THE GIFT OF VICTORY OVER THE ENEMY
Desert Storm. The Iraqi Desert, just north of Kuwait. 1991. American troops were on the defense in the oilfield-rich Middle East. Saddam Hussein had pushed into neighboring Kuwait, and the United States and its ally nations would not let Iraq set a precedent of bullying smaller nations. As the U.S. Forces surged north across the desert sands, one strategy used by the evil dictator was to set fire to all of the oil pumping units. A large, oil-rich, toxic smoke began to form. The troops were puzzled and worried. Soldiers were issued gas masks, and most armed men or women wondered if the protective devices would work. The weather forecasters studied the skies as the black cloud moved toward the ground troops.
Heavy casualties were predicted. However, 15 minutes before the beginning of the largest ground assault of the attack, just before 4 a.m. on February 24, 1991, the winds changed and began to push that toxic, black, oil-rich smoke north instead of south. Many troops say that God had performed a miracle on their behalf. One of the countless miracles He performed during that war, and as anyone on the front lines of any battle can tell you, God regularly shows up in foxholes.
He shows up in our daily battles, too. When we ask for His divine intervention and take the initiative to gear up and fight, His presence is assured!
Today’s Christmas gift from God is the gift of victory over the enemy.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10, NASB).
Paul is starting the conclusion of his letter to the church at Ephesus. He has encouraged, instructed, taught, and prayed for them. Now his last words are to charge them. “Be strong!” Reach into that inner core. Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you because, really, this is not pretty.
He describes a battle. It is a vicious, ugly battle of blood, sweat, and tears.
“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.” (Ephesians 6:12-13, MSG).
Paul says that our life is not merely a short-term event. It is not a 15-round boxing bout or a 60-minute football game. Our lifelong struggle is “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness.” (Ephesians 6:12, NASB). This is real. This is for keeps. Satan hates you and everything you do for God’s glory and wants to take you down. He wants to take your marriage down. He wants to take your family down, and he’ll use whatever is going on in your current situation to beat you up.
Perhaps, you’ve had a misunderstanding with your spouse, so you start daydreaming about what it’d be like to be with someone else. You bounced a check, so you begin fearing every decision involving money. Your mom yelled at you, and you started thinking how great it’d be if you never talked with her again. You have two choices: take the lazy way out, acquiesce, give in, say, “so what,” and ride the tide. Or, you can fight. I want to encourage you to fight. Fight for what is right. It’s worth it. You are worth it. The people in your life are worth it. How do you defeat the enemy? By remembering the truth and promises God has for you in His word.
So, receive the gift of victory! It’s a true joy.
Father God, thank you for the gift of being able to defeat the enemy. Give me what I need to stand fast, firm, and strong. Holy Spirit, help me make the right decisions that honor God so that the enemy will not be able to defeat me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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