AUGUST 20

Marching Orders

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers . . . the powers . . . the world forces of this darkness. EPHESIANS 6:12

Whether you realize it or not, you are engaged in a spiritual battle every day. You live in a culture that is increasingly hostile to your faith. The devil and those who promote his self-indulgent agenda are relentless in their assault on your mind and affections. You can't afford to drop your guard for a minute.

Here are some suggestions for surviving—and thriving—in the battle:

1. Don't engage the enemy alone. Ephesians 6:10 says, "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." Whatever temptations you're facing right now, it is His strength alone—not yours—that can see you through. Keep on surrendering daily to the Master.

2. Employ every piece of your spiritual armor. As Ephesians 6:13 says, to resist the schemes of the devil, you must "take up the full armor of God." Not just the belt of truth, but also the shoes of His gospel, the breastplate of His righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of His salvation and the sword of His Spirit—the Word of God (see verses 14-17). Don't head off into battle without them.

3. Go on the offensive. It's not enough just to play defense. Though people without Christ may seem fulfilled and self-satisfied, the truth is that they need to know God's forgiveness.

4. Quit wasting time. You and I are fighting for the soul of future generations. So turn off the television. Put down the sports page. Unplug from the Internet. The consequences of your life are too eternal to waste on forgettable moments.

Never forget that your marriage is taking place on a spiritual battlefield, not on a romantic balcony. Help one another maintain your "war footing."

If you do, you won't be a casualty.

DISCUSS

Identify two or three areas where the constant pull of the world has been wearing down your spiritual sharpness lately. Talk about what you need to do.

PRAY

Pray for strength when you're weak, attentiveness when you're tired and new discoveries of what it means to put your trust in God.  

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