Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. 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.
Ever since I began to write about the type of church that I feel called to establish, I have come under what I can only describe as a relentless attack by the evil one. Satan’s objective is to cause me to doubt God and my calling and to believe that God can’t really do what God promises to do. As a believer, I am at my best when I am in constant communication with God. When I read my Bible, pray, or just talk to God, I am at peace and open to listening for God to speak to my mind and my heart. I sense God more fully in my life when the communication line with God is open and unbroken.
The devil desires to break that communication link and he does it through lies and deception. He wants us to doubt God and His promise to be with us and guide us as believers. The mind is the arena where spiritual warfare is waged and Satan will do anything to turn out thoughts away from God. Satan wants us to doubt God and His good promises for our lives.
This week for me, I have endured many obstacles that have been placed in my path that were designed to take my focus away from God. As I have been overwhelmed with problems that have suddenly surfaced, doubts have begun to set in that I can’t do what God is calling me to do. I don’t believe that however, because I know that God can do whatever He sets his mind and will to accomplish. It’s God’s power that is at work, not my own, and God is more powerful that the evil one. So I cling to my faith and trust in God and when God’s ministry for me is realized, God will receive ALL of the glory!
Today, I read a familiar passage that reminded me in a powerful way that God is with those of us who are faithful and willing to take a bold step of faith. In Joshua, chapter 3, the Israelites are very close to entering the Promised Land, but they must first cross the Jordan River which just so happens to be at flood stage! The people had camped out at the Jordan River for three days and then the officers gave the people their instructions: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it” (Joshua 3:3). Then the LORD told Joshua, “Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river’” (Joshua 3:8). After the priests go into and stand in the raging river, God then stops the water upstream from flowing and the priests found themselves standing on dry ground. They remained there until the whole nation of Israel passed by and completed the crossing on dry ground.
God calls us to take a step of faith; to put our feet in the raging waters, so that when the calm comes, we will know without a doubt that God’s power was made evident. Often in life, we are called to take risks or steps of faith in order to follow God’s call upon our lives. When the evil one attacks with spiritual warfare (and he will if you are truly doing God’s work), put on the “whole armor of God” so that you can stand against the many schemes of the devil. Stand firm, knowing that you serve a God who promises to be with those who follow and have faith in Him.
Usually, it takes me about 30 minutes to write a typical devotional post. Today, it took over two hours because of a constant stream of interruptions, problems, crises, and intense spiritual warfare from the evil one. I take comfort in knowing that I am on the right path to serving God because it is obvious to me that Satan is determined on doing whatever he can to make me question my calling from God and to prevent me from establishing a church that gives God all of the glory.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” 1 Peter 5:8-9.