Read His Words Before Ours!
“Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary, the devil,
is prowling around like a roaring lion,
looking for anyone he can devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
Do you know what it means to “prowl?” Images of lions (Thank you, Apostle Paul!) and tigers come to mind, but let’s break it down a little more.
Merriam Webster defines prowl as “to move about or wander stealthily in or as if in search of prey; to roam over in a predatory manner.”
Stealthy is defined as “slow, deliberate, and secret in action or character; intended to escape observation.”
Do you know what might be is the stealthiest warfare tactic in the history of the world?
Listen, Loves. This is important.
It is to convince those you aim to destroy their battle isn’t with you at all. Better yet? Persuade them you don’t even exist, you are powerless, and all conflict they encounter lies wholly in the hands of their fellow humans.
This is how the enemy works. And friend? He is really, really good at it . . . but he can only ever be as successful as we allow him to be. That’s right; we are active participants in this struggle.
The book of Ephesians is packed full of Paul’s divinely inspired instruction and guidance on how to become spiritually mature, growing in faith and favor. Ephesians gives practical, God-breathed guidelines for us to follow if we want to live a holy life. As Paul concludes his epistle, we find ourselves walking through the word picture of God’s armor, which we are unpacking in this Journey Theme, Shielded.
Tucked right in the heart of the passage, in verse 12, lies the important truth we are digging into today:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” Ephesians 6:12
Truth? Sometimes when we’re (read: I’m) in the midst of a respectful disagreement passionate discussion (oh, let’s drop the pretty words and just be real) conflict with our
the very last thing on our minds is understanding our struggle is not with the person in front of us at all, but with the enemy and unseen forces at work behind the scenes.
A little more Truth? When we find our frustration and ire rising toward the person and not the enemy, we are allowing Satan to take ground.
We can’t allow this unwitting collaboration to continue any longer, Friend! We must stay alert and take care not to ascribe any glory to the enemy, but at the same time, we must also be aware of exactly who he is and how he works so we can refrain from falling for his traps.
Scripture tells us many things about the enemy and his tactics.
- He is a tempter. His fruit is only sin.
- He is deceptive and cunning. He works to lead our minds astray.
- He is both a murderer and a liar . . . and he’s good at it. He is the very father of lies, for no truth can be found in him.
- He comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.
- He is a stumbling block who works to distract and monopolize our focus with human concerns.
- He seeks to prey on us when we least expect it, so we will be caught off guard and unable or unwilling to resist him.
- He twists and distorts Truth to disarm and deceive us.
- He masquerades as an angel of light, and those who serve him do the same.
Now that we know who he is and how he works, let’s walk through the next bit of truth Paul delivers.
“For this reason, 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.”
Did you catch that? “For this reason” implies what immediately follows must take place because of what came directly before, which is verse 12.
Here’s how I read it [my words are in bold]:
“For this reason [because your battle is against unseen enemy forces], take up the full armor of God [allow yourself to be clothed in God’s spiritual armor rather than your own weak defenses], so that you may be able [it will be possible for you] to resist [to stand firm when he attacks] in the evil day, and having prepared everything [having prepared yourself and yielded to spiritual maturity], to take your stand [stand firm under God’s protection].” Ephesians 6:13 CSB
In other words, Paul is issuing a call to us: we need to wear the right armor into battle.
If we attempt to battle spiritual forces with our own armor of will or determination (our flesh),
we will fail.
If we attempt to withstand the attack of the enemy in any “spiritual” armor of our own making (our works),
we will fail.
If we attempt to defeat the enemy with our understanding, knowledge or intellect (our soul),
we will fail.
But there’s hope! If we heed Paul’s instruction, allow God Himself to clothe us in His armor and grow in our spirit,
we will be able to stand!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!