Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Standing Firm Against the Enemy

     When I hung my bird feeder over a year ago, it was placed in a small oak tree near our home.  My intent was to attract the beautiful Florida birds that live in and around Serenity Acres.  I delight in watching the Indigo Bunting and his mate, the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red Winged Black Birds and other varieties that come for a visit.  Lately, however, my lovely feeding station has been invaded by the many squirrels who also inhabit our acreage.
     In an effort to drive them away and keep them from depleting my bird seed, my husband hung one of my flower pots upside down over the top of the feeder to serve as a baffle for the squirrels.  They just use it as a stepping stone to get to the feeder.  Then, I tried purchasing a holder and ears of dried corn to hang from a nearby tree to attract them to this area and away from my bird feeder.  Once again, they would eat some of the corn and then return to the scene of the crime.
     On my day off from work, I find myself going outside at least a million times during the day to scare them off my bird feeder.  Sometimes I stand at the door and hiss like a snake, and my husband merely chuckles at me.  He says I remind him of "Wiley Coyote" and the "Road Runner".  I try and try to get the squirrels to back off and nothing seems to work.  As we all know, poor "Wiley Coyote" has no luck either in catching up with the "Road Runner".  At least, I am making a good effort to stand against those sneaky squirrels, and in some respects this is not unlike what we are called to do as believers.
     Scripture teaches us to stand against the enemy of our souls.  In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes:  "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:10-13).
     In this passage, Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord.  There is no expectation by the Apostle that we can be strong on our own accord.  We all know how easy it is to give in to temptation and our efforts alone are not enough to ward off the attack of the enemy.  We need God's power, wisdom and insight if we are to stand our ground.  Additionally, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God.  There are two things we can learn from this admonition.  First, God has provided for us a means of protection.  Secondly, when we employ this spiritual armor, we are able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  This should be a comfort to us because life is filled with difficulties, pit falls, and temptations.  Furthermore, we are not battling people as we sometimes think we are.  Yes, we all meet those hard to get along with individuals, but the real battle comes from the spiritual powers of evil behind the darkness of this present age.  In fact, Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:8-9:  "...for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)...."  This is our purpose in standing to act as a contrast to the darkness which rules hearts and minds of unbelievers in this world system.
     Paul goes on in Ephesians 6 to describe the armor and weapons which God has supplied for us.  Of course, they are all important.  The helmet of salvation protects our mind.  This is the entry point where temptation can come knocking on our door.  The breastplate of righteousness protects the heart.  This is the seat of our will and emotions.  Taking a dart from the enemy in this area can leave us wounded which is why it is critical to keep this piece of protection in place.  Next comes the belt of truth for without truth we cannot combat the lies of the enemy.  Paul then goes on to tell us that we must put on shoes which protect our feet as they did the Roman soldiers.  They give us stability and protection in battle and are founded upon the peace of the Gospel which readies us for war.  Then, he tells us to take up the shield of faith which puts out the flaming darts of the enemy.  We know that we will be assaulted, challenged, attacked.  To be without this important defensive device is to leave ourselves exposed.  Finally, the most critical offensive device is the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  We know that Jesus defeated the enemy in the wilderness by wielding the Word of God as a weapon against Satan.  What did Satan do?  He left Him.  If we carefully handle God's Word, we will also defeat the powers of darkness that wage war against our souls.
Armor displayed in the Tower
of London Museum
     Three times in the book of Ephesians chapter 6, Paul repeats the admonition for us to stand firm.  We can do this only if we are prepared, prayed up, and ready to handle God's Word with care and accuracy.  Unlike "Wiley Coyote", we are victorious in our efforts to combat the enemy of our souls, but only through the power of God's strength and might.
     Thus far, my efforts to fight off the squirrels with baffles, extra feeding stations, and my attempts at scaring them, haven't worked completely, but this doesn't mean I am giving up.  I will continue to plot my strategy to outwit them.  In the same way, we need to continue to stand firm in our faith and not give in to the enemy who wants to demoralize, depress and discourage us.  We are more than conquerors in Christ and this is what we must remember.  "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4) needs to be our motto in this battle.  Daily, lets remember to put on our armor trusting in God to give us strength, feeding our minds in His Word so we can refute the lies of the enemy and praying that we might have God's battle plan.  This is how we will be able to stand firm as vessels of light in this dark world.  Until He comes again, may we be found faithful.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts today.  Please leave your comments.  I enjoy reading them and I know others are blessed as well.

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