This week I began sorting through old pictures that were left to me by my parents. It was fun looking back at memories of family get-togethers with aunts/uncles/cousins/ and grandparents. Then I got to the bottom of one box and found an old blue book that said “Service Record” on the front. This was a journal of sorts that my dad kept when he was in World War 2. It was a record from the day he entered the Marines (have to stipulate which service because he was always very proud of being a Marine😊) until he was discharged. Every battle he fought in was listed, how long it lasted, and where it was. What jumped off the page at me were his words at the end of each of the battles….”successful battle.” Those words have been floating around in my head for a few days and I find it interesting that Dad felt it important or necessary to give the outcome.
Our lives are a testimony of our successes, failures, defeats, sadness, joy, fears, pain, and a look at the path God has taken us on. I have written and journaled a lifetime of these things. However, I have not looked back over these pages and written “successful battle” or wondered if God would say “successful battle” my good and faithful daughter. What would God’s point of view be?
Just as my dad endured and survived authentic battles with enemy fire all around him, we as Christian women are in the midst of our own battles. We are surrounded with enemy fire in almost every aspect of our lives. It may not be bullets and hand grenades, but we are taking in arrows from Satan. Satan’s arrows are just as deadly as if they were a bomb or grenade. Ephesian 6:16 says, “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
These arrows are real and dangerous. We are living in a culture that is tearing down the fabric of family, moral principles, Christian values, and his attack is UNRELENTING. His arrows are directed at our families, marriages, our children, our faith, and will do whatever he can to cause us to doubt or attempt to weaken our faith.
But there is good news in this little sentence. Did you notice the passage says “YOU CAN”? It does not say maybe, might, or possible. We are given instructions for victory. If we put on the shield of faith it is actually saying ( in the Greek) to cover yourself with something like a door to protect our conviction of faith and our acknowledgment of God’s revelation or Truth. With this faith we will be able to stand against what Satan hurls at us.
Ephesians 6 goes onto say, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (NIV) We hear a lot about helmets, but when in battle it is important because it protects the person’s head. It is impenetrable.
The helmet protects our understanding from being confused or our judgment confused by the temptations of Satan. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. It is His revelation to US about HIMSELF that we receive through understanding from the Holy Spirit. The necessity of prayer cannot be understated in our battle against Satan and the culture today. Without prayer it will be difficult if not impossible to resist the temptations to us in public, private, and mental situations. We must be on guard for any surprise attacks. We need to learn to discern from a distance before we are confronted.
Our lives for the last several months have been filled with arrows The arrows of fear, anxiety, grief, loneliness, and hopelessness, and more. As hard as it seems, we can beat these feelings by covering ourselves with the Word of God, prayer, being alert, and standing on the salvation we know we have through Jesus’ work on the cross.
On those days you feel like no one is in control and all going on around you is evil and hopeless, question yourself and check to see if you have put on all this passage has directed us to do. I have really struggled to hold all these feelings in check, so I am writing to myself as much as to you. Studying this has reassured me that I can be equipped to shelter myself from his flaming arrows. We will endure this together by praying for each other and when one of us is down, God always seems to send someone who is having a better day to encourage and lift us up.
Going back to dad’s comments of “Battle Successful,” be of good cheer. We have battles ahead of us that WE WILL WIN. We have a loving, compassionate, and faithful God who has promised to be with us in these battles and has supplied us with EXACTLY what we need.