This past summer was anything but a blur. As a family, we immersed ourselves into the life of travel softball. We knew the time commitment was great and would take us away from our family, the Church, but had convinced ourselves that we could overcome the absence of our church family by doing bible studies at the hotels, by my convincing myself that I could do this alone. I honestly believed that we could show the light of Christ without being connected to others that do the same.
Frankly, we failed! We failed to share Christ. We failed to show Christ and I failed as a friend, father and husband by taking my wife and daughter away from that all important community of followers that Christ gives us. We failed because we weren’t in fellowship!
I want to make it clear that softball or the people we met werent’t bad, as a matter of fact, it was fun and the people were great, we made lifelong friends. It was simply the fact that we were God people in a broken world without any regular guidance or support from fellow believers.
Without the power of the Holy Spirit in community, we were like a flame without air, our flame was slowly extinguishing. My attitude was poor, my competitive side got the best of me and my insecurities of needing to be accepted was pulling me down. I can honestly say that I can relate to why people don’t feel the need to attend church or see the importance. The world is attractive, the world is sticky, it is shiny and unrestrictive. It seems to give freedom…Is it really freedom? Or a façade that the evil one has created?
This past Sunday, I was reminded of the power that satan holds over this earth. The lies that spew from his mouth can be tempting. They sound like truth. They even make a whole lot of sense when we reason with only our reasoning.
As the Apostle Paul said, This fight we fight is not a fight against flesh and blood. It is a fight against a spiritual realm that is unseen and most do not realize that it even exists.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Even as a believer, it is easy to forget that we are fighting against a spiritual force that will defeat us without the power of Christ. The power of community!
The Apostle Peter warns,
1 Peter 5:8
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Ever watch a video of a lion or cheetah attack its prey? Did you ever notice that it doesn’t attack in the middle of the pack, but the one that is alone and away from the herd. It’s the same way with us. Satan waits until we are alone and vulnerable.
How do we keep from being devoured? By staying with the Herd!
Peter goes onto say in 1 Peter 5:9
“Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. ”
The great news is, Christ is still there! He is always there and will always be there. He forgives and allows us to learn through our trials and hardships. Christ is the captain of “redo’s”.
The strength that followers gain from each other while in community is powerful! It is more powerful than any earthly weapon and can defeat even the strongest spiritual attack thrown in front of you. BUT, you can not go at it alone.
We were not called to walk this walk alone. We are not an army of one, but part of an army of THE ONE. God has always intended us to be with each other, to train with each other and to fight along side each other and by gearing up by putting on the armor of God.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And finally meet with and train with other followers of Christ:
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.