As I’ve mentioned a few times this week, I have definitely felt the arrows of the devil this week. “The best defense is a good offense“ is an adage that has been applied to many fields of endeavor, including games and military combat. Also known as the Strategic Offensive principle of war. Make no mistake, as Christians we are at war. “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.” (Eph. 6:12-13)
So what is the best offense? “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) In Paul’s letter to the the church at Ephesus, he tells them that they need to understand the will of God: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-20)
God is not one to speak in generalities. When He whispers from the pages of Scripture or confronts through a friend’s words, the Father directly addresses issues in His children’s lives. God wants us to learn His ways and principles, to recognize our own frailty, and to identify the needs of others. He does more than offer this as head knowledge—He makes truth applicable to our lives. “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14) Imagine how effective your prayers will be if you’ll shift the emphasis of your petitions to the Lord’s desires.
Our lives are shaped by our belief system. What we hold as true influences our thinking. In turn, how we think affects our character, conduct, and conversation. God is determined to mold His children into Christlikeness so that they reflect His gospel to the world. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Thank God not for your problems, but for the strength He is building in you through the difficult experiences of your life. You can be sure that God’s perfect love will see you through. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)
- NIV Study Bible and my study this week
- Why God Speaks