When I was in elementary school, I had a standing engagement during recess at the bottom of the playground, around the old oak tree. We called it “WAR.”
It was a battle between warriors – warriors in tennis shoes with untied laces and muddy stains; warriors in frayed jeans with worn out knees; and warriors missing teeth the tooth fairy had taken the night before. My best friend and I dug a trench for a strategic advantage over the fourth grade warriors. It was an ingenious plan until the principal made us cover it up. Our weapons were magnolia buds (you know the ones, that look like hand grenades?), rubber-band balls detonated by the flip of a sling shot, and acorns. I wore a camouflage helmet my mom bought me at The Five & Dime, rain boots, a plastic breast plate from a costume, and a catcher’s mask, which was a bit larger than my face. We would play as hard as we could, for as long as we could, until the bell rang to return to our classroom – plus five minutes. Those extra five minutes, although annoying to my teacher, were some of the most exhilarating. So much could happen in that short space of time. Even now, while typing this devotion to you, my heart is racing, adrenaline flowing, palms sweating, just remembering the thrill of “WAR.”
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11-12, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 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.”
WAR is all around us as we walk through our day unaware of an enemy who knows our weaknesses, our vulnerable places, our flaws. An enemy who came to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).
Strategies. That’s right! The devil has a strategy against you. He is prowling around like a lion in the grasslands of Africa, scheming, devising a plan to catch you at just the right moment – off guard, unaware, enjoying life… BAM! GOTCHA! Before you know it, you are in the middle of an adulterous affair; addicted to alcohol, drugs, or porn; distant from your children or spouse or parents; believing there is no God; cheating, stealing, gossiping, judging, and hurting those you love. Like a lion, it is Satan’s desire to rip you to shreds. See, he works overtime, long hours so that what you want to preserve and foster, he wants to destroy. When you try to fix it yourself, it empowers him even more. Because without Jesus Christ, we are powerless against him.
Everyday, know that Satan devises strategies against you and me; however, we have weapons to defeat him.
“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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:14-19