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Strength To Stand

There was a time and place when, if you were born a Hatfield or a McCoy, you were born into a battle. Conflict was inevitable. It wasn’t a matter of what you chose, but of who you were. We who are born into Christ join Him in battle, as well. His fight is not against countries, clans, or individuals, but against Satan and his underling spiritual forces of darkness. This “evil one” hates God and will use any means possible to deceive, tempt, accuse, and destroy God’s people forever. We know this by experience, don’t we?

With eternal consequences at stake, spiritual warfare demands spiritual strength. The problem is, on our own, we have none. “The spirit is willing,” Jesus warned, “but the flesh is weak.”1 Knowing this, the apostle Paul provided basic instructions for spiritual conflict, a regimen every bit as effective for us today as when he wrote them in his letter to the Ephesian church:

We guard our minds with salvation as though it were a helmet,
And who is our salvation but Christ?2

We fortify our hearts with righteousness as though it were a breastplate,
And who is our righteousness but Christ?3

We secure ourselves in truth as though it were a belt,
And who is truth itself but Christ?4

We equip our feet with the good news of peace,
And who is our peace but Christ?5

We trust the Word of God as though it were a sword, piercing to the truth of a matter,
And who is the Word of God but Christ?6

We stand behind faith as though it were a shield against all fear,
And in whom do we place our faith but Christ?

The armor we put on for strength is Christ! Nothing can overcome Him, for He is above “all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given.” No wonder our enemy flees when we resist him! He looks at us and sees the all-powerful One who covers us from head to toe.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Lord Jesus be all of these things in me, and strengthen me to stand against all the forces of evil today. Amen.

1 Matthew 26:41 (NASB
2 Acts 4:12
3 1 Corinthians 1:30
4 John 14:6
5 Ephesians 2:14
6 John 1:14

Click here to read today’s Scripture in Ephesians 6:10-20.

Today’s post is an excerpt from Christ in Me. Copyright © 2016 Paul Nordman. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Click here to order your copy of Christ in Me by Paul Nordman.

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Phone-A-Friend

“I’d like to phone a friend, Regis.” Do you remember when “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” was a new, national phenomenon? “Phone-a-friend” was one of three “lifelines” a contestant could use when stumped or uncertain as to the answer to a question. (“Ask the audience” was the most reliable source of help it seemed, and “50:50” was the third option.)

Knowing his betrayal and crucifixion lay immediately before him, Jesus urged His disciples to throw out a lifeline: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation,” he told them, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41). I’m guessing Jesus was praying the same thing for Himself, for Luke tells us, “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22:43). Jesus prayed, and God provided—answered prayer. And aren’t we glad! Just think of the eternal ripple effects of Jesus’ fortification against temptation that history-hinging night. His sacrificial submission to the Father—“yet not my will, but yours be done”—means life to all who will receive the true life found only in Him.

Praying for strength against temptation is something we do, but probably not as often as we should. I’m not sure why, because it’s not all that difficult. It can be as simple as a sincere, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” What counts is not how flowery our petitions, but how trustworthy God’s promises and how reliable His power. Promises like, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Or power, as in, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

How easy it is to fall into temptation, yet how important not to. So, we “watch and pray”—we “phone a Friend”—for He is our lifeline. A million times over, He is our lifeline. Aren’t we glad!

Father, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil, today. Provide me a way to stand firm, resisting the evil one until he leaves. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

[Click here to read today’s Scripture in Luke 22:39-46.]