Luke 21:34-36 – “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
THEME OF THE DAY: ARMED FOR BATTLE. Today’s scripture coming from our Lord Jesus is powerful, direction, needs to be heeded, and our response will determine whether we fight the good spiritual fight we are called to or will be a casualty on the field of battle. Let’s consider two things from our Lord today – the battlefield and our enemies followed by Jesus’ instructions to be “battle ready” to win.
First, notice the battlefield and our opponent. It is the world and our enemy, the cares of this life. But don’t think it is just the pressures and daily concerns of life which are the only spiritual foe we face. There are two others – our remaining sin and the devil team up with the world to wage war against our souls. This unholy trinity is committed to our destruction. Though they cannot damn us and rob us of heaven, they can, unless fought against, ruin our life on the way to heaven. The intense spiritual influences from the world, our remaining sin, and the devil demand a diligent spiritual posture be maintained daily by the Christian. We are in a constant spiritual battle which will know no ceasefire or surrender this side of heaven. And one of the most effective tactics our foes use to distract us from the war and inevitably defeat us in the war is simply to get us to forget there is a war. Many Christians lay slain on the battles of spiritual warfare because they forget this life is nothing but war. The signs of being a spiritual casualty are indifference to church, neglect of the Bible and prayer, spiritual blindness to the fleeting nature of life, and coldness to the gospel and the Lord Jesus.
Next, our Lord directs our preparation for battle leading to fighting successful warfare. He tells us “watch yourselves, stay awake at all times.” Friends, we must assume personal responsibility for personal preparation for personal warfare. God will not prepare us without our cooperation and due diligence in spiritual preparation. Neglect this and welcome spiritual defeat – every time. And the first area to get battle ready is know yourself. This means be aware of areas of personal vulnerability. Here are just two examples. Maybe we are prone to waste time on social media or browsing the internet. If so, establish set times and time limits for such things. Don’t walk around with those fancy phones and eat away precious time on Facebook, email, blogs, or websites. Sure, use these technologies God has given us, but don’t be owned by them. The world and devil easily make good things obsessive and sinful things. Another area is busyness. The world and the devil love to get Christians busy with worldly things, even good worldly things. They know if we get exhausted in the world, we will be too exhausted for the Word. Heed Jesus’ words – “Watch yourself” by being aware of known areas of weakness which are prone to attack.
A second area of preparedness for daily spiritual war is be a person of prayer. Real prayer, deep prayer, consistent prayer, fervent prayer, and relational prayer. Jesus said, “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things.” The time frame – “at all times” applies to both being awake and praying. We are called to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That doesn’t mean live on our knees, but it does mean maintain an attitude of prayer, all the time, of communing with the Lord as each and every event unfolds in our lives. Yes, this is possible. The language of prayer is both verbal with words and of the heart with inward sharing with the Lord without audible words. Learn to walk constantly with Him through prayer and we will maintain a ready battle posture.
Yes, friends, we are in a constant war but we can be armed and defeat our foes constantly. It requires alertness and prayer. Both provided for through God’s Word and the help of His Spirit. Let’s learn to be warriors fighting the good fight and winning in the fight for the Lord’s honor and our good.
PRAYER: “Father, make me ever mindful of my need to be spiritually wise, alert and on guard every day.”
QUOTE: “The influences of sin, Satan, and the world are constantly pulling at us requiring daily spiritual diligence”.