Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 7:: Always ready

We have a very real enemy in this world.  An enemy who the Bible says 'prowls around like a roaring lion' waiting to devour you.  (1 Peter 5:8)

An enemy that may have already waged war on your marriage and won.  An enemy that would love nothing more than to watch you flail and fail in life.

He knows just where to hit to make you crumble.  He knows which buttons to push.  He knows your weaknesses.  He studies you, watches you.

He can not know your thoughts.  But he knows what you are thinking based on your mannerisms.  He hears what comes out of your mouth.  He waits to push you into a crisis of temptation.

He entices you to choose a path he's laid.

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He tempts until you cave.

He is cunning.  He's a liar.  He's deceitful.  He's accusing.  He's sly.  He's wicked.  And he's successful. 

If he wasn't, we wouldn't struggle.  Our flesh could overcome.  We wouldn't have need for a Savior.  The cross would not have been.

And he uses whatever tactic he can to draw you from the One who loves you, to draw you from His will.

Know the enemy

Military strategy or war tactics, includes one imperative step:  study of the enemy.  To watch and wait and learn and plan an attack that over powers, overcomes and in turn, defeats. 

They go in educated.  Prepared.  Ready for the 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.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  (Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV)

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  People will hurt you.  They will make you angry.  They will be insensitive.  They may cut straight to the bone.  But our enemy does not embody a person.

I've had to remember who the real enemy is over and over through my separation and impending divorce.  Because words sting.  Actions cripple.  Lies, like hurricane winds, pick you up and turn you around and disorient.

But what I am really witnessing and experiencing is a spiritual battle being lost.  That understanding by no means excuses behavior.  But it can lessen the sting and begin the slow groundwork in a foundation to forgiveness.

These moments give me the opportunity to exercise a choice:  Am I going to stand firm, or give into temptation to retaliate? 

Am I going to go down in flames seeking vengeance of my own, or overcome?

Have you read Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst?

Lysa gives you practical advice on how to hold it together when your emotions are running wild in your heart.  And she encourages you to learn in grace: grace for you and grace for others.

It comes down to choice, doesn't it?  A sometimes grueling choice.


Occasionally the attacks may be less obvious.  You may find yourself in the middle of battle not remembering the initial hit. 

Maybe you're not deep into sin.  Life is cruising along just fine.  You got this.  

But then you realize you are far off course and surrounded by the deep dark.  It's a slow drift really. 
But just as terrifying.  

Distraction.  By someone or something.  Maybe even yourself.  Your wants, your needs, your desires.

The sly tactic of distraction may not seem to threaten.  You may not be doing anything wrong or bad.  But when diversion creeps in, we're not making the most of every opportunity to follow God in His will.  And in turn, we're missing out on  an opportunity to grow and be blessed and to glorify Him. 

Distraction gives wind to our sails with no set course. 



When we try to do life on our own, we lose so much.  We forfeit true fellowship with Christ through other believers.  We relinquish the benefit of having our burdens carried, as well as the blessing of walking alongside others.  We are more prone to give into temptation when we discard accountability.

Those Sunday mornings where it would be a lot easier to just stay home from church.  That dinner outing, that as time approaches seems unappealing.  That feeling that maybe they didn't want you there anyway.  Those are direct hits to isolate you.  Alienate you.  Make you do life on your own.   

Isolation weakens our defenses.  Fight it with all of your being.


"She is smarter, thinner, prettier..."
"Her children are always so well-behaved."
"I wish I could have..."

It begins early.  I almost wonder if it's an innate instinct to compare.  As early as Kindergarten does it begin to rear it's ugly head.  Especially for women.

Comparison leads to feelings of inadequacy.  It begins the negative self-talk that tears us down from the inside.

It always defeats and can cripple our purpose when we do not feel worthy of goodness.

Try and see yourself the way God sees you.  Loved.  Capable.  Beautiful.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

The Armor 

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Let's go back to Ephesians 6 for just a minute.  Verses 14-18

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Defense mostly.  Ways to stand against the attack, protected by our Lord.

This battle is just a small part of the war.  The war has already been won with Jesus on the cross.  Victory is ours to claim through His blood.  

He asks us to stand firm against these attacks and most importantly to know His Word.  To study our Bibles so we know how to defeat.  

When Jesus was tempted in the dessert He used scripture to battle with Satan.  We can do the same.  

Ultimately, we don't have to plan an attack because the wars is won.  We do have to be on guard.  We do have to stand firm. We need to know our own weaknesses and be on the lookout for the next attack.

Then we'll be ready.

Always ready.

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