"assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." - Ephesians 4:21-24
We got to hear from Nick on how God has been using the Faith Steps in his life. We also hit on this coming week's discussion and answered a few questions at the 25-minute mark.
Leader Development: Spiritual Warfare
"The enemy’s flaming darts and God’s great commission make spiritual warfare unavoidable, and spiritual pacifism suicidal." - John Piper
My desire in this is to not cause fear or to overemphasize spiritual battles but to bring an awareness to the realities we face as followers of Christ, as disciple-makers and leaders in the church. The opposite which can occur, as well, is an underemphasis or ignorance of the enemies attacks which can become deadly to you and others. So my heart in this is to bring awareness and help provide guidance. In addition, these notes are brief on the topic. My focus is on how to battle well. I initially intended this to be a brief teaching during our morning meeting followed by a dialog among leaders. We were unable to do that this week, but next week I hope to have the discussion. There are links below as well for additional articles and teachings.
So to begin we must first acknowledge - there is an enemy and there is a war. (Eph 2:1-3, 6:10-12, 2 Cor 2:11, 11:14, Luke 22:28-32, 1 Pet 5:8)
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 6:12
But how do we battle well:
1. First, we must acknowledge the elements that are not of God in order to identify what is truth and what is a lie. Things like; confusion, doubt, fear ungodly desires are not of the Spirit but of the enemy. These could be within us or seen within those we are close to.
2. Second, know your enemy. Satan's names in Scripture; destroyer, deceiver, father of lies, accuser, tempter, lawless, thief. He does not make good people bad, he makes flawed people worse He aggravates what is already within with lies.
His top two names are tempter and accuser. In temptation, Satan tries to get us to think highly of God's love but low of his holiness. In accusation, he tries to get us to think too low of ourselves. He hides God's love and plays up God's holiness - resulting in us living in shame and condemnation.
How Satan accuses us:
• By getting us to look more at our sin than our Savior.
• By causing us to obsess over past sins - primarily sins that caused damage which cannot be undone.
• By making Christians think sufferings or trials are punishment and that God is distant.
• By making us think that inner struggles and feelings, like despair or depression, are struggles Christians shouldn't have or no one else has. This usually results in us isolating ourselves from the body.
3. Thirdly, in how we can battle well - is to stand firm in the Lord. To stand firm in His power, His truth. As Nick mentioned today, something as simple as recalling to ourselves the topics of each sermon in this series, we can remind ourselves and other believers of our reality in Jesus. He is our victory! (1 Cor 15:57). Lean into the Lord and his provisions; the Word, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and community.
The truth is Satan is a joy thief and his end is near but we have the full armor of God to protect us as we battle against his schemes and devices. The truth is you are loved by God Almighty and you are not alone! Again, next week I plan on discussing this more in our Saturday meeting. If you have questions or are struggling please don't hesitate to contact your coach, myself or those in your DG.
Additional articles on this topic: