Just take one look at the ever-changing news today and fear and panic could overtake you.
Our media is awash with earthquakes, pestilence, famine, a pervasive one world digital economy (Brazil just went digital in August 2023), the World Economic Forum, oil-driven decisions, banks collapsing, the European Union, China, BRICS and the U.N. Agenda 2030.
Other unnerving activities to cause consternation might be the inexorable movement toward a one-world religion evidenced by the Abu Dhabi Abrahamic House, the World Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, apostate and lukewarm “woke” Protestant American churches, AI-led worship services and a possible AI “new” Bible coming.
Conflicts involving Israel/Hamas, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Iran, China, and Taiwan that have us teetering on the brink of World War III. Then there is the threat of a one-world government and other terrifying topics, including control of the masses as with COVID-19, oil shortages, food shortages, inflation, gender-sexual deception/delusion, constant drag and pride celebrations, Supreme Court justices who cannot define “a woman,” sexual re-assignment, public school libraries full of woke books, indoctrination of our children, surgeries performed on children and more than 100 gender identities.
Add to these the personal challenges that each true believer faces and a Christian could be so distracted that his or her testimony and focus are lost.
Distraction, deception, delusion and the demonic are some of the tools of God’s enemy, our enemy Satan, the devil. The thief (Satan) tries to steal your joy, to kill, to destroy (John 10:10).
So, in light of these attacks and in light of the world’s chaos (as prophesied in God’s Word), how can we as believers walk in the power and the strength of the Holy Spirit day by day?
Ephesians 6:12 comes to mind: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Do we understand that there is a heavenly battle going on in the angelic realm? The Bible has many references to this battle. Here are three:
1. In Daniel 10:12-14, we learn that Daniel was heard at the beginning of his prayer, however it took the angel Gabriel 21 days to get to Daniel because he was fighting the prince of Persia. Michael, one of the chief princes (an archangel), came to help Gabriel. He explained to Daniel that he had come to give him an understanding of what will happen in the latter days.
2. In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, Paul tells the Thessalonian church: “For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan thwarted us.”
3. Revelation 12 says that there is a war in heaven at the midpoint of tribulation with Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon (Satan) and his angels. Satan and his angels are thrown down: “the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
Even though our enemy accuses us day and night, we know by God’s perfect faithful word that in Romans 8:27, “he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
And Romans 8:34 promises that “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
What can we believers learn from God’s Word as we are affected by and participate in these spiritual battles?
First: We need to be increasing in the knowledge of God which pleases Him (Colossians 1:10). God gave us 66 books that we might know Him and His ways, His never-changing character, His will and His plans. Study His Word, building on your foundation of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Daniel 11:32 says, “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” —or in modern vernacular, take action. The silence of most of today’s American church is deafening—and devastating.
Second Peter 1:1-3 says: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”
God has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness How? Through the true knowledge of Him! Where do we find the true knowledge? In His Word! So, the question is, “How much are we learning from God’s Word? Do we even desire to know more of Him?”
Second: We need to be alert and understand the times, the culture in which we are living. The enemy is trying to distract us with the busyness of life.
First Chronicles 12:32 tells us to be like “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
In Luke 12:56, Jesus says, “Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?”
Third: We must study what God’s Word says about the latter days to be ready.
The Word is full of Scriptures explaining the latter days in which we live. A continued study of God’s word gives us a biblical worldview of the present time— and with that comes peace and trust that God is over all and bringing His plan to fruition.
Nehemiah provides one of many wonderful accounts in the Bible of recognizing the times, the enemy and what to do. The Jews were back in Jerusalem and under the leadership of Nehemiah, they were rebuilding the walls.
Read this account slowly and feast upon all we can learn here. In Chapter 4, Nehemiah recognized the enemy “conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.”
What can we do when we find enemies are coming against us and trying to stop us as we serve the living God? Nehemiah says in verse 9, “Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.” Verses 12-20 say:
And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you. Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.
Nehemiah knew the nature of God, that He planned for them to rebuild the wall and ultimately, He would fight for them. However, they had responsibility to work and be combat ready with their swords in one hand. They were to fight for their families.
What about us, our families and our battles today?
We have seen that our battles aren’t against flesh and blood but against those powers and rulers in heavenly places.
It is no different today. We need to be combat ready and willing to fight for our families. Our enemy is trying very hard to destroy the family God ordained.
I read that recently that at a drag parade, they said “We are coming after your children.” We must stand firm and protect our children and honor God’s covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.
Timothy was told by Paul in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
We must be brave. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Timidity means cowardice, fearfulness. The word “power” in the Greek is dynamis from which we get the English word “dynamite.”
“Love” in this usage in 2 Timothy is God’s agape love, God’s love for us and our love for Him in return. “Discipline” means a mind under control and the use of sound judgment.
So you see: God did not leave us defenseless. 1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
And yet we battle. Our minds are the battlefield. So, the question is: “Where does victory begin?”
We begin with 1 John 5:4-5: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
And this is what we find when we look at the armor of God, our sure defense …
Ephesians 6:10 starts with these commands:
1. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
2. Ephesians 6:11 says, Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
3. Ephesians 6:13-18 says, Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
In the scriptures above, we are told to be strong and three times to stand firm.
Did you notice that there is nothing protecting the back? We are on the frontlines for Jesus, facing the enemy head-on. There is no turning around and running. We are dressed, equipped and prepared for war.
The helmet of salvation is on our head! The main battlefield is our minds, which the helmet covers. Victory begins with salvation, being born again, a new creation in Christ Jesus! We are rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
With that in mind, we are to remember that Earth is no longer our home. Heaven is! 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
Then, too, we must put on the breastplate of righteousness which comes from Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Wow! Think about that. We have righteousness in Christ! Amazing grace! That breastplate guards our hearts. We need to examine our hearts and make sure they are fully His.
There is a popular hymn that says, “There is ‘room’ in my heart for Jesus.” What about the remaining room? That couldn’t be further from the Gospel. The true believer surrenders all his or her heart and seeks to live out that surrender.
Next Paul says, “having girded your loins with truth.” It’s my understanding that the soldier’s armor in Roman times was held together by the belt, and truth comes along with the belt. Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Line everything up with the Word of God.
That’s where absolute truth is located. Our enemy is a liar and the father of lies. No truth is in him (John 8:44).
Therefore, we need to know the truth, study God’s Word, grow in the knowledge of God and be able to discern truth from error.
Our next piece of spiritual armor is on our feet. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” Paul says. Wherever we go, as ambassadors, we must be ready to share the gospel to a desperate world.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Recently I was in New York City with my family, waiting in a long line with a few hundred people to board a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. As I looked around us, it was obvious that the majority of those in line were of other ethnic origins, some of whom worship many gods. I was heartsick knowing there are so many lost, without Jesus.
As ambassadors of Christ, let us not only know our God but “take action” for Him. Share the Gospel in word and deed! Stand for Jesus and life only through Him. In John 14:6, Jesus said “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Our last piece of defensive armor is the shield of faith that extinguishes the flaming arrows of the evil one. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
As we saw earlier in 1 John, the victory that overcomes is our faith. As we walk through life and we experience challenges and testing, as we grow by studying God’s Word and by prayer, we should be able to look back and see how our faith has grown.
Perhaps we find ourselves better able to handle circumstances because of our increasingly strong faith which exercises discernment, extinguishing the “almost truth” and the lies that the evil one sends our way.
In Philippians, Paul says that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances he might be in. He said in 4:12-13, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
In other words, Paul could bear up under any circumstance through Christ.
The last piece of armor is the only offensive weapon we have: the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Jesus countered the devil’s temptations in the wilderness every time with the Word of God. So, we must ask ourselves, “How sharp are our swords?”
Can we counter the enemy with the truth of God’s word? Satan twists and lies many times in subtle ways. Can we discern truth from almost-truth? In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
God’s Word will show us that which is true.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The armor is not complete until we get to Ephesians 6:18. Prayer and petition are key elements of our arsenal against the devil—praying in the Spirit and praying for all saints. How awesome that we can approach the throne of our Creator God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:18 says, “For through him [Jesus] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
We are in a battle. This is not our home. We should not be taken by surprise when we hear and see all the evil, sin, deception and chaos growing in these latter days—as God has said in His prophetic Word.
Let’s purpose to do as 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 advises, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
So dear ones, we are on the front lines for the Gospel of Jesus Christ! You are an ambassador. We have victory to overcome by our faith. Wear God’s armor. Keep growing in knowledge of Him. Stand firm. Pray. Use your sword.
Keep looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13).
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).
Remember this from Psalm 5:12, “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
Jesus is coming in the air for His bride, the church, any moment now! Are you ready to meet Him?
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
(2 Corinthians 13:14).
Maranatha (Come Lord Jesus).