Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's Real...

From prison, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a Faith Community in the city of Ephesus. He's not an angry young prophet, or sensationalist. Paul is a veteran spiritual leader, seasoned by years of unswerving commitment. When we read that letter today, it is broken into chapter and verses. You probably know all that, but it's helpful to think of its personal nature, rather than approach it impersonally. Paul writes with the passion of experience. He knows. He cares. He loves the recipients.

In chapter six, the Apostle Paul, tells his Christ-follower friends that they are under spiritual attack from multiple directions. Descriptive language, describes layer upon layer of oppression and unrelenting resistance against their profession of faith. It isn't fanciful, it's real. Whether they recognized it or not, Paul describes the marshaling of evil like a siege of sorts, schemed by a brilliant, but rotten to the core, mastermind, called, Diablos. Diablos is an old word that means "Accuser." For us English speaking people it's translated "Devil." It's more than a name--it's a description of his character. His bent.

And how's this for irony? The "Accuser" is actually the first of all created beings to be accused--and found guilty--of high treason against his Creator. Yet, day-after-day, the Accuser rails accusations against those who have humbly confessed to that same Creator that they, too, are guilty sinners. But with one gigantic difference: they found grace and forgiveness and redemption in the provision of God's Only Son.

Consider this...

The Accuser sees God's people, individually or collectively, as target rich environments. He is methodical and sly. To be successful, he must disarm them. What does he do?

Truth? He waters down God's, by mixing an ounce of it with an ocean of lies.

Righteousness? He would convince the faithful it is of the designer type--self-righteousness. Make your own check-list. It's easy!

Standing and withstanding? "Take a stand, but neither on, for, or against anything."

Shield of faith? With soul killing intention, he lets the red-hot arrows fly. Unstoppable, and unquenchable, except by the shield of faith, that he would convince the timid to lay down.

Helmet of salvation? Heads, once clear and discerning, he numbs and confuses with cloudy thinking.

Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God? With an evil heart, he slashes at the believer's spirit. If possible, have them forget there is a sword with which they can fight back.

Paul says, "The battle is real. Put on the whole armor of God...and fight!

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