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Jun 24, 2012

It's a Jungle Out There

Our home is on a pretty quiet street. Often, it seems as though we live alone on our street because most of our neighbors are working and commuting and rarely seen. The birds chirp, the breeze blows and, overall, it is a calm and beautiful place to be. Once you leave our housing tract however, the experience is quite different. There is traffic, people and suddenly the calm tranquility of life is extinguished by a very hectic environment requiring a defensive posture to survive. 

This illustration is relevant to draw the parallel to spiritual life. As a follow of Jesus Christ you are quite calm, positive and spirit filled. You may intend to remain focused on the Lord as you step out to face the day at school, work, or "play". Then the reality of the world sets in. Your grace filled, calm, positive self meets with challenges, unexpected interruptions, financial shortages, delays, barriers, difficult people, car trouble, traffic, and the list goes on and on. 

Let's face it, once you start the day you quickly realize that "it's a jungle out there" and you are fighting a battle. You are not fighting against humans. You are fighting against forces of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. The enemy will throw all kinds of challenges at you to keep you from being the person you have promised to be. You promised to obey God, follow His Son Jesus Christ and be Christ like. The spiritual reality is that the enemy of Christ is also an enemy of you and will do what it takes to fight you, especially if you give up or give in. 

You can face the spiritual battles of "life's jungle" and be a successful spiritual warrior when you arm yourself in a way that is different from the way the world would have you arm yourself. The world tells you to arm yourself with anger, hostility, competitiveness, aggressiveness, ruthlessness, self-centeredness and self-indulgence. You can't slay a spiritual enemy that way! 

You can slay the enemy when you arm yourself with the armor of God. God tells you to arm yourself by: 

- Wearinging the Belt of Truth: The truth is God loves you and Jesus died for your sins. God is on your side. Hold on to this truth and it will hold you up and keep you strong when the enemy attacks.

- Guarding your Heart: Put on the breastplate of righteousness always doing what is right and good. 

- Putting on Shoes of Peace: Be ready to go wherever God sends you, no matter the situation, to spread peace and share the Gospel.

- Taking up the Shield of Faith: Protect yourself against the enemy with God. He is your protector and will shield and keep you from evil and harm. 

- Wear the Helmet of Salvation: You are crowned with Christ! You are a child of God and nothing can take you away from Him. The enemy has already been defeated and Jesus Christ has won the battle against death.

- Holding On to the Sword of the Spirit: God's Word is your sword and the promises of the Bible and truth of the scripture is your weapon against Satan and all that he tempts you with. Stay close to God and His Word.

"Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm." Ephesians 6:11-13

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