Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
In our environment, we are constantly barraged with sinful desires promoted by our culture, and our own unholy thoughts and deeds. However, these aren’t the only enemies — the verse above from 1 Peter tells us that we are under spiritual attack from another source–the devil. It’s unfashionable to believe in Satan these days; admit it in a group and you may find yourself the but of jokes and snide remarks. Unfortunately ignoring an unpleasant reality doesn’t make it go away. In fact, the devil is quite happy to have you disbelieve in his existence — it makes you an easier target because your guard is down!
Right now I’m convinced that our Fanning the Flame team is under demonic attack. The roof of my life has (almost literally fallen in)! Others are under stress due to relationships, financial problems, work issues, and grief. Of course, these sorts of things happen every day, but why are so many happening to members of the same small group all at once? Probably not a coincidence.
It’s simple. The devil wants to distract us from the good work we are trying to do for St. Paul’s. As my husband is fond of saying, he doesn’t need to bother with unbelievers — he already has them in his clutches. The kind of pressure many of us are undergoing makes us irritable and quick to anger. It disrupts our unity. It makes us anxious. It causes us to feel disappointed, doubting and even depressed. It encourages us to dwell on the negative.
There is, of course a Scriptural defense which is detailed in Ephesians 6:10-18:
Finally, be strong in the LORD and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore 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. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And 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.
The team is preparing for an event called “Armourbearer Sunday.” I’m not sure what it’s about, but I have a suspicion it may help us deal with the powers of darkness around us. Stay tuned for more in September …..