Stripped for Battle

Our world is wandering into a very scary place and nearing the tipping point for something huge to happen.  If you’ve ever doubted the existence of evil, it stares us right in the face every single day.  There is evil perpetrated across this country on a daily basis by people who place very little value on human life.  Across the globe we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing a greater evil and being martyred because they refuse to renounce their faith in Christ and turn to Islam.  A month of ago, we saw that evil stretch out into western Europe as Paris was hit and then last week, it came back to US soil again in San Bernardino, CA.  This comes from a group that is bent on destruction and killing anyone who does not share their religion.  So much suffering and violence everywhere.

With all of this, there are many questions on what we should do.  How do we as the body of Christ, as the church, deal with this evil and how do we go about our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ and continue to declare the Good News to the world.  I’ve heard talk of people in this country…In the United States of America that are starting to go underground with their faith so as to hide themselves and out of fear of possible attacks.  Is that the place we’ve come to in this country?  We have people across the world dying and put in prison for declaring the faith in some of the most dangerous parts of the globe and people here in this country are hiding.

As I wrote last week, following Jesus comes with a cost.  We have a responsibility and  privilege and brothers and sisters in the faith of Jesus Christ to continue to stand strong with the armor of God in the face of the evil of this world.  Satan already knows that his days are numbered.  Because of this we are coming under constant attack in this world spiritually and physically, as we see play out on the news everyday.  Christ has already claimed victory, yet we continue to fight until His final return because we still live in a fallen world.

So what do we do?  First, there is a real necessity for each of us to stand strong and defend our lives and that of our family.  I challenge you, if you have not done so, to obtain the right training and arm yourselves so that you can protect you, your family, and those around you in the face of evil.  It’s become a necessity.  First we never know when someone may go off the handle around us, and we also have a growing army of people (ISIS) that has declared war on us and our faith.  We have to fight, not just spiritually, but physically if it comes down to it.  As for me I, I will stand and fight.

I shared previously, the King, that’s Jesus, is striped for battle.  He is not here to hang around in peaceful harmony.  He isn’t, as John Eldredge points out in his book “Desire,” “quite like the pictures we have in Sunday school, Jesus with a lamb and a child or two, looking for all the world like Mr. Rogers with a beard,  The world’s nicest guy. He was something far more powerful.  He was holy.” He is stripped for battle.  Exodus 15:3, “The Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name.”  Matthew 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” The world was lost to Satan.  After the fall of man, this became his world.  All-out war has been waged to win us back from Satan and from the fallen world.  To restore us to who we were meant to be.  To restore our hearts.  Jesus was full of passion in his life, not apathy.  “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17).  He knew his purpose and mission in this world and was not to walk around carrying lambs.  It was an all-out war to win back the human race from the prince of this world and restore our hearts to the glory that God created us for.  He was poised for warfare with the enemy.

Also, I wrote before that spiritual warfare is very real folks.  It is on-going everyday.  We have to arm ourselves to be able to take it on and not let it take us out.  Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the full armor of God, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm in the faith” (vs 13).  The armor is the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel, helmet of salvation, shield of faith, and sword of the spirit.  This is real and very necessary.  As Paul said, it’s so that you will be able to resist.  We have to resist the devil.  Going back to 1 Peter 5, we as believers are called to resist the devil and stand firm in the faith.  This is not Old Testament.  This is after the ascension of Jesus.  Meaning, the war is still ongoing and still is today.

In the face of evil, armored with God’s Word (the sword of the spirit), and His full armor, we need to stand strong and unashamed of our faith and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16).  We will be tested over time.  In our personal battles with the enemy and in the face of this evil.  The ultimate goal of the enemy is to pull us away from our faith.  He is relentless on those who draw nearer to God as he is trying to separate us from God.  He started that in the Garden with Adam and Eve and continues that pursuit now.  The closer we draw to his end, the harder he will fight us.

So arm yourself.  Don’t sit back waiting for things to happen.  Don’t let the enemy sink his claws into you.  Don’t walk through life alone and let the enemy push you away from from the Truth and Love of God.  Stand firm in your faith in Christ and stand unashamed of your faith. Don’t let the attacks of the enemy deter you.  We are victorious because of Jesus Christ.

“There is a war going on. All talk of a Christian’s right to live luxuriously “as a child of the King” in this atmosphere sounds hollow — especially since the King himself is stripped for battle. ”  John Piper

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