Sunday, June 11th, my middle child takes the plunge–quite literally–and testifies to his whole church community that he is a believer. His willingness to act in courageous obedience defies his personality and also activates questions in his younger brother. Throughout this week, Corbin and I have dialogued about Jesus and salvation and Heaven and all things Romans 6:23. He knows the truth, but he hasn’t made it his own yet (no surprise since he’s only 4 1/2).
Even so, he’s a thinker and inquisitive to exhaustion. On the way home from the library this afternoon, his voice rings from the back of the van, “Mom, how is it that you know you can go to Heaven?” Certainly a question he’s asked before and one we’ve answered. I ask my own questions in return: who is Jesus, why did he come, what is sin and what is our punishment for it, etc.? He knows the answers but then the clincher. He wants to know–to be sure. “Do you want to pray?” “Yes.”
I make a quick turn off the highway into a drive and climb in the back with him. His words ring humble and simple and excited, but isn’t that what childlike faith mirrors? He doesn’t understand deep theology, but he wants to know that when he dies, he’ll see Jesus–that Heaven is his forever home. When we’re done praying, he tells me he’s ready to go. Go where? Heaven. Laughing, I respond, “That would be nice, Buddy, but God has us here for a little longer than that.” He wants to know how long. But, of course, only God knows. I tell him we need to share the truth with others and let them know that they have a Savior who loves them and has a plan for their lives.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
This week my older two children have demonstrated behavior reserved for wild dogs and tribal heathen. Even after Monday, I told my husband, “I feel like our home has been under spiritual attack today. I need to be praying more.” If I didn’t know what the Enemy was up to, I’d have felt discouraged and doubtful. What in the world, Lord? My son just got baptized and now this? What is going on? More than I could see! God was on the move and his adversary didn’t like it.
Naturally, having an Enemy that seeks to kill and destroy (John 10:10), he wasn’t going to let victories rest; he was out to steal the peace, joy, and passions of our children. [And I have news for you: he has the same mission plan for your children].
When Christians mention spiritual warfare, many hearers fall into one of two camps (neither are good): the dreaders and the dismissers (those aren’t real words, but humor me). Those that live in dread quiver at the sound of warfare, forgetting that Satan isn’t the antithesis of God (he’s not equal to our LORD), he doesn’t have power to possess us, and he won’t win in the end. Need more proof?
- “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57
- “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thess. 3:3
- “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” Luke 10:19
- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
- “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.” Is. 54:17
Don’t be afraid, God’s got you covered and He’s more than capable of handling the wars swirling around you. Continue to get on your knees and remember that He’s the Victor.
On the other end of the spectrum sit the dismissers: though giving the Enemy too much credit nullifies our faith in an Almighty, All-loving God, not giving him any attention is just plain naive. The dismissers say, “Nah, don’t worry about it.” They don’t contemplate their choices, and they aren’t too motivated to pray. And, they only see part of the picture.
Living in ignorance of the truth doesn’t change it. Whether or not we acknowledge it, we are at war. And we would do well to put on the armor our King told us to wear.
- “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5
- “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9
- “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. Therefore 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6:11-17
- “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Rev.12:11
So, dear friend, remember to battle: the Enemy wants your marriage, your time, your energy, your children, your focus, and your hope. Pick up your sword, get on your knees, and focus on your Mighty Savior King.
Pray Scripture aloud. (What power we have in using His Words).
Give God continual praise. (The Enemy hates it and it diminishes his ability to get a foothold in our thoughts).
Keep your mind fixed on God and His Words. (Truth overcomes the lies if we know the truth from the lies).
Make decisions that keep your thoughts and heart pure (I John 3:3, Matt. 5:8, Col. 3:5, I Thess. 4:3, Phil. 4:8).
Don’t be surprised if there is an attack on your work, on you who are called to do it, on your innermost nature-the hidden person of the heart. It must be so. The great thing is not to be surprised, nor to count it strange-for that plays into the hand of the enemy. Is it possible that anyone should set himself to exalt our beloved Lord and not instantly become a target for many arrows? The very fact that our work depends utterly on Him and can’t be done for a moment without Him calls for a very close walk and a constant communion of spirit. This alone is enough to account for anything the enemy can do…Don’t be surprised if you suffer. It is part of the way of the cross…So rejoice! You are giving Him what He asks you to give Him: the chance to show you what He can do.