Don’t forget to put your armor on

armor-fighting-spiritual-warfare_1170x350

Samurai were scary people. Many of the popular movies about them have been toned down to make them sympathetic characters, but in reality, they were a brutal, unyielding segment of a society. They had no pity and no mercy, and while I’m sure they had some concept of love, it wasn’t the same as a Westerner like an American would comprehend.

That being said, the samurai fascinate me. They always have. Japanese culture in general is one of my favorite topics, but samurai in particular captivated my interest from the time I was a child. And if you want a really interesting read, there’s a book called Code of the Samurai, which is actually a fast, in-depth read about samurai culture (for any of you culture nerds out there).

A samurai was always ready for battle, always ready to take up arms against an enemy. They were ever-vigilant. And they were obsessed with honor and respect. And nothing is more samurai than the samurai armor, but how long did it take to actually get into one of those rigs? Hours probably. But would a samurai go into battle without his armor? Very unlikely. A samurai’s armor was the symbol of his family, his heritage, his honor, and, honestly, it was just common sense. Who goes into battle without armor?

Unfortunately, I do it every day, and I’m not supposed to.

If you’re a Christ-follower, you have access to armor. And not just any armor—God’s armor. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12-13, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

There’s a war raging around us every minute of every day, and we can’t see any of it with our eyes. It’s a struggle for our attention, our faith, our belief. Demons and angels. God and Satan. Granted, God already dealt Satan a fatal blow when Jesus saved us on the cross, but Satan hasn’t backed down yet. He still thinks he can win, so he’s throwing everything he has at us.

So God has given us everything we need to fight back. We just have to choose to accept it.

Truth. God’s righteousness. Peace. Faith. Salvation. The Word. God has given these things to us to fight against what Satan throws at us. If we use them, nothing can hurt us. So why don’t we use them?

Honestly? I forget I have it. I get into the groove of living and think that I’m on my own. I think I have to do it all myself, and that’s a lie.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]We are fighting the remnants of a war that God has already won for us.[/su_pullquote]

Christians, remember that every day is a battle, and we’re not fighting against what we can see. We don’t fight against our coworkers (no matter if they annoy us) or our family (even if they frustrate us) or our government (even though The Man is getting a little big for his britches). We are fighting the remnants of a war that God has already won for us.

Don’t forget to put your armor on. Cling to truth. Hold tight to what God says is right. Seek peace and faith. Trust God’s salvation and His Word. And don’t listen to what the devil whispers in your ears. The devil has already lost this war, and when we draw on the power of God’s armor, we’ll win the battle too.

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A statue of a lion at Trafalgar Square, London, England, UK

Facing evil the way Jesus did it

Our world is full of evil. It’s a broken, dark place, and it can be overwhelming and frightening, especially in those moments when we feel weak or alone. But like I posted yesterday, those of us who follow Christ have a power in us stronger than the darkness in the world.

So, knowing that, how will it change how we live? How will understanding the power God has given us change the way we face evil? That’s something I want to know because I face evil every day.

Evil can look like so many different things though, so what am I saying when I talk about evil? I’m talking about everything that is opposed to God. Can you list how many perspectives, personalities, or people in your life who make decisions that go against what God says is right?

What do you do with those people? As a Christ-follower, how do you handle those people?

A statue of a lion at Trafalgar Square, London, England, UK

A statue of a lion at Trafalgar Square, London, England, UK

Today’s verses are Luke 8:26-29.

So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town.

As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him.

This is one of those passages that everyone usually knows or has seen some poor Hollywood account on a made-for-TV movie. And maybe this isn’t the best example, but I’m of the opinion that we should always look to Christ when we need to know how to live. And there aren’t many other examples of evil that come to mind.

The story of the Gerasenes Demoniac (try to say that three times fast) is a famous story, but what would have happened if Jesus had refused to help him? What would have happened if Jesus shut him out?

There wouldn’t have been a story. The demon-possessed man would have continued his horror of a life until his body finally wore out.

But that’s not what happened. The Demoniac approached Jesus, and Jesus didn’t run. He didn’t back down. He didn’t turn away. He didn’t shut His eyes.

He told that demon what to go do with himself–all of his selves.

What can we learn from that? Now, granted, I’m pretty sure I don’t run into demoniacs every day. But I do know people who are dead set on doing what they want to do instead of what God says is right, and in God’s definition, that’s evil. So when I’m confronted with evil, I have a choice. I can either ignore it, or I can face it.

But not in a weakling, cowering, sniveling way. Jesus didn’t face the demoniac and ask him politely to vacate the man’s body. Well, I say he didn’t. I wasn’t there. But I highly doubt it was a polite conversation.

So what’s the point? Well, how many times do we turn away from evil when it crosses our path? I posted yesterday about fear and how it’s so much easier to shut our eyes to evil. And it is easier. But it’s wrong.

There’s a reason why God left us here on Earth. We’re here for a purpose, and that purpose is shining the light that Christ gave us for the rest of humanity–the ones who are lost in the darkness and who want to get out. But we can’t pierce that darkness until we’re willing to take a stand against evil.

But that might look different than you think.

When Jesus faced evil, He did it with confidence. He did it with strength and certainty. And if He can do that, so can we.

So today, when you come face to face with something that contradicts what God says is true, don’t shrink away. Don’t fall back. Don’t retreat. And don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Stand up. Speak the truth (in love, always in love). Shine a light in the darkness, and–who knows?–maybe someone who hasn’t met Jesus yet will choose to join us on this crazy adventure called life.