This past weekend, I had the joy of closing out our months-long study in the book of Ephesians. Paul closes his letter to the Ephesians by reminding them of the cosmic struggle they are engaged in. This is more than just a struggle against the world or culture (think the current cultural climate with regards to sexuality or even Donald Trump!) Paul reminds us of the deeper battle going on – the struggle against that which is not flesh and blood, but spiritual.
Our struggle is against the spiritual forces of evil, the cosmic powers, the rulers and authorities that oppose God and his people. So much of what the church means by its very existence is to thwart these powers, to show them that they can’t win. As a result, the cosmic powers are trying desperately to hold on to authority. But they can’t. No, Christ’s resurrection over death and his work to save sinners means they’re on borrowed time.
One thing I would have added to the message is that Paul encourages the church to stand against the schemes of the enemy. I point this out because sometimes we can credit the enemy with more power than it has. Did you know that only God has omniscience? That is, only God knows all true things. Only God is omnipresent – that is, he is everywhere at once. Only God is omnipotent – he alone can do anything that is not logically impossible nor contrary to his own character and will. The enemy doesn’t have any of this. The enemy only has schemes.
But… the enemy’s had lots of practice with those schemes. Lots. Perfected and matured over time with many different targets and scenarios. The enemy knows what scheme to use against me at just the right time. (And the enemy nails me more than I want to admit.) I hate schemes.
But…my God has armor for me. In fact, it’s the armor that God himself dons in Isaiah when he fought (yes, past tense) for me. That’s when he brought about an incredible of salvation, winning me back from the clutches of the enemy. I was in the enemy’s prisoner. Now, I am the victor’s child.
And he calls me don the same armor to stand against the age-old schemes of deception, coercion, manipulation, (fill in the blank). They’re just schemes, remember. We have power. So stand today in the armor of God recognizing the schemes: the lies, the false stories, the condemning accusations, all of the endless amounts of guilt and shame the enemy has used for too many years. Stand in the power of God’s truth – in his Word and be strong.
ON THAT NOTE: Several folks asked me about a good way to memorize Scripture. I use an app called ScriptureTyper on my Iphone. It’s great to create collections of verses, and it’s much more productive than playing Candy Crush in the waiting room.
We contacted ScriptureTyper to get a discount if Gracers want to buy the pro version (no limit on the number of verses, audio review, flash cards, and other easter eggs). Make sure to use the promo code GRACE for 40% off. It syncs across devices and even your desktop.
If you’re looking for a collection of verses to start with, I’d recommend the Topical Memory System from the Navigators – 60 of the most common and important verses in the Bible. For younger kids (and if you want to memorize with them), try Fighter Verse Packs from Children’s Desiring God.
I’d love to hear what memorization practices or tools you use to keep the sword sharp. Share in the comments below.