Monday, October 11, 2021

Hitting The Mark

Did you ever send an email and have it return without reaching the recipient that it was sent to? If you use email enough sooner or later it will happen. In computer jargon, this is called a bounced e-mail. It is and email that has been sent that never arrives in the recipient's inbox and is sent back, or bounced back, to the sender with an error message that indicates to the sender that the e-mail was never successfully transmitted. In a similar manner, did you ever pray and it seems that your prayer never reached it's recipient, the Lord? Well there are reasons for this, so let's explore some things and get some answers.

First, in the natural, a soldier engaged in combat must have absolute confidence in his weapon. He is depending either on the manufacturer's instruction manual or on his drill instructor that he has been given the correct information on how to use and care for his weapon. When the soldier enters into combat, other than his fellow soldier around him, his weapon is the most important thing that he has. It actually becomes an extension of his body because he literally lives with it even when he sleeps. Not only does it protect him, but it helps him drive back the enemy.

In a similar way the believer also has a weapon, "...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17) Like a solider in natural combat, the believer in the realm of spiritual combat, must have absolute, unshakable, unwavering faith in the the Word of God and its ability to stop the enemy's (the devil)  activities in their life. One of the major differences between physical and spiritual combat is that when you shoot a physical weapon you can usually see the damage that has been inflicted by the bullet. In spiritual combat you must depend entirely on what the manufacturer's instruction manual (The Bible) says that the damage will be when you use your spiritual weapon.

For instance, James 4:7 tells us, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." But because you can't physically see the devil in the act of fleeing, you have to believe with total faith and confidence that when you resist the devil and use the Word of God that in the spirit realm, that is exactly what is taking place. "But it doesn't feel like he is fleeing," you say. "The symptoms are still there, the problem is even worse than it was. It seems like my finances are in worse shape than before I prayed. It seems like the pain in my body is worse now than it was before in prayed. How can the devil be fleeing if the circumstances are worse than before?" Again, the answer to your questions are found in the manufacturer's instruction manual, the Bible. Does it say you have to feel good, better or different to prove that your weapon has worked and the devil is fleeing from you? No, it doesn't say that. The only condition James 4:7 emphasizes is that you have to be submitted to God when you resist the devil. "Therefore submit to God..." That condition must be met in your life if you ever expect the devil to flee from you.

Are you submitted to God? Are you staying free from sin and keeping your fleshly desires that aren't pleasing to God under control by the Power of the Holy Spirit? Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Are you living according to His will, in humility and obedience? If not, you could be giving the devil place, an open door in your life which gives him a right to not only hang around, but to also continue hassling you. "nor give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27) If you have any sin in your life, you must repent and get the door closed top the devil first, before you begin striking down the wiles of the devil with the Word of God.

If you are submitted to God and your heart doesn't condemn you, then you will have total confidence in your weapon and know that the bullet (God's Word) hit the target exactly where you aimed it and that the enemy is on the run. "Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. ( 1 John 3:21-22) However, the devil will try to deceive you. He will tell you that you missed; That God's Word didn't work for you; that God doesn't really love you; that God's Word doesn't work that way; and on and on. He will say anything to make you doubt God and His promises in His Word. However, Jesus tells us, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23) He also tells us, "...Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:22-24)

These are promises from God's Word that we can count on because God does not lie (Number 23:19) He means what He says and says what He means. If He didn't mean it, He would not have said it. So as Peter said concerning the devil, "Resist him (the devil) in the faith..." (1 Peter 5:9)  we also must, "take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." (Ephesians 6:16) and stand in faith on God's Word knowing, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5:14-15)

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