“…We are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.” (Titus 2:12-13, NLT) Our local community has been reminded in the last two weeks of just how evil this world in which live is becoming. On September 8th, 22-year old Pfc. James Fleet McClamrock, a hometown soldier from Concord, NC, was killed in Iraq when a U.S.-trained member of the Iraqi army suddenly opened fire, killing him and a fellow U.S. Army soldier. Then the 23-year-old daughter of our local Police Chief in Concord, mysteriously missing since September 15th, was tragically found in a Self-Storage Room in nearby Charlotte, allegedly murdered by a 34-year-old man who is a convicted sex offender and who has a “criminal rap sheet” that should have had him placed behind bars long ago. These two local headlines have brought a fresh reminder of two truths: first, “the days (in which we are living) are evil” (Ephesians 5:16); and secondly, there are many people in this world who are truly wicked and who selfishly have no problem in bringing harm, or even death, upon their fellow man. Of the wicked, God’s Word sternly warns us in Psalms 10:8-9 of their evil, destructive tactics, “They hide outside villages, waiting to strike and murder some innocent victim. They are hungry lions hiding in the bushes, hoping to catch some helpless passerby.” (CEV) In light of this real and present danger, our text today instructs us to “live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God.” Ephesians 5:15 similarly declares, “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully … not as the unwise …but as wise (i.e. in godly wisdom).” Let me state one thing with absolute clarity – just because you live a righteous life with godly purpose does not excuse you from the attacks and influence of the evil one (Satan). John 10:10 reminds us that Satan’s mission is to “steal, kill and destroy” anyone and anything that reflects the heart / witness of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. As Christians, we must acknowledge that the very ground upon which we stand is a spiritual battlefield in the midst of a fierce war that is violently raging all about us. The assessment of this spiritual war is that there are many who lie critically wounded all around us – some injured due to improper training, others injured from friendly fire while others lie wounded from the effective targeting of the enemy’s vicious attacks (i.e. he studies and knows our weaknesses very well). Sadly, a growing number of others have become so frightened of this war that the have left the battlefield all together and are now listed as AWOL (Absent Without Leave) from God’s orders to “fight the good fight of faith!” (1 Timothy 6:12) Incredibly, there are still others which live in denial that this spiritual war - forewarned to us in the Bible - even exists at all! The Apostle Paul reminds us of the seriousness of this spiritual battle and the reality that every believer, through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, is fully equipped with powerful weapons to fight this formidable enemy, Satan who was at one time - lest we ever forget - an angelic ally with God in Heaven (Ezekiel 28:12-19). Paul writes, “God is strong, and he wants you (to be) strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels (now called ‘demons’).” (Ephesians 6:10-12, The Message) Today’s Truth Quest challenges us to answer this simple, yet revealing question, “Where do you truly stand?” God calls each of us, as His “Warriors for Christ,” to “stand firm against all strategies of the devil!” (Ephesians 6:11, NLT) The Apostle Peter strongly cautions us to, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9a) So before the sun rests on this day, I invite you to know with certainty of heart where you spiritually stand for the days in which we are living are truly filled with an evil that has an insatiable appetite for the destruction of God’s people (His Church) and the Kingdom of God which we are called to advance! A Call to Arms has been issued by our Supreme Commander-in-Chief … may we each answer the call!
Special Note: For the past 7 weeks, the Lord has led me to study His Word for deeper insights into the arena of “Spiritual Warfare.” Spoken about in today’s Truth Quest, I feel the Lord would have me continue this truth journey and to begin a new devotional series detailing Biblical precepts which are vital to understand if we are to be victorious on the battlefields of this life!
Today's Spirit-led video is a "Battle Cry" for Every Believer ... listen with your heart and respond in obedience to God's invitation to "put on the armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11) and join Him in today's Spiritual War for the hearts and souls of families throughout this nation and all around the world!