Sunday, June 1, 2008

Battle Ready Beauty

Because of Christ's supernatural power and the support, encouragement, and love that we receive from one another, we are indeed stronger and more equiped to fight the good fight of faith. And believe me it is a fight. Somedays are more challenging than others.

It is critical that we know what we are up against in this daily battle for freedom. I'd like to share an article I wrote that has been featured on Campus Crusade for Christ's many online magazines for quite some time now. I hope it will inspire and guide you as you prepare to live life as a Princess Warrior for Christ.

Under His Care

Carol Van Atta

Have you ever wondered why one day you experience a miraculous breakthrough in your spiritual growth, and the next day it seems like every thing from a flat tire to a heart wrenching tragedy occurs? Is it simply “bad luck”? Possibly - but doubtful. There is an enemy of our souls who seeks to kill and destroy us. Granted, this fiend is a defeated foe, but he can and will continue to give us distress from now until the day God permanently puts him out of commission. As believers in Christ, we can rest assured that this day will come.

When? Only God the Father knows for certain. Until then, we are to fight the good fight of faith and trust in our Lord, Savior, and Protector. In any battle it is crucial to know your enemy. What are his strengths? What are his weaknesses? The following list, from Willmington’s Book of Bible Lists, gives us the following scriptural insights into the nature and abilities of our advisory, Satan:

He was named Lucifer before his fall (Isaiah 14:12)
He was in Eden (Ezekiel 28:13)
He was the anointed cherub of God (Ezekiel 28:14)
He was adorned with precious stones (Ezekiel 28:13)
He was the perfection of wisdom and beauty (Ezekiel 28:12)
He fell through pride (Ezekiel 28:17)
He attempted to steal God’s throne (Isaiah 14:13)
He wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14:14)
He possesses intelligence (2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:3)
He possesses memory (Matthew 4:6)
He possesses a will (2 Timothy 2:26)
He possesses a desire (Luke 22:31)
He possesses pride (1 Timothy 3:6)
He possesses wrath (Revelation 12:12)
He possesses great organizational ability (1 Timothy 4:1, Revelation 2:9,24)

To sum it up, we are dealing with an intelligent, manipulating force bent on our destruction, and world domination. But this creature is just that - a creature! He was created. He is not the Creator! We serve the Creator of all things. A creative Heavenly Father, who can take what Satan intends for evil, and instead use it to glorify His Heavenly Kingdom.

Taking a Stand Against Evil
God provides us with an incredible arsenal of weapons, described in the book of Ephesians. But before we venture to put on our armor, I’d like to state a very important truth. Although, we are to take an offensive, as well as a defensive posture against evil, we are never to focus on the kingdom of darkness.

Quite the contrary, the closer we are to our Heavenly Father, the safer we are. It is when we venture out of His protective covering, and blatantly live in our own will, that we put ourselves in the direct line of fire. Maintaining an attitude and lifestyle of thankfulness, worship, obedience, confession, service, and love, will be our best defense against the wiles of the devil.

In the book of James, verses 4:6-10, James tells us in his “no-nonsense” manner that God will give us the strength we need to resist evil. We are to live humble lives, for God opposes the proud. We are to repent for our sinfulness, accept its seriousness, and bow before the Lord, acknowledging that we are dependent on Him and Him alone.

When we live in this manner, with confidence, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us! The reason I believe the following scripture is so important, is because it reminds us that we can’t just shout, “I resist you devil—now flee!” No, there is a lifestyle that must be in effect for our words to have meaning and for our enemy to take us seriously.

The destroyer knows when we are out of fellowship with our Creator, not because he is omnipresent, but because his hordes of fallen angels (demons) observe us, and wait for us to falter in our faith. But again, we need not fear. As we continue to fall in love with the Father, He will cover us, and as this scripture in the New Living Translation so beautifully states, God will honor us.

He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,“God sets himself against the proud,but he shows favor to the humble.”
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.
Thankfully, we are under God’s care. We belong to Him. We, dear friend, are his chosen ones, his daughters, and heiresses to his Heavenly Kingdom. The devil, like the big bad wolf, in Little Red Riding Hood, will attempt to deceive us into thinking he is the loving grandmother, tucked cozily under the fluffy, plaid quilt, on an oversized, cushy bed. But thankfully, our Lord, like the powerful Woodsman, will rescue us when we call out to him. Sometimes, “Help!” will be the best words to pass through our lips. God will hear our cry, and He will rescue us because it’s His nature, to love and protect us - His children.

Putting On the Armor of God
He also provides extremely effective weaponry for our personal protection. Armed with His truth, we are mighty warriors. In the days, months, and years ahead, let’s remember to put on our armor, The Armor of God, found in the book of Ephesians 6:10-18.

Though we are to take a stand, nowhere in God’s Word does it say that we are to pursue the devil and his evil forces. In fact, in the Lord’s Prayer, we are told to pray this way: “Lord, keep us from evil.” The best thing we can do is to avoid evil at all costs. It is plain foolishness to start looking for a demon under every bed, or behind every bush. It is inevitable that at some point we will face the devil, but that should never be our focus. Instead, our focus should always be on the only One deserving of our attention, Jesus Christ.

May God keep you, fellow Christian, as you fight the good fight of faith, one step and a prayer at a time. Why not use the following prayer as a way to visualize your commitment of putting on the Armor of God each day:

Dear Heavenly Father, I commit this day to You. I submit my will to Yours and recognize that You are my Commander and Chief. As Your warrior, I want to serve You with all my body, mind, and spirit. I put on the entire armor now. First, I place the belt of truth around my waist, Your truth God, which sets me free.
Then I secure the breastplate of righteousness across my chest, covering my heart and emotions. I place my feet in shoes shod with the gospel of peace. May I bring your peace into many situations today. I now take up the shield of faith. May this shield protect me from the fiery darts of my enemy.
I cover my head securely with the helmet of salvation. May my thoughts be on You, Lord, and may I think good, pure, and godly thoughts throughout my day.Finally, I pick up the sword of the Spirit, which is Your powerful Word, God. I use this sword to pierce through the enemy’s plans. For your Word tells us that all we must do is submit ourselves to you and tell the enemy to flee and he most go. So go Satan, in the name of Jesus!
Thank you in advance, Lord, for a day of victory!
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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