FROM PASTOR MIKE’S DESK:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When something keeps coming up over and over again, it almost seems like that it is God’s way of telling to you to pay attention. For me, the passage from Ephesians 6:10-20 keeps coming up. This is the familiar passage where Paul talks about the armor of God in which we are to be clothed and the spiritual warfare we are engaged in on a daily basis. It came up in our LifeLight Bible Study, in our Men’s Breakfast Bible Study, and it also came up in an article which found its way to my desk around the time of needing to write this newsletter article.
In continually looking at this passage, I think the spiritual warfare Paul talks about is very fitting for us as we approach the end of the season of Lent, experience the passion of Christ during Holy Week, and then celebrate Jesus’ victorious resurrection over sin, death, and Satan on Easter morning.
In this article I received, the author, whose name is Ed, tells how his wife graciously went out and started his car for him when it was cold outside. As he left off to work, he kissed her goodbye and got in his warm car. When Ed sat down in his car, he was royally confused. The windshield was still fogged up and the side windows had so much condensation on them he couldn’t see out. What’s going on here? he wondered. Quickly he looked at the defrost button. Ed figured it out. Instead of doing it properly, his wife had simply turned on the AC.
After he rolled his eyes, adjusted the settings, Ed called his wife to adjust her morning work ethic. Sitting in his cold car, waiting for the heater vents to work, he called his wife and said, “You didn’t turn on the defroster and you didn’t turn the heat on ‘Max.’ Now I’m going to have to sit here while the windshield is cleared off.” She graciously apologized.
After he hung up with his wife, Ed decided to roll down and up the windows to remove the condensation. Of course, the right rear window got stuck half way up. Frustrated, Ed swallowed his pride and called his wife for help. She, being the saint that she is, graciously came out and helped. On her way back in, she did something totally unexpected. She put her hand on Ed’s shoulder and said a prayer, “Father, give Ed peace today.”
He nodded, thanked her, and got in his car and bolted down the street, slinging gravel everywhere. Not more than two minutes later he realized, I’m teaching on spiritual warfare today in my devotion, and the devil has blindsided me already! The devil had used Ed’s circumstances to try to get him angry and distracted … and it worked. When he realized this, Ed called his wife and apologized for being snippy and condescending.
After he hung up, Ed prayed. He thanked God that He had revealed the truth of his struggle and then he rebuked Satan. But wouldn’t you know it, as soon as he finished his prayer, a car pulled onto the road ahead of him. Slowly. As in 35 mph slow … and he never sped up. Making all kinds of ugly assumptions about this stranger in front him, Ed’s fumes began to billow out from his head. The distance between the vehicles evaporated and Ed fumed some more. More ugly thoughts. Ed imagined, the devil was probably laughing.
This is Ed’s story, but it can very well be your story or even my story. This spiritual battle we have with Satan is one which we will daily find ourselves in. Satan is going to do anything and everything in his power to get you and me to focus more on me and my circumstances rather than focusing on God and His blessings. This is why Paul tells us in Ephesians that we need to be strong in the Lord, put on the full armor of God, and stand firm for our battle is not against flesh and blood but the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:10-13).
However, we are not able to do this on our own. Yes, we are told to put on the full armor of God, but we can only do that if God is with us. Yes, we are told to stand firm so that we can withstand the continuous onslaughts from Satan, but again, we can’t do that unless God is with us. God alone is the One who is able to fight against Satan. God alone is the One who can win the battle, the war against Satan. God alone is the One who stays with us, helps us, and defends us from the attacks of Satan.
And this is the exciting message which comes with Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. Through Jesus’ suffering and death during Holy Week, it looked like Satan was getting the upper hand and was going to win the battle. However, that is not the case. When Jesus descended into hell, it was to announce to Satan his victory over sin, death, and Satan. When Jesus descended into hell, it was to inform Satan that those who believe in Jesus as their Savior will have eternal life in heaven. Then Jesus rose on Easter morning so that you and I can know and believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus did in fact win the battle.
Since Jesus won the battle, God is truly with you! God is with you now in the midst of whatever you are facing as He defends you from the various onslaughts of Satan! God is with you all the way to the end, to the day when our bodies are raised from the ground, made perfect, and we live with him in the new creation yet to come! This is the joy of Easter! This is the joy of Jesus’ victorious resurrection!
I pray that you will come and join us as we finish out the season of Lent, walk with Jesus through his suffering and death of Holy Week, and then celebrate as Jesus rises from the grave on Easter to assure us that this spiritual battle we face … in the end we win and we celebrate because Jesus stands victoriously!