Time Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Jerry Schmoyer)
One day a young man was out for a walk. As he went along the street he saw a sign that invited him to sign up to see the world for free. Food, lodging, everything would be provided. In fact, he would be paid a salary, too. It sounded fine, too fine to pass up. So he went in and signed his name. To his surprise he was handed a rifle and military equipment. He soon found out there was a whole army of soldiers who now were his enemy and whose sworn purpose was to destroy him. It wasn’t what he expected.
There are many Christians today who, when they placed their faith in Christ, were surprised to find they, too had an enemy. Perhaps they expected life to be perfect and fine, all settled with no more problems. Salvation, though, doesn’t end the battle. In many ways it is just the start of it!
You see, when you accept Jesus as your Savior you also accept Satan as your enemy. You deserted Satan’s army to join his enemy’s army, God’s army. He opposes God, but can only get at God by attacking His people — you and me!
So now you find yourself in the middle of a war you didn’t want, don’t like, can’t understand, and seem unable to win. What do you do? Where can you find a quick training program for spiritual warfare?
Actually, this idea of war following salvation is nothing new. We see the same thing happening to the Jews in the Old Testament. Satan has been opposing God from the beginning, but getting nowhere. When he started attacking God through His creatures he made much more progress. First there was Adam and Eve in Eden, then Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. God’s people ended up in Egyptian slavery for 400 years until God delivered them. He did it all: provided the innocent blood and the power to protect them from the angel of death as well as deliver them unharmed through the Red Sea. They did nothing but accept His salvation. Then the battles started for them: the Amalekites attacked, then the Canaanites, and on it went. The Jews had to learn to fight. When they learned to fight behind their leader Joshua (“Jesus” in Greek) they conquered and settled the land God had meant all along for them to have. When we learn to fight behind our general, Jesus, we, too, can have victory in life.
First of all, what are the weapons this enemy uses against you? The Bible says they are three-fold, “the world the flesh and the devil.” The world refers to the organized system of ideas, people, activities, purposes, goals, motives, priorities and values that are based on Satan’s system (I John 2:15; John 15:19). The “world” does not refer to nature, but to Satan’s substitute for God’s way. Peer pressure, rejection, persecution, problems getting along with people, pride, desire for popularity and success, etc., all these things are ways Satan attacks us through the world (Matthew 4:8-10; 12:26).
While these attacks are from without, we also have an enemy within — our own flesh. By “flesh” we mean our old sin nature, that tendency in us to be naturally self-centered, sinful, prideful, willful and immature (Romans 7:15-25; Galatians 5:19-20). Even the “good” we do in the flesh is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This results in our sinning. Sin is thinking or doing wrong things, doing good things for the wrong reason/motive, or not doing good things that should be done. Temptations to worry, fear, get angry, be greedy, fulfill our lusts, think only of ourselves, feel self-sufficient or self-righteous, be jealous, gossip or criticize, etc. come from or through the flesh (Ephesians 4:22-27).
The third direction the attacks come from, though, are sometimes ignored by Christians today. Satan himself attacks us. We need to know how to counter these attacks as well. Paul tells us to make sure we aren’t ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). We are to understand and use these resources which He has provided.
The Bible commands us to use spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-12; 2 Cor 2:11; Luke 14:31). Jesus Himself is our example. Jesus talked about Satan and demons more than anyone in Bible. He cast out demons. He taught and commanded His disciples to fight Satan and cast out demons (Matthew 10:8; Luke 10:1, 17-20). He was disappointed when they were unable to deliver a demonized boy without Him (Mark 9:14-29). The religious rulers accused Jesus (Mark 3:22) and John the Baptizer (Luke 7:33) of being demonized.
The good news, no, make that great news, is that we have victory through Jesus. The next blogs will help show how to attain it.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Ephesians 6:10-12, “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.”
- What difference does remembering you are in a war make in how you view the difficulties and obstacles you face?
- As you look at your life, what are some of the more common ways you are attacked? How successful are you in resisting these these attacks?
- Remembering you are in a battle, what can you do to better defend yourself when attacked?
- Spend some time praying, putting on your armor for battle (Ephesians 6:10-20) and drawing strength from the Lord to enable you to be victorious in the conflict.
(For more information on this subject contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free Spiritual Warfare Handbook.)
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 15 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on April 19, 2010