Recently we’ve been discussing spiritual warfare at my church. Anytime this topic is broached, it seems, you always land in Ephesians 6 to discuss the armor of God. Certainly you don’t have to limit yourself to these verses to have a conversation or a sermon about it, but you definitely can’t ignore it either. As I have thought about spiritual warfare over the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized three things that we should all be aware of in our spiritual lives.
We Are At War
It really is war
I’m not sure enough of us really take spiritual warfare seriously. Granted, too many people want to think a demon is behind every rock or that if something bad happens the devil made them do it. But do they really believe they are in a war? Too few really do.
If you are in a war, you have to be prepared for two things: defend yourself and fight. As my pastor said, and we could ask any soldier, if the military is not in an actual war, then they will train for the day they are in battle. We may not see evidence of the wars or battles in our lives presently, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t coming. We must prepare to defend ourselves against the enemies attacks. We must be prepared to fight with the weapon the Lord has given us. We cannot wait until the enemy confronts us to get ready. He is ready to shoot his fiery darts at us and roams around seeking who he can devour. He is at war with us and it’s time for us to acknowledge it.
Put On Your Armor
We have to put on our armor
If we are at war with an enemy, then we need to put our armor on before we meet him in battle. Are we really wearing the belt of truth or breastplate of righteousness? No enemy in war will wait until who he is attacking is fully clothed. That would be silly. Our enemy isn’t waiting until we put our armor on before he attacks us. We need to put it on and sleep in it and eat in it. We don’t know when the attack is coming.
Leave Your Armor On
Don’t take the armor off
If we put the armor on, we cannot be found taking it off. We can’t assume the battle is won and we can relax. We must keep the armor on. The attack will come when we least expect it and that is when we are most apt to take the armor off. Don’t do it.
You and I are in a battle every day. The ultimate war is won. We must prepare ourselves for the assault that will come as the enemy attempts to take as many of us out as he can.
What would you add to spiritual warfare?
Have you ever used a Christian Copout? I have. Many times. For the sake of not taking personal responsiblity, I have used the following excuses for the way things have turned out in my life. I may not have used these exact words, but these are basically what I mean.
The Devil Made Me Do It
The Devil tempted me. He presented me with an opportunity that I couldn’t resist. He knows exactly where I am weak and attacked me there. He tripped me up. He caused me to stumble there. I had a real bout of spiritual warfare there, but I lost that one. I’ll try harder next time.
The truth is, I wanted to do it. It wasn’t something that I should have done, but I wanted to. So, I did it, but it sounds spiritual when I can pin the blame on the Devil. That way it wasn’t really my fault. This didn’t work for Geraldine (hope some of you get that Flip Wilson reference) and it doesn’t work for us.
God Told Me To
There really isn’t an argument you can put up with someone who uses this one, is there? They say God told them to. End of discussion. They will play that card over and over. “Why am I walking around barefoot? I was reading in Exodus that God told Moses to take his shoes off when he approached the burning bush. I know that is a word from the Lord for me to not wear shoes.” I know that is a silly example, but I have heard people use something similar. I bet you have too.
God Hasn’t Told Me
The exact opposite of the previous one. This one helps someone avoid responsibility. An important decision needs to be made. You don’t want to do it, but you don’t want to come across as not being spiritual. “Would you like to chaperone at the youth conference?” “No, I’m sorry. God hasn’t told me to.”
Or here is another variation. A decision needs to be made. You don’t like the direction that someone else wants the decision to go. What do you say? “God hasn’t given me that answer.” Really, you don’t like the other decision, but you cloud it up with spiritual talk. You paralyze the proceedings.
We’ve All Done It
I’m not getting onto to you if you’ve done this before. We have all used one of these excuses or something like it.
I just want to encourage to stop it.
Don’t blame the Devil. Don’t do something you want to do and blame God. Don’t stall by saying that God hasn’t told you.
Pray about it. Make a decision. Live with it. Stop using Christian Copouts.
It’s not going to screw up His plan for you. Whatever the decision, it was His plan.
Have you ever used an excuse like these to avoid responsiblity for something?