James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
In the authors notes of the book Masquerade this verse introduces the spiritual battle that the main character fights… and laments that we don’t know how long we need to resist before the devil flees.
Know this, my friends… when you step out in Gods name, doing His work, the devil isn’t going to like it. The devil and his evil minions will do everything in their power to derail your efforts. But know this… God is still more powerful than they are… they are created beings…and the Creator is most powerful.
For the past two Sundays our pastor has been preaching about preparing for spiritual battle. Reading from Ephesians 6, he has instructed us to put on Gods armor. Without Gods armor, we are weak. In and of ourselves, we cannot stand against the spiritual warfare that Satan wages.
Masquerade is a realistic fiction book written over ten years ago. It journals a four month spiritual battle fought by a middle aged Christian mother of three. The woman had been a Christian for many years, having been delivered from depression and suicidal thoughts. She KNEW the battle she fought in her mind was the devil hitting her where she was weakest. She knew it… and she knew that, with Gods help, she would raise victorious…. but the war was tough! It nearly killed her. Literally. To date, it has been the most oppressive battle I have personally faced. It was literally for my soul…
I vividly remember fighting that battle. It was a literal oppression that weighed on me like a blanket of bricks. I could feel evil around me, waiting to devour me….
Not long before this battle, I had become a youth leader in our church, and a mentor for a program that helps young adults battle addictions. I made a decision to be “All in” for Christ… and the devil didn’t like it.
The devil hit me in all of the areas I was weak… every one of them. I knew I was too weak to resist and so I put on Gods armor… it was during this time I learned to truly pray and truly submit myself to God. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I had no idea how long I needed to stand strong in the lord before the devil would flee… it seemed an eternity. But i knew that, with Gods help, I would come out stronger and more steadfast on the other side.
God is raising up warriors, my friends. In order to be a warrior, you’ve got to put His armor on. Over my lifetime, I’ve seen many come to know the saving grace of a Christ… and I’ve seen many who, when things got tough, retreated from the battle because it was too difficult… and returns to their previous lifestyle of sin and darkness. This is exactly what the devil wants… we cannot let him win….
11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.14 Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15 Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16 Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.
Ephesians 6:11-17 | CEV
Last summer, nearly ten years after the spiritual battle described in the book, I entered battle again, this time for my friend “Rob”. The battle was for his soul… I felt strongly that God was calling Rob to straight some things in his life because God has a purpose for him and the devil was trying to thwart. I very clearly remember God asking me, “will you still trust me when it gets really bad?” I answered, “of course, Lord” and knew in my heart that I was in for a doozy. I was indeed.
That battle was far more difficult than the last, but somehow less oppressive. During this battle, I fought other “Christians” who launched attacks on me that, quite frankly confused me… until I realized that satan uses all kinds of people to try to get what he wants… I won’t say a lot about that battle here today but suffice to say it lasted longer than the last. Yet God prevailed.
As I see the growth in Robs life, I know God is preparing him for battle too.. and that battle has begun as Rob has witnessed to his friend Richard, who doesn’t believe in God. I need to ask all prayer warriors to gather around Rob and pray… pray that his spirit will not be broken. I know first hand how powerful the devil is… and how he can cause people to fall away. I also know first hand that my God is far more powerful… I am praying a hedge of protection around Rob… that he would be strengthened in the Lord to fight the ensuing battle.
And, friends, if there are any others out there who need prayer for spiritual warfare, let’s all gather together! There is strength in numbers.
Victory in Jesus!