No one goes through this life unopposed.
It just isn’t done. Sometimes the adversary is another person, or a corrupt system, or a rigged game, and sometimes we are our own adversary.
The Christ-follower can identify with the Prophet Daniel. In the spirit-world we face down hungry lions every day. This isn’t fantasy or paranoia; it is simply the truth. Sometimes a single lion will stalk us; at other times the whole pride of lions has our scent. Like the Prophet, a den of lions might be the reward we receive for being faithful to God. No matter the number of snarling beasts we face, their jaws are locked and there power over us is limited by the hand of God. They try to roar but can only mumble
Satan comes against the Church.
When Jesus promised that the “Gates of Hell” will not prevail against the church, he was telling us to look out for serious adversaries. The enemy of our souls doesn’t waste his limited offensive strength against strongholds he has already won. He comes against the church. Like a hapless legion of ignorant soldiers the armies of Hell have battered the church since it was founded on the Day of Pentecost. The church has taken more than her share of casualties in these assaults but she has never been stopped. Our adversaries take no delight in the addict, or the felon, or the atheist, or the humanist, and even—ironically enough—in the Satanist. Their focus is the church—you and me.
- These adversaries want to spoil our worship and distract us.
- They want to tempt us to sin. A church that is not holy is no threat to them.
- They want our kids and grand-kids. They target them in every way.
- They want us to be sick, overweight, depressed, and disagreeable, making us unable to do what God has called us to do even when we want to.
- They want to divide us. Hell knows that the unity of spirit and purpose makes the church impregnable and unstoppable.
Our adversaries remember two days that we often forget:
- The day of the dedication of the Temple, and
- The Day of Pentecost.
On each of these days The Glory of the Lord fell. The trigger of these visitations was unity.
What are our adversaries, these tight-lipped lions up to? What is their strategy? They are charged with seeing that something like these two days never happens again so they deceive us into competing divisions.
What should our counter-strategy be?
We must undo the divisions culture has thrust upon us:
- Old from young,
- Rich from poor,
- Worker from professional,
- Dark skinned from light,
- preacher from parishioner,
and be One again! One–just as Jesus prayed and just as the Bible commands.
When we are One–No adversary can defeat us!
Psalm 71 NKJV
In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually… O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be confounded and consumed who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more…. My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; For they are confounded, For they are brought to shame Who seek my hurt.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 NKJV
…indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord…that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
Acts 2:1-4 NKJV
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance
Lord Jesus, You are the Victor! The outcome has already been decided but prayer is the continuing battle. Worship is our warfare. Through praise we assault the strongholds of the enemy and see them weaken, crumble, and fall. Some are stubborn and so must I be, relentless in prayer, ever asking, seeking, knocking until the victory comes. Help me be faithful in this combat. And for Your church, make us one again! Undo the wicked strategies that divide us. Bind us together as One Army, ready for battle. In Your mighty name, Amen.
Onward Christian Soldiers
Words: Sabine Baring-Gould; Music: Arthur S. Sullivan
1.Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
2.At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.
3.Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
5.Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never ‘gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.
6.Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved