Last night I had a conversation with a young man that had some struggles that he was dealing with that sounded strikingly familiar to my battle at his age, but he was handling it much better. He was at VBS talking to an old man about them instead of the approach I chose at the time.
He had a child and chose to bring them to Vacation Bible School. We talked quite a while, and we talked about the good the bad and the ugly, but it was a very good discussion.
There is this war and the adversary will use anything he can to distract us, even good things, to keep us from what is best for us, but his I think one of his favorites is to make us think we are the only ones that have ever faced a specific battle and no one understands our plight. But last night for a little while God put the two of us together to talk about not only surviving the battle but winning.
And that all just sent me through God’s Word and some devotionals that I enjoy by Tozer and Chambers. But the first was Ephesians 6:10-20.
We talked about the adversary and his desire to draw us into selfish desires, and the futility of listening, and I thanked him for being in church this week, and the influences here and we talked about taking idle time and spending it in the Word. I recommended John and Ephesians. I did not recommend Ephesians 6, but we talked all around this passage.
Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV) The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
That armor is my strength. When I think of this armor; all the tools God gives me through His Son, Jesus Christ, I think of John 14:18-21
In this passage, Jesus is talking about His return to the Father, but H will not leave us alone.
John 14:18-21 (ESV) 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
I do not know about you, but as I read that passage and meditate on that promise that only calls for me to believe and have faith my heart fills with expectant joy. A joy that I cannot put into words. A joy unaffected by my present circumstances, because these things are fleeting and temporary and my hope is based on eternal promises… what joy can surpass that?
The Draw of Battle.
We talked about the power of Jesus and the access we have to Him through prayer and the Word. But we also acknowledged that the adversary does not stop trying to draw us back in. 1 Peter 1:13-25.
1 Peter 1:13-25 (ESV) “13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
Our strength comes from Him who saved us.
There is one other thing that we did not discuss last night, but I came across this morning and it is in Proverbs 3. It is the easiest and, in my case, often the most common mistake I make when faced with a temptation to revert to my past approach. I faulter if not fail in this proverb.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Only when I come to my senses do I find the peace that God desires for me.
Father, I pray that you might be with this young man I spoke with last night. I pray that he might find hope in Your Word. Father I ask that you might strength all of us that we not lean on our own understanding but find our strength in you and hold fast.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.