Ephesians 5-6, Psalm 10
During one message Pastor Lloyd encouraged us when praying to be specific in how we pray. The same holds true for every aspect of our Christian walk. The flaming arrows or darts from the enemy will never cease, the question is are we prepared for this ongoing war each and every day. Like Paul, we all have our thorns in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-8), our weaknesses or temptations that hound us. Are we specifically prepared to withstand these attacks. A couple of years ago two people who I was discipling were struggling in two separate areas: one with alcohol, the other with sexual issues. Though I believe staying in the entirety of God's Word is one of our greatest weapons, we must fight fire with fire. In these two scenarios I helped these individuals write a specific list with entire verses specific to these areas and keep them in their wallet or phone. If your temptation is alcohol and that day you are reading about the history of Israel you may not be prepared. But if armed with specific verses against that specific temptation then you are armed with the sword of the Word mentioned in Ephesians 6:17.
When it comes to temptation it is best to avoid these area altogether. Paul said in Ephesians 5:10-12, "finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret." If it is alcohol, avoid the bar or party. But we can never forget who we are fighting against, and he is both strong and resourceful. In Ephesians 6:12-17, Paul said, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;". Each of these items of armor are significant and necessary for our fight. There are multiple words to describe swords, but the specific one used in verse 17 was not a big clumsy sword, but a dagger used for hand to hand combat. John warns us in 1 John 2:15-16, "Do not love the world or the things in the world...For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world." Those are our enemies: the flesh, the world, and the demonic world, and they are powerful. Later in John's letter he encourages the people in 4:4, "You are of God, little children and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
The battle is on, it is not going away, there are no ceasefires. The question is are we prepared to confront them. If tempted in a specific area, if possible avoid it. If you struggle with alcohol, stay clear of the bar. If you struggle with internet pornography avoid being on your phone or computer in private places. But when you can't avoid these areas, in that you have to go to the company party where there will be alcohol or your job requires you to be in your room on your computer, arm yourselves specifically against the attacks. Memorize specific verses, store them on your phone or in your wallet and strengthen yourself with God's specific Word. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." Though I focused on the sword, each item in this armor is vital to our fight. So we don't have to live our lives in fear, for when we are attacked, and we will be, as we draw near to Him, and abide in Christ, we have what we need to withstand it.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: