spiritual warfare; it’s the sign of the times. never before has the Christian church been closer to the Second Coming of Christ and under such a grand attack from the enemy. every morning, God’s mercies are new, yet the populous turns to entertainment and self-gratification. most of those that have tried to live for God have been turned away by pious commentary. some do not want to take the time and effort to walk with the Master truly. the closer you follow the Bible and enforce these godly principles upon your flesh, the easier it becomes to serve the risen Savior. at the same time, you become a threat to principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
over the last several weeks and months, i have noticed a ramping up in the spiritual—church services filled with Holy Ghost outpourings. one fantastic day last month, we had 23 souls baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins. however, the manifestation of the power of God to convert and cleanse has not been the only spirit at work. the enemy has been busy in his own right. physical attacks of disease and unexplained illnesses have appeared. there is a great disruption from a distracted congregation and the inability to focus (vague to a fault, on purpose). the oppression of the saints weighs heavily on weary souls. church members and those raised in church turn aside to pursue exploits that hold no eternal value. the reasoning behind the ease of walking away is simple, the battle is over, and relief deceives its victim into a state of relaxation.
Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV, Tyndale 1987). we must do our part and trust that God is in control. i repeat, out loud sometimes, that “Jesus is still on the Throne!” “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people” (Hebrews 10:30). allow the Lord to fight your battles. submit yourself completely to Him and cry out to Jesus. “O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me” (Psalm 30:2).
it’s easy to say such things when things are going your way, but how can we prepare for those times that disquiet our souls. we were not left without armament. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:13-18). Truth is at our core, and our life-essential members are covered in His righteousness. we stand on the good news of peace and can deflect inflicted attacks. this helmet brings us to the remembrance of the hope to come, and we regain territory on the offensive, much like Jesus did, by wielding the Word of God.
my Elder, Bobby Pittman, pointed out to me this week that we are entirely covered when we put on the whole armor of God, completely covered except for our back. perhaps this is a subtle reference to moving forward in Christ and leaving our past behind. Brother Pittman suggested it is related to Isaiah 52:12b, “for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.” that is not a typo; it is rereward. some versions of the Bible have changed it to reward. even the Biblegateway.com KJV Bible has changed this word to reward. the Hebrew word for this is וּמְאַסִּפְכֶ֖ם (ū·mə·’as·sip̄·ḵem) and the translation is “rear-guard” (Strong’s 622). the rear-guard is the troops in the rear of an army on the march (https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/rereward/). not only will the Lord go before you, but God literally has your back! He’s on the watch for sneak attacks. Jesus covers your past when it tries to overtake you. should you lose ground and begin to retreat, you will run straight into Jesus with the encouragement to continue the fight.
now is not the time to give up. the hope that we have will soon be realized in Christ Jesus. i encourage you to develop daily routines that include your spiritual well-being. strengthen your resolve in the days to come. it is not always easy. the attacks are persistent, and they erode your determination. even the best vessels need to be refilled. you can do it; we can do it together. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19b). lifting a standard is a metaphor for making an armed resistance and easily vanquishing the enemy (Pulpit Commentary). just as Moses came face to face with the enslavement of his people, “he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Hebrews 11:26b). it will be worth it all, my friend. it will be worth it all.