You are a target.
It doesn’t matter if you try to lay low, or hide behind the ones wearing the bigger bulls eye, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a target.
You have an enemy and he is real. He is organized and he hates you and wants to take you down.
You must know who you are fighting against or you will be fighting the wrong battle.
The battle is not people. The enemy is not atheists, public schools or politicians. It is not your spouse, your mother-in-law or your wayward child. It is not your neighbor or the church member who disagrees with you in a meeting.
The enemy you fight not only hates you, he hates them as well. He hates anyone created in the image of God. He can and may work through some of those systems or individuals but ultimately his greatest hatred is towards those who follow Christ.
He is a merciless foe.
Although his ultimate prize is to see if he can overpower the strongest and most dedicated of Christ’s followers, he has no problem going for those who are weak in faith. In fact, those who are vulnerable are an easy target for him. He is void of any compassion whatsoever.
Outside of the saving power of the work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross for us, we are no match for the enemy. If we do not follow Christ, we will lose this battle.
Acts 19:13-16 spells out a sobering account of some Jews who tried to cast out demons without having personally experienced the life saving power of Christ at work within them. In other words, they fought the enemy in their own strength. Here is the account:
“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”
They invoked the name of Jesus because it worked for Paul. They did not personally follow Jesus. They had no power and no authority outside of their own resources. It doesn’t work that way.
A soldier without armor and weapons is defenseless against his enemy. A person without the armor of Christ who dares to stand against Satan fares the same.
WE ARE UNCOMFORTABLE TALKING ABOUT OR ACKNOWLEDGING THIS ENEMY
Those who don’t follow Christ, most likely don’t believe in Satan either.
As well, those who do follow Christ, often see every obstacle as an attack from Satan. Or they give him very little thought.
However, we must soberly acknowledge that there has never been a battle won that the soldiers didn’t examine the strategy and tactics of their enemy. They studied him well.
Once the enemy is observed, a battle plan can be drawn up.
Do not think for a minute that you can disengage from this battle.
Many shrink back in their faith so that they don’t become a target. They try to hide behind the stronger faith of others. If you are in this group, know this: YOU MAY REMOVE YOURSELF FROM BEING THE FOCUS OF HIS ASSAULTS, BUT YOU WILL BECOME A SIDELINE CASUALTY. You will be easy to take out.
This may be scary and overwhelming, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory in our Lord, Jesus Christ, there is a plan!
We are not left vulnerable unless we choose not to act.
I believe we are having too many casualties because we are unarmed. Too many are getting lost in the battle and we need to pick up the weapons and put on the armor.
“Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
WHAT THIS STRATEGY TELLS US ABOUT THE BATTLE
Our enemy,the devil, is a schemer. He is not flesh and blood. There are rulers, authorities and powers in this dark world and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.
As spelled out earlier, this is not a battle against that which is seen but forces that are unseen.
We need to put on the FULL armor of God in order to stand our ground.
THE ARMOR AND THE WEAPONS
TRUTH: Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. This clarifies that Jesus is the only way to God. There is no other. He is Lord of all. Without this belt of truth, that holds everything in place, the battle is lost. May as well lay down and prepare to die. It is over.
RIGHTEOUSNESS: 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made Him, who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Christ righteousness is fitting as the breastplate of armor that protects our core. He is the protective covering.
THE GOSPEL OF PEACE: Our feet are fit with the readiness that comes from Christ’s gospel. The enemy cannot turn us on each other when our focus is sharing the love of Christ. Our feet should not lead us to fighting each other, but with the busy work of spreading the gospel.
THE SHIELD OF FAITH: Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When Satan attacks and we hold up that shield, it is refusing to be assaulted by hopelessness and despair and believing that what Christ said is what He will do. The enemy will lie and try to deceive us. We must ward off his attacks with the shield that will extinguish his fiery arrows. The shield protects the breastplate of righteousness. Satan wants to get right to the core of our being. Stop him at the faith stage because he is aiming for your righteousness.
THE HELMET OF SALVATION: Our salvation in Christ protects our head where our brain is. If Satan can attack our thinking, we are in confusion and fog. He will lob off our head if we don’t stay grounded in the fact that we are saved by the finished work of Christ on the cross. He will sway us with doubts about Christ and our salvation. Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT: This is the weapon that defends and attacks. It is the word of God! Remember how Jesus fought Satan in the wilderness? As Satan kept coming at Him with deceptions and sneering, trying to cast doubt and confusion, Jesus fought back with the word of God! He quoted scripture! We cannot reason with Satan. He can out argue any of us. Unless….we fight him with the truth that comes from knowing God’s word. We don’t argue, reason or debate with Satan. We quote scripture at him. We cannot do that if we don’t spend time in God’s word and know it. The sword slays the dragon! Take him down with this one and stop him in his tracks!
Lastly, we have access to the General! Few soldiers have that, yet we in the body of Christ can go directly to God through His son Jesus Christ at any time.
We are told to pray always and about everything 24/7! Be alert when praying and make sure to pray for all the believers! This is life giving and builds up the body of Christ rather than giving the enemy ground by criticizing and tearing down!
I am convinced that if every soldier in God’s army would put this armor on, Satan could not succeed in dividing our families, our churches, our faith, or anything else that he tries to attack.
With this strategy and armor, we are now equipped. There is nothing to add to it, yet we must make sure that we are not missing any part of it.
When the Bible says that we are to “put on the whole armor of God” it does not say that we at any time remove it. It does not say that we only put on part of it. This soberly points us to the fact that this is an ongoing battle and needs 100% of our attention. Because we are in Christ, He arms us but does the battle in and through us. We rest in Him even as we battle. He has got this. We do not need to despair or give up hope.
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you”
There is the final result!
You might be a target, but a resistant target who is prepared for the battle will be standing at the end of the day.
Never forget that Satan is already defeated, he just thinks he still has a chance. In Christ and because of Christ and all to His glory, may that enemy be proven wrong with every battle we win!