Friday, April 11, 2008

Semper Paratus

Semper Paratus” is the motto of the United States Coast Guard meaning “Always Ready.” What a great depiction of this incredible group of men and women who are the final line of defense in protecting our homeland. This Sunday we will see from Ephesians 6:10-20 that Paul shares are need to be “Always Ready” for the spiritual battles we will face. This begins with a proper perspective. If we are going to survive our spiritual battles, we must first have an attitude of dependence which begins with a dependence on the power of God. We are commanded to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. When will we realize that our strength is never sufficient to oppose Satan but the Lord’s strength is more than sufficient for our spiritual battle? There is no spiritual battle that we will face that we can not be victorious in if we depend on the power of God. Through His cross and resurrection. Jesus has already defeated Satan and his power over sin and death (Romans 5:18-21; 1 Corinthians 15:56-57; Hebrews 2:14).

Along with depending on His power, we must also realize our need to depend on God’s protection. To take advantage of the strength of God, believers must put on the whole armor of God that He supplies (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The words “put on” is the idea of putting on once and for all. This is not something we continually put on and take off. We don’t slip out of our armor when we get home at night. We must understand that our battle never ends and we must live our lives depending on these elements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Putting on the armor of God enables us to stand firm against the schemes of the Devil. The words “stand firm” is a military term which was the idea of holding a critical position while under attack. The enemy that we are to stand firm against is the Devil. The Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is also described as an angel of light with great powers of deception (2 Corinthians 11:14). Finally, Satan is clearly called a liar in Scripture (John 8:44). He cannot tell the truth. The armor of God protects us against Satan’s crafty, cunning and deceiving schemes and methods (Ephesians 4:14).

If we are going to always be ready in order to survive our spiritual battles, along with an attitude of dependence, we must also have an awareness of demons. This is very real. Paul talks about our “struggle” which was a word used to describe hand to hand combat like in a wrestling match. Folks, listen, our struggle as Christians is not with man; it is not against flesh and blood. Did you hear that? Yes, abortion is wrong, but our struggle is not against abortionists or pro-choice people. Yes, homosexuality is against God’s commands and we must stand against sin, but our struggle is not against gay people. Neither is our struggle against the people who make up liberal organizations such as the National Organization of Women; the ACLU or the People for the American Way. Though we may strongly disagree with what each of these and other organizations like them stand for, our struggle is not against people. Our struggle is against Satan and his army of demons, an army so highly structured and numerous that Paul categorizes them as Rulers, Powers, World Forces of this Darkness, and Spiritual Forces of Wickedness in Heavenly Places. No wonder we must always be ready…“Semper Paratus”!

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