and are overcome by temptation.
When this happens, we must not lose heart, but rather cry to our warrior God, our great Saviour, who leaves none of his fellow soldiers behind.
He will not allow us to be snatched from his grasp.
Rather, he will throw us over his shoulder, and take us to green pastures and still waters, where he will restore our souls.
In him we are strengthened to go back into battle, knowing that our warrior God
"will soon crush Satan under your feet".
This is an edited version. The full article and Bible references are avaiable on request
Pastor, Alexandria, Virginia
is the author of Pure in Heart: Sexual Sin and the Promises of God.
He also serves as pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.
He is married to Carrie and they have six children.
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