Advance or Retreat?
What is some praise that you would like to give to God this week?
During your childhood did you ever play hide and seek?
When it was your turn to hide, did you find your hiding spot and bunker down or did you move from location to location to throw off your seeker?
How successful were you in evading your seeker when you bunkered down? How about when you moved locations?
Like in hide and seek, we have a spiritual enemy that is looking to catch us. Also, as in hide and seek we can either bunker down or we can move our positions constantly growing and evolving in our battle methods. Let’s see what the following Bible verses saying about evolving spiritually.
1 Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instructions about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
2 Peter 5:5-8
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
In what ways does the above scriptures instruct us to continually grow?
What may be the consequence(s) for failing to grow spiritually?
Blaine referenced the scripture (1 Peter 5:8) where Satan is depicted as prowling lion seeking someone to devour. He also mentioned that if our enemy is always at our doorstep to pounce on our mistakes that we must be even more diligent to remain steadfast in our faith.
When kings of old would defend a position or attack an enemy, they would often take several actions to do so. They would make several preparations armor up, bunker down, train additional troops and even make plans to advance on their enemies. When we advance on our enemy, the devil, God doesn’t tell us just simply walk in blind, but instead says to suit up. Read the following passage:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
What do you believe each of these pieces represent in your life today?
If you have ever felt like you are wearing the full armor of God, did you feel equipped to handle Satan’s schemes?
If you have never felt as if you were fully equipped with the Armor of God, what can we as a family do to encourage each other towards being fully equipped?
Bringing it Home:
Once we are well equipped for battle it’s time to advance. Blaine mentioned that the path to advancement on the battleground is through constant prayer, understanding and growth in the word and through fellowship.
Do you pray at least once every day?
Do you make efforts to increase your understanding of God’s word daily?
How often are you involved in fellowship beyond attending Sunday services and Wednesday midweeks?
Are you serving others regularly?
As you reflect on the answers to the above questions think on ways in which you can empower yourself or others to achieve these things.
Challenge: Of the above questions, find the one you find the hardest time completing and make it your focus for the remainder of this year.