It’s summer time which means it’s time for our annual vacation Bible school at our church. This year’s theme is “Be a Mighty Warrior for God” and I think it’s a great topic for the kids and volunteers to focus on. Sometimes we think the biggest battles in life are the physical ones. Dealing with a bully or facing a health scare or death in the family or maybe even confronting poverty or another serious need. But the spiritual battles that war around us are greater by far.
“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). We are in a constant battle against our wise and sneaky foe, Satan, who will stop at nothing in order to bring us down (1 Peter 5:8). He tries to make us feel fear, to feel resentment, to be angry, to lust, or to feel superior to others. Every day, he uses the world around us to pull us away from God’s great love and mercy. Satan convinces us that it’s too hard to follow Jesus or he entices us with our own fleshly desires. We have to fight back! But how?
The most important part of defeating any adversary is knowing who we’re up against and using the right tools in defense. We have to fight this battle on God’s terms. If we go it alone or try to will our way to victory through human wisdom, we’re sure to fail and to succumb to sin eventually. Just like David, we cannot fight in a way that’s not right for the job (1 Samuel 17:38-39). David decided to fight with the power of the Lord on his side and we must do the same.
The correct armor for all spiritual battles is found in Ephesians 6:13-17, and it is the only way we’ll be able to stand firm till the end. The belt of truth to discern Satan’s lies. The breastplate of righteousness to protect our heart from sin. Our spiritual footwear signifying our readiness for the battles that await us and our willingness to go and teach the gospel. The shield of faith protecting us from the physical dangers of the world and the spiritual temptations that Satan throws our way. The helmet of salvation which covers our head and protects our thoughts and our minds from despair with the promise of eternal life with God. Finally, our mighty sword which is the word of God which we use to speak truth. God’s word can cut through to our very soul, convicting us and teaching us God’s will and his ways (Hebrews 4:12).
God knows how serious our spiritual battles are and he has given us everything we need to be successful. I’ll finish with the lyrics to a song that perfectly summarizes the hope we have when we fight our battles God’s way.
“In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land, the battle belongs to the Lord.
No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand, the battle belongs to the Lord.
When the power of darkness comes in like a flood, the battle belongs to the Lord.
He’s raised up a standard, the power of his blood, the battle belongs to the Lord.
When your enemy presses in hard, do not fear, the battle belongs to the Lord.
Take courage, my friend, your redemption is near, the battle belongs to the Lord.
And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.
And we sing, glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.”
(“The Battle Belongs to the Lord”…written by Jamie Owens-Collins 1985)