May 10, 2004
Encouragement for Today
 
On Guard
Micca Campbell, Assistant Director of Certified Speakers, Certified Speaker/Writer
 
Key Verse:
 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil Ephesians 6: 10-11 (NIV).
 

Devotion:
 
When spring arrives, my husband and I love to walk on the nature trail at the park. We meet there each day to shed off a layer of our winter coats until a fit look for summer is accomplished. One day, we were on our last lap when, suddenly, I noticed a long, black, snake poised on my side of the trail as if he were simply a stick. I stopped dead in my tracks and let out a piercing scream. The snake kept his position, while my husband turned and ran the other way. I knew then it was everybody for themselves!
 
Of course, my husband remembers the event quite differently in his mind. He recalls protecting me from the snake by fearlessly attacking it with his bare hands. Next, he remembers how he whirled the snake around and slung it back into the woods. Then, he reminded me how I rushed him with rewards of hugs and kisses while exclaiming, "Oh, my beloved hero, you saved me from that evil snake!" I recalled that it always puzzles me how two people at the same event can walk away with two different stories!
 
After I returned home from our walk, I wondered how many times we had passed that snake while being unaware of his presence. Now when we walk, I'm on guard looking for the snake behind every bush, every pile of leaves and every tree. While it's good to be on guard for snakes while walking through the woods, there's another snake we should be aware of as we walk through the Christian life. He is described as the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world (Rev.12: 9b).
 
As you and I serve the kingdom of God, the enemy is going to be found in our path from time to time. He knows that we are a threat to his kingdom and he intends to try stopping us just as he tried to stop Christ. During our Christian journey, he may show up in all kinds of forms such as trials, broken relationships, and temptations. Yet, our Lord has provided a way for us to stand guard against the devil's tactics.
 
First, we can guard ourselves against the devil by remembering that Christ conquered him on the cross. He no longer holds us in bondage to sin nor can he hold death over our heads.
 
Secondly, we can guard against the enemy by resisting him. While he still has the power to tempt us, we can experience victory as we submit to God and resist the devil; [then] he will flee from you (James 4: 7).
 
Finally, be on guard by dressing daily in the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17). When we dress ourselves each day in the armor of God, it acts as a hedge of protection that keeps the enemy from showing up on our path and bestowing hardships on us.
 
During my walk with Christ, the "snake" has crossed my path many times with trials and temptations, as I'm sure he has in yours. However, if we are wise, during those times we will cling to our Protector and allow Him to guard us from the enemy's schemes. As we stand firm in the Lord, we will find that our God is able to defeat the serpent of old. Then, with praise due Him, we will proclaim the victory of our Defender!
 

My prayer for Today:
 
Lord, thank you for being my Mighty Defender, and providing me with ways to stand firm against the enemy's schemes. May you grant me victory from every trap and snare so that I might glorify your name.  Amen.
 

Application Steps:
 
Just like putting on your clothes each day, take time to dress yourself in the full armor of God. Read Ephesians 6: 14-17 until you are familiar with helmet of salvation, the breast plate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sword of the spirit, the shoes of peace and the shield of faith. Through prayer, dress yourself with each protective piece of armor. Then you will be able to stand against the enemy's enticements.
 

Reflection Points:
 
What are some trails that the devil has shown up on in your life and ministry?
 
Do you prepare to stand firm each day by dressing yourself in the armor of God?
 
Do you praise and thank the Lord for His protection from the enemy in your life?
 
Do you practice resisting temptation, or do you give into the enemy's schemes?
 
In what ways can you be on guard against the devil?
 

Power Verses:
 
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations. (KJV)
 
1 Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil is a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. (KJV)
 
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. (KJV)
 
1 John 4:4 Ye are of god, little children, and he overcome them; because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. (KJV)
 
Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted. (KJV)
 

Additional Resources:
 
Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/outofdark.html
 
Radically Obedient; Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html