week of August 1-7
"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"
I met my wife, Cindy, in Bible College.
She was in her junior year when I came in as a freshman. Clearly it didn’t take me long to realize a few things. First, she was someone that I needed in my life. Second, she was definitely more mature than I was.
As someone who was more mature, she helped me see areas of my life where I was struggling to be myself.
She would often point out moments when I would take on the traits or the personality of people around me, and because she knew the real me, she would call it out and ask questions like, “Why are you trying to be like ______?”.
Sometimes she wasn’t so subtle because I needed it, and she just called it out for what it was. Most of the time there wasn’t a good answer to her question or statements. Just the reality that I wasn’t being myself but trying to be someone I’m not. She knew me well enough to know when the impersonator was shining through.
It was subtle. There wasn’t an intentional choice made to act like or become like someone else. It would just unintentionally happened. As Cindy continued to point out these actions, to call me into a more integrated and holistic view of who I was meant to be, over time I became more aware of the moments when I wasn’t being true to who I was created to be.
It’s no surprise to me that one of the greatest tactics of the devil, God’s enemy and ours, is to use deception to distract us from the person that God, in Jesus, created us to be. The latter part of Ephesians 6 talks about the “Devil’s schemes” that the enemy of God is actively creating against us.
What’s the end game of these deceptive plans? To get us to live in a way that is less than all that God has blessed us with in our new lives as God’s kids. Ephesians goes on to describe the nature of what’s happening with military and wrestling language – that we are actively struggling in a spiritual fight, and that our response is to put energy into staying where God has put us in Jesus.
Just as Cindy would point me back to true north with little questions, the Spirit of God within us, and the community of believers around us, help to make us aware of the moments when we have given up ground to the enemy’s advances.
The results of which leave us living lesser than the new people we were created to be in Jesus. As the Holy Spirit, and people are faithful to point these moments out, it allows us to reset, refocus, grab our armor in Ephesians 6, and stand firm in the new you.
QUESTIONS TO HELP STIR FURTHER THOUGHTS:
What areas in my life would the enemy like me to live like an imposter?
What deceptive schemes or distractions has the enemy been attacking me with lately?
Who in your life can call you out when, spiritually, you aren’t standing your ground?
What part of the armor in Ephesians 6:10-20 is a struggle to utilize, day to day, as protection from the enemy?
Can you invite one person this week to have a conversation about what it looks like to wrestle and fight, to stand your ground in the spiritual fight, to live as the new you?