For the summer months, I decided to take a break from my small group time and review one or two of the book studies I had already done. Most of the time, I rush through the studies to get it done in the allotted time for small group and fail to take away anything of significance for my spiritual growth. So in June, I started with Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God book study (Lifeway Church Resources, Nashville, TN, 2015).
The first week is all about sizing up the enemy. You know who the enemy is, right? It’s not the spouse; the problematic children; the hard-to-work-with co-worker; it’s the one behind all the problems we face. It’s the master of deception who keeps us “distracted, discouraged and divides us from others” – its Satan and his demons. Maybe you don’t believe in Satan. That’s okay. But be assured, he has no problems with you not believing he is real; makes his job so much easier.
Priscilla likened the enemy to a whack-a-mole child’s game. Have you seen the game? The game is several holes on a board with a mole popping out indiscriminately. A child takes a mallet and tries to hit the mole on the head whenever he pops out of a hole. The child anticipates the next move the mole makes and tries to be there when it comes out. A good whack will end the game.
Satan uses our circumstance like the mole popping out of the hole. We are so focused on where the mole will come out next that we forget there is a force behind the scenes. We forget that just beyond our sight, behind the curtain, someone is pulling the strings in the game to make the mole move about and enter the holes. His job is to make sure the mole keeps us entertained while the real important stuff goes without notice. We get worn out trying to chase the mole. It’s never ending until we finally just give up, and the mole wins the game.
On Day 3, Priscilla wrote: (pg25): “You’re exactly where the enemy wants you – where you no longer want to fight for peace and passion in your marriage, where you no longer believe your child can be restored, where you no longer hope for healing in your body,… where you just don’t see the purpose in praying anymore… so you don’t.” You get worn out by the mole and just give up.
Priscilla issued a wake-up call for us who call ourselves Christians. “Satan and the demons of darkness are hoping you’ll be disengaged and disinterested instead of alert, aware and active. Lazy, lethargic Christianity can no longer be an option.” Times will be getting worse. We need to be focused on the things that matter most, not the holes and the mole.
We already have what we need to defeat the enemy. We have the mallet that will whack the mole for good! For those who are followers of Jesus, we have one who is stronger than the enemy. We have protection, provision and the full armor of God at our disposal to use in thwarting Satan’s attempts to hijack our lives.
Satan already knows what will work in his favor. He has been studying us since our first breath. But rest assured. We too know his tricks. Priscilla reminds us (pg29) “Satan is tricky, but he isn’t original or particularly creative.” We just need to be aware of his schemes. We can thwart his plans if we see it coming. The Bible gives us plenty of information about Satan’s plans.
Prayer is the “divinely authorized method that activates your spiritual armor and makes it effective” (pg34). Priscilla says prayer is Satan’s kryptonite (pg34)! Nice! That’s the mallet! Bam! In this last day of study, Priscilla tells her readers “prayer is the linchpin that holds our armor together” (pg35). We have access to a loving God who wants to hear His children call His name. Like any good Father, He wants to be there with us and for us. It starts with specific prayer. No willy nilly praying here. Be bold and direct. Ask, seek, knock.
The thing about armor is that it is used in a battle. And that’s what we’re in – each and every day. This is not for the faint of heart. Satan is out to destroy us – family, community and by any means necessary. The battle is not seen by the naked eye. It is a spiritual battle fought in the heavenly realm. Prayer is our access to God who is our protector. So the battle isn’t against the one in your circle of discomfort. Satan is just using that person to his ends. Don’t get sidetracked by his schemes. Call out to the One who has already defeated him, and remind Satan his days are numbered! Bam! Game over!
Cast all your anxiety on him (God) because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:7-9