Daily Devotional for Friday December 13, 2013
Most People Aren't Prepared for Spiritual Attacks
(1 John 4:4; James 2:17; Ephesians 6:13-17; Psalms 68:19)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, what is wrong with being a Baptist?
ANSWER: The fact is, nobody is a Baptist, just like nobody is a Methodist, or Lutheran, or Catholic, or Pentecostal! Baptist is simply the name of a Christian church. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior by faith, that makes you a Christian. If you go to a Baptist church, you are not a Baptist but a Christian who attends a Baptist church. It may sound like semantics, but it is important people use correct terminology.
Most people aren't prepared for major spiritual attacks in their life, nor are they prepared for major blessings in their life! This is a mature word for you today, so I suggest you take a few moments to clear your head and open your heart to receive what God is trying to tell you in this message. Every day I deal with so many people who find themselves under tremendous attack spiritually. Most of them are not prepared in any way for the onslaught of the destruction satan brings into their lives.
When the attacks are over, their lives look like those horrible pictures of Pearl Harbor after the Japanese sneak attack on December 7, 1941. Likewise, I deal daily with people who have been blessed abundantly, and are just as unprepared to deal with all of God's blessings as those who are unprepared to deal with major spiritual attacks.
Let me give you a personal observation from dealing with millions of people over 21 years of ministry. Most people CHOOSE to stay on the sidelines because it is safe there. The fact is, they don't really want to be abundantly blessed and they really don't want to suffer major spiritual attacks. They SAY they want to be abundantly blessed, but don't want to pay the price to receive and be responsible for those blessings.
They also live their lives defensively to try and avoid any major spiritual attacks. So they have found the safest place is the sidelines. Sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, attending a few Christian events during the year, going to an occasional Bible study, helping out here and there, but for the most part keeping their heads down and just trying to be "safe."
Here is the problem with that strategy....IT DOESN'T WORK! Here is another problem...it goes against God's Word! God never expected His children to be passive in their faith, but ACTIVE! Many people totally misunderstand James 2:17, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." This is NOT a passage declaring you have to have good works to be saved. Quite the contrary. It is a passage written to Believers stating that good works flow FROM your salvation.
In other words, if you have truly accepted Christ into your heart and life by faith, if you have been "born again," it is natural that good works will flow from your life! GOOD WORKS CAN'T FLOW FROM YOUR LIFE IF YOU ARE SITTING ON THE SIDELINES!
Over and over in the Gospels, we have the exhortation from Jesus to "be about our Father's business." We are told to "go out and preach the Gospel," and to "bring in the lost and hurting." Many parables are about investing our gifts and talents in serving the Lord. It is clear that God's Word doesn't suggest, but COMMANDS Believers to be active in their faith by serving God. As a matter of fact, the general purpose for all of us is to serve and glorify God with our lives. Service is an action word. YOU CAN'T SERVE GOD IF YOU ARE SITTING ON THE SIDELINES!
I realize that a big reason so many Believers are on the sidelines is that they don't want to deal with the major spiritual attacks that come from serving the Lord. Many have stepped out to serve the Lord and been attacked and immediately retreated. That is exactly what satan wants. He wants to scare you into doing nothing. The reality is, you are going to be attacked whether you are serving the Lord or just sitting on the sidelines.
So you might as well obey God and serve Him and simply prepare yourself for the attacks you know will be coming. After a while, you will not only get used to the attacks, but see them coming since satan is really not very creative. You'll get to know his entire arsenal pretty quick. That doesn't mean you can let your guard down, only that you will be ready for him when he comes after you.
Satan will attack you personally. We ALL have weak areas in our life. By trial and error, satan WILL eventually find yours. Constantly shore up those weak areas in your life since it is a guarantee that he will come after you hard in those areas. Satan will attack you through those people you are closest to in this life, your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, other family members and friends. Satan will attack you through your finances.
Trust me when I tell you, satan can attack you through your finances whether you have just a little money or vast amounts of resources. Satan will attack you through your health. We will all die one day, and most of our bodies will experience breakdowns along the way. Satan will attack you through your school, employment, and hobbies. Suffice it to say, there is not one area of your life that satan will not attack you.
Listen my friend, God knew that when you chose to follow and serve Him that the enemy would come after you. That is why He has given us that great promise in 1 John 4:4 that "greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world." That simply means that the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells every Believer, is greater than the power of satan who is attacking you. We also have the "armor of God" found in Ephesians chapter 6. Again, God knew that those who served Him would come under attack, and has given His children all they would need to withstand the attacks from satan and press forward in their service to Him. It is not a mater of if satan will attack, only when, in what area, and how hard.
Just like most people aren't prepared for the major attacks from satan, believe it or not, most people aren't prepared for the major blessings from God in their life! Blessings require accountability and responsibility. God will hold us accountable for our blessings, meaning we are responsible for how we appropriate those blessings.
Do we simply hoard our blessings like some miser holding onto his first dollar? Or do we share our blessings, knowing that God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others? Just like we can't escape the attacks from satan, we can't escape the rich blessings from God. Let me say that once more since I know that went right by most. Just like we can't escape the attacks from satan, we can't escape the blessings from God!!!
God LOVES to bless His children. God blesses us despite ourselves, even though we don't deserve them! When we are faithful, when we are obedient, when we are honoring God with our lives, God will bless us above and beyond anything we ever could imagine. Those blessings require us to take an even bigger stand for the Lord. Those blessings force us to an even greater level of commitment in serving Christ.
Whatever we may have done yesterday for the Lord isn't enough any longer. Because of God's abundant blessings, we have to do more. My friend, no matter what you have done for the Lord in the past, no matter what you are doing for the Lord today, YOU CAN ALWAYS DO MORE TOMORROW! GOD'S BLESSINGS ON OUR LIFE REQUIRE US TO DO MORE!
I love you and care about you so much. Here is my word for you today, please hear me. If you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart and life by faith, you are COMMANDED and REQUIRED to serve Him with your life. Your life is no longer your own, it belongs to Him. Sitting on the sidelines is NOT an option. That means you will come under attack. Be prepared for it. God has given you all you need to withstand the attacks of satan.
Just know going in that he is going to come after you, but that God is watching over you and will protect you. That is why staying close to the Lord through His Word, through prayer is so important each day. That is why following God's Word in how we live our lives each day is critical. Satan is already going to come after you, so don't help him by opening the door through sin.
By following the Lord in your life, that also means you are going to be blessed, above and beyond what you ever imagined. Be prepared for it. Know that with God's blessings comes a responsibility to be a good steward over those blessings. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. As we walk in obedience to the Lord, faithfully serving Him, God will bless us so that we are able to serve Him in greater ways. The more we serve the more blessings we will receive, the more blessings we receive the more we must serve. There is no limit to God's blessings and there is no limit to our ability to serve Him.
I will be praying for you today. Praying that you will not be afraid of satan's attacks in your life, but be prepared for them. They are a sign that you are a threat to the enemy. God will protect you! I will also be praying that you will be prepared for God's richest blessings in your life as you faithfully serve and follow Him. Receive His blessings as an encouragement to press in deeper into your own daily walk with the Lord as well as your service to Him. Blessings are a gift from God and His way of saying "well done thou good and faithful servant" even now during this life as you honor Him with your service.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,