Acting School (Part 20)
The Wiles Of The Devil
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.
Ephesians 6:10-13 (NKJV)
The power-packed Book of Ephesians ends unexpectedly. (God loves surprise endings.)
Ephesians begins with love and purpose, as in His for us. It continues with detailed instructions: our homework in how to act and how not to act. It concludes with fighting Words, because until all is said and done, we are at war.
If your life has been hard, you know it. If your life has been comfortable, wake up. Shake off the stupor. Rise from the American easy-boy recliners our church has cherished. Padded pews are a mirage made with memory-foam--lulling rich Christians into a dream-like existence.
Our comfort is the enemy's delight. Our ease furthers earth's darkest night. It's like the movie, Matrix, where countless humans live a false life. Their busyness is just an illusion, a sensual sense of security... while the enemy chains them to meaningless routines.
Do these words sound harsh? Not to the persecuted Christians around the world wondering why we have forgotten them. Not to the victims of human trafficking wondering when rescue is coming. Not to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick or the imprisoned.
From the Book of Matthew, consider the last teaching of Jesus before His arrest.*
'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
'Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life' (Matthew 25:41-46).
These frightening Words were not said to unbelievers. They were said to believers: people who called Jesus 'Lord'.
To Be Continued...
* Matthew 25:31-46: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2025:31-46&version=NKJV