July 8th

Stand Against the Enemy

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV

The devil is a powerful adversary. He walks back and forth about the earth (Job 1:7) looking for opportunities to incite rebellion against God and attack his followers.  The devil is the ruler of this world (John 12:31), and was formerly one of God’s most powerful angels (Ezekiel 28:14).  His powers of deception were strong enough to persuade a third of God’s angels to rebel against God.  

With such an adversary, how do we stand against the wiles of the devil?  Paul tells us that our strength to stand against the devil must come from the Lord and “the power of His might.”  Our own strength is miniscule in comparison to that of our spiritual adversaries, who include “principalities,” “powers,” “rulers of the darkness of this age,” and “spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.”  Such a lineup could cause us to fear, but with our faith rooted in Jesus we need not shrink back from the enemy.  By reckoning or aligning ourselves with Christ through faith, we tap into his far superior power that enables us to stand against the devil and his evil hordes.  Here are some verses describing Jesus’ authority over all things, including the forces of evil: 

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:6-11 NIV 

2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.  Hebrews 1:2-4 NIV 

Our faith in Jesus entitles us to his power and authority because we are literally co-heirs to God’s kingdom with Christ (Romans 8:15-17).  We can enact that power and authority against the enemy in a several ways.  Here are some examples:

If we are doing the above actions while trusting in the Lord’s power and not our own strength, we will be successful in repelling the devil’s attacks.  These aren’t magical incantations that ward off evil, but rather, they are legitimate and lawful applications of the authority of Jesus Christ.   

Our faithful walk with the Lord each day will bolster our success in using his power and authority over evil.  A faithful walk involves a daily surrender to God’s will and a commitment to keeping our “vessels” (body, soul and spirit) pure as much as possible.  We do this by steering clear of temptations and quickly returning to God in repentance if we stumble in sin.   

If at any point we’re feeling overwhelmed by the temptations of the devil, we can readily call on Jesus for help in prayer.  Jesus, fully God, yet fully man, faced as strong a temptation as any of us will face in life. He was victorious and stands ready to help us resist the temptations we face.   He offers to help us whenever we are tempted, because he cares for us and knows our struggles firsthand:  “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 NKJV). 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly  Father, I thank you for my inheritance rights as a son of God and co-heir with Jesus Christ!  I thank you that your divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness through Christ.  I confess any sins that have held me back from standing in faith against the devil and his evil hordes.  Please forgive me and cleanse me from those sins.  Please now train me through the Holy Spirit in the basic spiritual warfare skills, such as those mentioned in this devotional.  I take up the whole armor of God right now – the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of readiness and the sword of the Spirit.  Thank you that in Christ I am an overcomer!  I praise you, now and forever, Amen.”