I trust you are doing well and looking forward to Sunday.
Last weekend I had the blessing of sharing with some local pastors a talk dealing with conflict in the local church. Conflict is heartbreaking and thankfully, MBC has been blessed throughout its history with being a unified church.
My first major point was a reminder that fundamentally the struggles of the believer and the church are spiritual. Paul says to the believers in Ephesus that “…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 6:16).
God so impressed that truth upon my mind that I shared with the Men’s Bible study on Tuesday morning Satan’s subtle strategy in this conflict from Genesis 3. Adam and Eve were living in the Garden of Eden. Satan comes and tempts Eve to disobey God’s clear directive not to eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His strategy is five-fold:
First, Satan is never straightforward and direct but always crafty and deceptive.
Second, Satan will always challenge the authority of God’s Word.
Third, Satan always questions God’s character.
Fourth, Satan always contradicts the certainty of God’s judgment.
Finally, Satan never mentions the pain of disobedience only its pleasure.
We are involved in a spiritual battle. A battle between God’s kingdom and Satan’s. A battle between light and darkness; good and evil.
Earlier this week I read about a Christian leader and speaker who fully recognized this conflict. Each time he traveled and stayed at a hotel he offered the following prayer:
“Gracious Heavenly Father, I thank you for the opportunity to minister the gospel here in ___________, and I ask that you would begin by protecting me from any and all demonic spirits that would seek to derail my focus on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, I ask that you would sanctify this room and make it a place of your dwelling. If there has been any illicit, unbiblical sexual activity in this room before I arrived, I pray that you would cleanse it and drive from it any lingering demonic spirits. If pornography was viewed on this TV I pray that you would drive from it any demons who are still present. Fill this room with your presence. Fill me with your presence. May this hotel room and my body be a temple of your abiding presence and power. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
May God give us the wisdom and a sensitive spirit to the reality of the spiritual warfare around us!
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In the light of His glory and grace,