Our lives are full of obstacles. Each of us know the frustration of dealing with unexpected circumstances. Some of you may have faced barriers to overcome in order to make it to church this week. Maybe you even struggled to make it to your discipleship group.
What did you have to overcome this week to make it to church or group?
It is easy to interpret your obstacles and filter them through our physical eyes without ever considering the spiritual side of things.
Take a moment and consider this:
Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. -1 Peter 5:8
How can we alert ourselves to the Devil’s schemes? Realize that you and I are in a spiritual battle! He wants to devour you!
When it says that the Devil wants to devour us, what does that practically mean? What is his goal for us (cf. John 10:10)? He wants to remove us from the conversation. He come to steal, kill, and destroy. He has a plan to take you out.
And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light! -2 Cor. 11:14
In scriptural accounts, how has Satan disguised his motives and tactics? He deceives. He doesn’t always outright lie. He plays to known desires of those he is tempting. It seems like a good, sound decision to follow him.
Do you believe that Satan still disguises his tactics as something good? I do! Scripture teaches how we are to combat his tactics.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. -Eph. 6:11-12
If our battles are not against things of the flesh, then that means that our adversary has a desired outcome for something other than relating to our flesh. What is Satan trying to win in this battle? More than physical harm, he wants to do us spiritual harm.
Have you ever considered that some of your obstacles may be unseen?
While you may not be able to determine the origin of each struggle you encounter, have you ever considered that there might be spiritual forces involved?
Satan is your adversary. Prowling around like a skilled hunter, he is looking for opportunities to take you down. He also can fool you by appearing to be a godly, light-giving agent of God. Scripture teaches that our battle is not against forces we can see. We are in a battle against a serious adversary. And if we are not careful, we can be lulled into living like we are in a time of peace when a war is raging all around us.
Take a look back at your obstacles that you mentioned this week. Could any of them been more than meets the eye?
Can you see Satan at work trying to fight against you?
We are at war.
Our weaponry consists of prayer and the Word of God (Eph. 6:17-18) and we must learn how to use it in spiritual battles.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.