General,  Lessons,  Trial

Prepared and Pursuing

Each morning we get up and prepare for the day. Each night we prepare for sleep. Seems we are always preparing for something. If we are following Christ and if we are leading others to do the same, we must be prepared for an enemy who does not want us to be effective as disciples.

I wrote about this in a LifeWay Women’s Ministry post several years ago. You can read that post The Devil is in My Face if  you’d like. Preparation involves knowing who our enemy is and finding ways to be equipped. Recently one of my daughters had very vivid experience of how the enemy works. Here is what she posted on Facebook about the experience:

I can be a mama bear. I am fiercely protective of my pack–my entire pack. Last night my pack was in danger and it’s not the first time ( I was just oblivious- I tend to have a Snow White personality, I love all the animals and they are all kind and good; I didn’t know what was lurking- I assumed a deer) I heard a rustle outside the fence where I thought my dogs were safe and can run and play carefree. I grabbed Dan’s mega flashlight that lights up a small city and there in the woods were two sinister eyes unaffected by the barking dogs and my flashlight; pacing back and forth staring right back at me. A coyote was waiting trying to figure out our patterns, who exactly was in the fence and the best time to jump it and grab a meal. He wasn’t scared. No concern or thought to the pain it would inflict or the trauma it would cause or the utter gut wrenching, rip my heart out torment I would experience over the death of one of my babies. Did you know coyotes can clear a 6 ft fence, grab a dog and carry it up to a mile to eat it- my fence is no where near 6ft!

I am waging war- he is not passing through, he is not stalking MY DOGS 😳😡 Little Uggie, Ridley and for now baby Hattie would not be able to defend themselves. I think the only hesitation is he isn’t sure about our Boxer Jack. Jack would put up a fight. Hattie is part Pyrenees – she and Jack will be our ultimate protectors  but she is only 5 weeks old.

Our happy go lucky Ridley brought me a present he had found, an “almost” completely gnawed clean cat leg, the entire leg; guys- the joints still worked as it swung back and forth 🤢. He is out there and he is hungry and he must be stopped.

I responded to my daughter that this is the most vivid illustration of the way the devil works in our lives. He has a strategy to figure us out, both our weaknesses and our habits. She then responded with this:  Since you took it in that direction- which is a good lesson. I want to scream at the coyote and say “ you don’t know them, they are good dogs. They are loving and caring, they strive to please and do the right thing. If you just knew them you would love them too! The coyote (and Satan) does not care how good, loving and kind they are. It won’t prevent them from being eaten alive.

Isn’t that the truth? 1 Peter 5:8-9 says “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.” 

Obviously, studying the Word is essential. Reading multiple times a week Ephesians 6:10-18 and applying each piece of the armor is one way we can do this. One of my daughters drew this artwork in her Bible as she journaled in church one Sunday listening to this passage preached. Look at each piece of this armor. Do you wear this daily?

As well as putting on the armor, there are things we need to get rid of and other things we are to pursue which you can see in passages like 1 Corinthians 6:18 (flee sexual immorality), 1 Timothy 6:11 (flee evil, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness), and 2 Timothy 2:22 (flee lustful passions and pursue a pure heart).

Romans 12:1-2 tells us “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

And Paul says in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable ​— ​if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy ​— ​dwell on these things.”

To be equipped to do battle with God’s power we must be aware of the enemy and his tactics and pursue Christlikeness. When we are dealing with a sin that has us in its grip we must turn our hearts from the sin to His holiness which is our standard for life.

When we are set apart for Christ, we can complete any assignment He has for us. (Check out 2 Timothy 2:21.) If you want to finish your race well:

  1. Know your enemy
  2. Trust God’s power to overcome the enemies tactics
  3. Pursue holiness in everything you do, no compromising integrity
  4. Stay in the Word as you grow in faith and holiness
  5. Rejoice that we do battle from a victory that Christ has already won!

I’d also recommend Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study Armor of God to go deeper into how to daily place your trust in the power of Christ to equip you to do battle. Don’t be found without your armor!

Banner Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

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