Just before the first murder where Cain killed his brother Abel, God had said to him “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”(Genesis 4:7) Jesus said, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come..”(Luke 17:1) And even further Peter said, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”(I Peter 5:8-9) We live in a fallen world with a myriad of enticements seeking to pull us away from the Lord, as well as the desires of our own flesh contrary to God’s will. We have the total provision for forgiveness, healing, and new life in Jesus Christ, but we are admonished to “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”(Ephesians 6:11) We are in a spiritual battle in this world. We have more than ample provision in Christ to overcome sin, death, and the devil, but we must turn to Him and use the armor He has given, in order to “stand our ground, and after we have done everything, to stand.” (6:13)
I wrote yesterday about “thoughts and prayers”. In this age of facing so much evil prayer is vital. It must be much more than a nice remark made to sooth a bad situation. Our prayers must be intentional. Jesus taught us to go into our prayer closet pouring our hearts out to the Lord. What we see in school shootings and other evils is not a matter of needing more gun control. Though that may be of some help. At the core we must realize that we are in a spiritual battle with the forces of evil. Satan is a very real enemy, and our true weapons are God’s Word and prayer. We need daily, intentional prayer for our young people that their hearts and minds would be turned to the Lord to be their strength and guide. Implore the Lord to deliver us, fighting our spiritual battles for us. (Psalm 35:1) Cry out for the presence of Christ who alone will overcome evil for all time. Thoughts are fine if they lead to some practical action. But prayer is essential. It is our weapon to stand against the forces of evil that seek to destroy us.
There is a home not far from where we live that has two stone columns at the entrance of their driveway. On top of one of them is a gargoyle, one of those grotesque stone sculptures often used on medieval buildings. In the middle ages they had an architectural function of carrying rainwater away from the sides of a building. The church also attached another function, that of chasing evil spirits away from the sanctuary, and reminding the people of the evil of sin. I suspect none of these functions were the reason the homeowner mounted his gargoyle. It always strikes me, however, that in all of our modern science fiction stories, and superhero tales, the enemy is often an evil looking character or grotesque monster. And, of course, the superhero always wins. Even though society in general doesn’t like the word “sin”, and usually doesn’t acknowledge a real devil, do we still have some spiritual sense deep down that we are, in fact, battling a real enemy that seeks to destroy us? That really is the only explanation for all the wrong we see around us in the world. We are in a real spiritual battle, yet we need not be afraid. In Jesus Christ we have the strength to face all that comes to us. Maybe our neighborhood gargoyle serves as a good reminder after all.
A Christian youth organization is currently traveling around to college campuses with a pro life message. Their intent is to meet and talk with as many students as they can. They use no high pressure tactics, but simply try to share the truth about the sanctity of life. What is striking is the contrast of their actions to the opposition they have received. Not only have there been demonstrations against them with signs and slogans, but foul language, sexually obscene actions, and vandalism. There is no sense of reasonable dialog, and the Christian youth are the ones being accused of being closed minded. It seems to me that this only proves the truth of their position. The opposition has no argument to defeat the truth. They can only try to destroy it. This has been true ever since the Man of Truth was born in Bethlehem, and Him they nailed to a Roman cross. God’s truth will prevail, but it will also face opposition because it is the one truth that will finally destroy the devil and all his works.
It is my intention to add a page to my blog inviting you to Join Me In Prayer. As Christians we recognize that we are in a spiritual warfare. One of our major weapons in that warfare is concerted and unified prayer. I plan to publish a weekly pray concerning some aspect of the battle we see in our world. Satan is a real enemy, but we are given the weapons to stand again him. Please look for that page to be added soon.