“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
Down-trodden. Depressed. Despairing. Demoralized. Defeated. Evoking an image of extreme fatigue and failure, these words also express how those under constant attack feel over time. Are you a Christian? You will be attacked. I’m not talking about so-called “religious persecution” per se. I’m not talking about people changing the way they act around you because they know you’re a Christian. I’m talking about something far more deadly, dramatically more damaging. Your attacker is the evil one, Satan, the devil, baalzebub, the great dragon, the prince of darkness, the prince of this world.
The evil one’s barrage against you is never-ending. Cornering you alone in a time of particular weakness, he goes to work destroying you. Tearing you down with his vicious half-truths, he seeks to leave you depleted and destitute.
Have you heard his vociferous voice? “Nobody cares about you. You think your pain and suffering matter to anyone? You’re all alone in this world. You call yourself a Christian, but I know everything you’ve ever done. Deep down in your heart, you know God couldn’t possibly love you. You’ve done too much. You aren’t good enough. God has abandoned you. Can you blame him?”
Have you heard the father of lies speak his native language? I have.
Satan is a liar. Stand in your faith! This fallen angel has no power over you. You are claimed by Jesus. The devil hates you and rages against you and fights you and tempts you and lies to you in every breath. Shooting his flaming darts, he seeks to pierce your trust in Jesus. Stand firmly and squarely behind the shield of your faith. Rejecting all of Satan’s lies, cling to the promises and certainties that come freely to you from the hand of the Lord.
The barrage will not stop. You will be relentlessly attacked. Attacked, but not overcome!
“O little flock, fear not the foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow;
Dread not his rage and pow’r.
And though your courage sometimes faints,
His seeming triumph o’er God’s saints
Lasts but a little hour.”
O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe, (Lutheran Service Book, 666)