By Jeff Arnette
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12–13, ESV)
Every person who has made the good decision to become a Christian; every person who tries to live a godly life, will eventually face persecution for their faith. It is inevitable, sad, but inevitable.
This is true because scriptures say it is true (and that settles it), but also because of our enemy. Behind all the visible evidences of sin and wickedness there is the invisible, spiritual powers at work. They are led by our enemy and adversary, Satan. These powers are present everywhere and they infiltrate every place, even the church. They are trying to overthrow and destroy every sincere disciple of Jesus.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, ESV) Satan is our adversary, the one who stands against us and he is a powerful enemy. We cannot afford to overestimate his power nor to think that he is not working against us. We must always be watchful and thinking clearly about him and his attacks. He is constantly on the prowl searching for a Christian who is alone or weak, so that he can attack and devour them.
Since this is true, it is extremely dangerous to oversimplify the Christian life and our spiritual warfare. It is unwise, if not downright neglectful, for followers of Jesus to underestimate the powers that oppose them.
Paul tells us about our enemy and the warfare that is facing us in Ephesians 6:10-13.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (ESV)God has given us the strength and power we need to face our adversary. He has given us His armor to wear. The all-powerful God of creation has given us His personal armor to wear so that Satan cannot hurt us. Please put it on and prepare for the battle that is inevitable.
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com