The AMI QT devotionals from June 26-July 2 are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, recently completed her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
Fight the Good Fight
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
In today’s passage, God fleshes out for John the activity of Satan against the Kingdom of God. There is a ton of symbolism in these verses and there are differing opinions about how to interpret some of the signs—particularly the woman mentioned in verse 1. The dragon represents Satan and if we take, as many do, the woman to represent Israel/the people of God (giving birth to the Messiah in verse 5), we get a glimpse of Satan’s very active efforts to destroy Christ Jesus during His earthly ministry—efforts that were obviously unsuccessful. (Not even the grave could hold Jesus down! Hallelujah!) But when unable to destroy Jesus Himself, Satan turns to the next best thing, God’s people, and seeks to destroy them.
No matter how you slice it, the Bible teaches us that spiritual warfare is a very real thing and a regular part of the life of the believer. Reading Revelation reminds us that we are caught up in God’s great plan to save the world and eradicate evil from all of creation. It’s exciting and comforting as we read of God’s triumph over evil. But it behooves us to remember that this is all being accomplished through a war that’s going on in the spiritual realm—a war that we can’t always see or perceive but very much affects the lives of Christ-followers. As the old song goes, “We are soldiers in the army of the Lord!”
So what do we do? We choose to be alert (aware of the war and listening for any marching orders from our Holy Commander), take up our armor (in the Word of God and prayer), and fight (whatever the situation, by the power of the Holy Spirit). And we do so with the confidence of knowing that we have the Almighty on our side, who protects us and empowers us, and that we are fighting battles in a war that has already been won. The victory is ours! We just have to seize it!
Prayer: Almighty God, I acknowledge today that there is a war going on, and I thank You that it is one where You’ve already made way for victory for all those who trust in You. Help me to be aware of any way You’re leading me to fight and equip me with the necessary tools for battle. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Timothy 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 6:10-18: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and havingput on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Questions to Consider:
- According to the passage, what is the purpose of taking up the “full armor of God”?
- You’ll notice in v. 11 that Paul said taking up the armor allows us to “stand firm.” What does this word choice tell us about who is really fighting our battles? What, then, is our role in fighting?
- What are the tools God has given us for battle? List each one and think about what it means. Which ones, if any, might you need to focus on in your life at this time?
- What instructions does Paul give us in v. 18 to aid us in spiritual battle? Why does he tell us to do this?
- So that we may be able to stand firmly against the schemes of the devil. Oftentimes our spiritual battles are won or lost long before they actually occur because our success is contingent upon our preparation. If we choose to rely on the Holy Spirit and take up our armor, we will be prepared when the battles come.
- We are not fighting our own battles; God is fighting for and through us. But we do have to do our part by showing up and staying put. Regardless of where God leads us and no matter what circumstance we face, we have to stay put (in our obedience to God and continue our posture of surrender before Him) to experience the kind of victory Paul guarantees is available to us in Christ.
- Our armor is as follows: the truth (girding our loins), righteousness (as a breastplate), the gospel of peace (and preparation for our feet), faith (as a shield to extinguish the arrows of the evil one), salvation (as a helmet), and the word of God (as the sword of the Spirit). Spend time reflecting on the areas in which you may need to fortify your armor.
- Pray! Paul calls us to pray because in doing so, we will be alert and aware of what’s going on in the spiritual battle and able to persevere and petition on behalf of our fellow soldiers. We don’t only need prayer for ourselves but we also need to support one another in prayer.
Romans 8:37-39: “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Spend sometime praying through this passage allowing its truth to encourage your heart as you continue to fight the good fight.