Staying Alert!

One of the enemy’s most volatile weapons, for me personally, is resentment. Resentment, bitterness, and the inability to forgive was plaguing my soul and directly correlated with the reason why I succumbed to this study on the armor of God. Resentment had pushed me behind a closed-door, had brought tears to my eyes, and had filled me with fear. My only recourse to these feelings of bitter resentment was to stand up, be strong in the Lord, and put on the full armor of God. That night—the night I cowered in fear—was exactly one month from today…October 2nd. Over the course of this past month, I’ve found my way out. I’ve fought the enemy and I have staved off his advances—for the time being. He’ll be back, with greater numbers, and with more powerful weapons. Therefore, I need to be alert, focused, and prepared for his next move.

Just prior to His betrayal, Jesus endured brutal attacks from the enemy. Jesus knew how to fight back and how to resist the devil’s temptation. By staying alert and being in constant prayer, Jesus geared up for battle. Knowing the importance of having a brotherhood surrounding Him through this battle, Jesus asked His closest comrades to come with Him, to stay alert, and to pray. Jesus walked a few paces away from His friends, and prayed. Upon returning, Jesus found them sleeping. Waking up His closest friend, Jesus said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger” (Matthew 26:40 — The Message).

Some Christians believe that the war was won when Christ died on the cross and conquered death in His resurrection. They conclude that a life filled with pain, suffering, and battles is self-inflicted. Lack of faith, wandering off the “narrow” path, or not being a “good” Christian, results in a cursed life—lacking blessings from God. These Christians conclude that if God is blessing them, then they’re obviously doing something right. If they’re lacking in blessings, than they’re doing something wrong. They apparently never read the book of Job.

I couldn’t disagree with this perspective any more than I currently do. If these Christians are correct, than there really isn’t a need for the armor of God. If the war is over, there’s no more spiritual warfare. One of my seminary professors put it this way, “Christ’s death and resurrection is similar to D-Day. When the Allies landed on the beach in Normandy, the end of the war in Europe was certain and an Allied victory was inevitable. However, the war wasn’t over. Many soldiers died between D-Day and V-Day, battles ensued, and the enemy had several victories. Nevertheless, the ultimate victory would definitely occur…and it did.” Jesus death and resurrection sealed the deal…we will win the war…that’s an affirmative fact. However, there will be many battles and several casualties between D-Day (Christ’s death and resurrection) and V-Day (The final battle).

I almost believe the complete opposite as those Christians who conclude that a stress-free, blessed life is a sign that they’re doing everything “right.” I believe that if you’re not under attack, then you’re not a threat…and I want to be a threat. Therefore, I’ll embrace this battle, and the battles to come. However, I prefer to be ready for the next onslaught, than to be caught with my pants down. Wearing the armor of God is about standing up, being prepared, humbling myself and accepting the righteous of God through faith, being content, standing together with the community of faith, remembering my salvation in Christ, protecting my mind from doubt and fear, and sharing the Gospel with everyone I encounter. As I stand in full armor, Paul encourages me with an echo from Jesus Himself. When the enemy looms on the horizon, when temptation is hiding right around the corner, I need to “stay alert; be in prayer so I don’t wander into temptation.”

“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 Lord’s people.”

—Ephesians 6:18

The enemy desires nothing more than to find us asleep on the job. Prayer protects us individually and collectively. Prayer is our two-way radio to the Commanding Officer. Prayer keeps us alert and connected to God…and when we’re connected to God, nothing can separate us from Him.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

—Romans 8:38-39

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