Christine Hoover’s insights into church planting are very helpful. We’re only a couple of months into this grand endeavor and already can sympathize to the vast majority of points she makes! A friend of our from one of our supporting churches bought this book for my wife (so grateful)! Thanks Kevin Gwin for bringing this article to my attention!
Spiritual Warfare - Stand!
We’ve all been faced with temptation. We’ve all failed. We look at how we’ve sinned and ask, “how did I get to this place?” There is a reality that all followers of Jesus are in the middle of a spiritual battle against our flesh, this world, and Satan.
To ignore it is to play the fool. To deny it is to reject reality. To underestimate it is to flirt with fire.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore… - Ephesians 6:10-14a (ESV)
Four times in this passage we’re told to “stand.” This is the posture of a child of God in the midst of the spiritual battle. Without giving props to Satan (we battle a defeated enemy!), we all must recognize that our foe is mighty. His résumé boasts tripping up people stronger than you and me. This shouldn’t cause us to fear, but to cling to our God. For this reason Paul says to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might."
God has clothed us with the proper spiritual weaponry needed for this spiritual war. While our “spiritual posture" is to stand, our "physical posture" maybe something altogether different. Consider these examples:
Stand by Running - When faced with sexual temptation, our spiritual posture is to stand against it by fleeing away from it. Paul tells Timothy to “flee youthful lust” (2 Tim. 2:22) and that’s precisely what Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. When the seductions of lust and pornography throw themselves at you, Run!
Stand by Kneeling - Prayer is a mighty weapon in this spiritual battle. That’s why Paul says to “pray at all times” in the midst of this war (Eph 6:18). When the disciples couldn’t rebuke the demon from the boy, they took the boy to Jesus. Jesus highlights prayer saying, “this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (Mark 6:29).
Stand by Digging- our Sword in this armor is the Bible. Dig in it! Remember, Satan is called the Father of Lies (John 8:44), and lies are one of the crafty schemes (methods) by which he tries to trip us up. We must know the truth to extinguish the lies. This is exactly what Jesus did in the wilderness when Satan twisted the Bible to try to get Jesus to fall. Jesus replaced the lies with truth, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve’” (Matthew 4:10).
Though our foe is crafty, he is of no match for the Christian who is clothed with the armor of God and standing by the strength of God’s might. The spiritual battle is real, and you were made to “stand” in it. Be diligent in cultivating prayer, studying the Bible, and fleeing temptation each day.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. - 1 John 4:4