I have sometimes wondered what it is to live in a war zone. I have pondered upon the perpetual uncertainty there must be about whether or not you are going to be swept up in the conflict.
And yet if you are in the place where the Lord wants you to be and you are seeking to serve the Lord diligently, then you are in a war zone. The enemy of our souls hates the people of God serving the Lord and making progress in grace. It is unsurprising then to see that one of the ways our dealings with the devil is presented is that of being armed against our enemy. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:11-17:
Put on the full armour 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 armour 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round 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.
Let us ponder then on some issues of being in a war zone:
- Shrapnel: Sometimes you can get hit with material which does not specifically concern you, but can cause you a lot of damage. Shrapnel can hurt and wound.
- Shield of faith: We need this shield. We need this trust in God. Satan has many flaming arrows which come our way. In and of ourselves, we are powerless to prevent those arrows penetrating and causing harm. We need the shield of faith. Oh how glorious it is to pick up the shield when you feel like your soul is about to be incinerated by a fiery dart. The shield is raised up and we can see a God who is in control of all things.
- Vicious tactics: Satan is in a win-at-all-costs game. He does not play by the rules. If we apply the boxing analogy, the Queensbury rules are jettisoned in order that he might destroy his enemies. We must not expect Satan to be fair.
- Unexpected Attack: Satan is the master of the unexpected attack. When we are feeling that all is easy and we can relax, he is prone to launch an assault.
- Think on Salvation: Our thoughts are protected when we are continually thinking of the goodness of God in saving us through Christ.
- The Word of God: This is the only offensive weapon in the armory. We must use the Word against Satan. The Lord used the Word in the temptations in the wilderness. There is power in the Word – let us never forget that. Let us wield the Word wisely, and let us therefore pray.
- Leaders: Satan particularly wants to take out leaders. He wants pastors, elders and evangelists to fall. We must therefore pray particularly for them.
- The Most Effective: This reminds me that those who are the most effective in serving God are the most effected by his attacks. See this post here for further details.
- Satan is defeated: A sister in the church here in Feltham sometimes speaks in prayer of telling Satan to pack his bags and be-gone. And truly this is right. Satan has no victory over us because Christ has defeated him. Hebrews 2;14 reads: Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil.
One day, we will be taken out of this war zone. In heaven we will know all peace. We look forward, but we are not in glory yet. Now, we must fight.