Battle Ready

I lied to my mother when I was 10 years old. One morning as we were heading out to school, she asked her four oldest sons, “Do any of you boys know what’s happened to all the matches that were in the cabinet above the stove?” No. No. No. “Maybe Ricky Brown took them,” I said. Ricky was a neighbor kid who was always hanging around our house. Later that day as she did laundry, my mom set aside a pair of my jeans. When I got home from school, she handed them to me and asked what was in the pockets. I plunged my hand in and pulled out five packs of matches. I was quarantined until my father got home. I still remember the reckoning which occurred prior to the abolition of spanking and was accompanied with a very explicit explanation: “You lied to mother. You lied about Ricky Brown.”

I am thankful my dad knew lying was wrong and disciplined me for my good. I learned the lesson that lies cause pain. It is one thing to tell a lie at age 10; it is something altogether worse to live according to a lie. Today we are bombarded with untruths about so many things in which the Bible is actually quite clear. Lies creep in; they are relentlessly repeated, and then gradually believed at a level of presumption that would have been for generations unthinkable. It doesn’t matter where you look today, politics, sociology, entertainment, relationships, even in church, you’ll find teachings and affirmations that are promulgated without the slightest notion of how they don’t line up with the clear teaching of Scripture.

This is our enemy’s design. Every untruth that raises itself up against the truth of God comes from the enemy, “who is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). He traffics in deception; his strategy is to deceive, beguile, and corrupt God’s truth. Our battle with the devil is not so much a contest of power as it is of truth. If the Bible is a lamp to our feet, it must be known and shown upon the pathway of our lives. Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf of all His disciples, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17.)   

Sadly, a George Barna Research survey from more than a decade ago indicated that 73% of the general population in America do not believe Satan is real. What’s worse, 40% of self-described Christians strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but merely a symbol of evil.” That in itself is a very effective lie. But the wise Christian understands that every lie is a scheme of the enemy to take us out as we attempt to live meaningful, God-pleasing lives. We are not ignorant of his designs.

During the month of March, we are going to get “BATTLE READY” so that we can stand firm against the schemes of devil.  We will study Ephesians 6:10-17 taking note of several particular strategies that threaten our spiritual lives. We will be careful not to give Satan too much attention or credit. And we will be anchored in the promise of God: Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world! (1 John 4:4.)

“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.” (Ephesians 6:10, 11.)

Tom Shirk
Senior Pastor