Friday, July 11, 2014

 
From time to time I am reminded why I chose "In the Battle" as the title for this blog. Our recent ministry trip to New Orleans, LA, and a few things that have happened since we returned have reminded me once again that we are in a battle...every one of us.
 
In New Orleans, I met several people who, through various circumstances, have found themselves living on the street. There are more people in my life who have recently been diagnosed with cancer than I want to think about. One of our church members has a chronically ill 4 month old son. I have a friend facing bankruptcy and another facing divorce. At any given time, we can all make a long list of people in our lives who are obviously struggling with something.
 
You may read this and count yourself lucky. You may be thankful that you are not in the middle of a battle. Perhaps you are not fighting a battle for all the world to see. To me, unseen battles are much harder to fight than the types listed above. Perhaps you fight depression, anxiety, addiction, loneliness, anger, hatred, unforgivness, or bitterness. Perhaps you fight jealousy, lust, pride, envy, greed, or selfishness. Maybe you feel insignificant or left out.
 
There is a common thread that runs through all of these...the enemy who heaps these troubles on us. We are in battle, every one of us, but our battle is not against people or sickness or circumstance. I was reminded of this earlier today. My brother was telling me about an encounter my nephew had in Africa last summer. He came face to face with a demonic force and was so terrified that he stayed up all night praying. The comment was made that we don't see spiritual warfare here in the USA like they do in other places.
 
This has had me thinking all morning.
 
No, we don't experience spiritual warfare here in the States like they do elsewhere, but that is not because there is none going on. When someone like my nephew spends a summer as a missionary in Africa, his focus is on Christ and only Christ; His prayer life is rich; he is dependent on God's provision; he looks for any opportunity to share the love of Christ; he is completely separated from distractions like television, cell phone, laptop, etc...how very different from how we spend most of our days here in the States. How often do we stay up all night praying for God's protection against Satan and his minions? Truth be told, most days we are no threat to Satan. Most days. we are too busy living our lives to threaten his plans for anyone's eternity. I truly believe that we would see Spiritual warfare unleashed in full force if we, as Christians, made the commitment to live like missionaries. I believe it strongly enough that I admit I am hesitant to do so. I have in the past and suffered greatly. While I know that ultimately the Battle is the Lord's, I also know that no battle is without it's wounded.
 
All this is just a simple reminder of the importance of the battle....
 
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of
God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.  Ephesians 6:10-13