Closing the Gap 8.23.18

By August 23, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 33 Day 4

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Eph. 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Reflect:

How can he say that our struggle is not against flesh and blood?  It is real people who want to destroy people’s lives in physical warfare.  It is real people who make your life difficult at work, school, and home. It is real flesh and blood people that we struggle to forgive and love and relate to.  For that matter, you are real flesh and blood and your largest struggle is most often within yourself. He is not saying that these physical struggles are illusion or irrelevant.  He is telling us that behind the struggles we can see, there are also struggles that we do not see. Do not turn this into something weird. Do not overspeculate on what this might mean.  Take it at face value. There is a spiritual war that is supernatural in nature and it is real, not weird. It is weird, though, to look at what has happened and is happening in the world and fail to understand there is much more going on than what we can see with our physical eyes.  In this fight, like any real fight, words are not enough. There must be real faith and real follow-through behind any words that we try to use in the battle. You might read a verse where Paul or Jesus merely spoke words and demons had to flee. But those words had power because of much more than just vocal chords vibrating air and sending sounds out.  Look at what happened when some people who did not have relationship with Jesus tried to use his name in the spiritual battle.

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.  [One day] the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. (Acts 19:13-16)

You see, it’s not the words that bring power, it is relationship with Jesus and in that relationship we are able to act on his authority.  Your time in prayer, your time in God’s word, your choice to continually surrender your heart, and your life of obedience…these are all essential to your ability to effectively engage the real war you are in today.  The demons should know who you are because they know whose you are.  “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Corinthians 4:20).

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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