Monday, February 5, 2018

Fight until the finish

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (Ephesians 6:12-13 MSG)
All of life is a battle - if not well fought, it will be wasted. How well are you fighting, my friends? How hard is the battle? How engaged are you in the warfare ahead? What strategies are you preparing to implement against the one who wants nothing more than that you stagger and fall, never to get up again? God's plan for each of us is to stand, but with purpose. To fight, not without any control, but with strategic accuracy. It is what we put to use in our lives that makes the difference between fighting and fighting well!
God has given us so much, but we fail to tap into all he has given, then wonder why we falter in our stand. We don't take time to learn of him - to really understand the principles of how he works, so we cannot be duped into believing the decoys the enemy puts out there to get us to believe lies. Truth is learned at the feet of Jesus, in times of consistent study of the character of God. It is through the study of scripture we often learn how God moves - so we will be sensitive to his movements in our life. 
We don't always need to "hear" a loud voice declaring this or that way is the one to take. We need to just know how God acts - what he holds as unwavering principles of his character - and then go in the direction that aligns with those principles. We act upon what our heart has come to trust in - because it has connected with the heart of God in times of prayer and connected contemplation. We make prayer hard - but we are to pray hard, not make prayer hard! What is prayer? It is connection. It is listening. It is also just absorbing.
We sometimes want to separate our "prayer life" from our time of studying the scripture, but they are intimately connected. As described in our passage today, we learn from the Word and then we see how it is applied - not just in study of the scripture, but in times of connected exchange with God. I rarely have what some might call "prayer time" - I have a prayer "life"! It is a constant listening - yielding - learning - leaning - and yes, "talking" kind of prayer life. It is in my everyday connections with him that I see just how he wants me to move - because that connection just continues throughout the entire "living" of my day!
God isn't going to settle for little bits of time with us - he wants us to have a "prayer life" - not just a prayer time. Herein the connection is cemented and we get to the place we cannot live without that connection. Just sayin!