The word “battle” comes after the word “baptism” in the dictionary and this also happens to be true in life as well. The gospel of Mark opens with Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, immediately followed by forty days of testing by Satan in the wilderness. Satan’s name means adversary or enemy and when you get baptized you are publically joining the opposing team or as the Apostle Peter puts it, you are being transferred from one Kingdom to another, “out of the darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Our adversary’s number one objective is to discourage and eventually destroy you. Some people wonder why it often seems “all hell breaks loose” after someone decides to follow Jesus. Baptism is a time of new birth, an initiation into God’s family. It also immediately makes you a high priority target for Satan and his co-workers.
Jesus calls Satan the “father of lies” and the way you defeat him is by believing and using truth. In the New Testament’s classic spiritual warfare text (Ephesians 6), the Apostle Paul admonishes us to put on the whole armor of God in order to withstand the assaults of Satan. The first piece of armor he tells us to put on is the “belt of truth.”
The Christian life is not a playground, it is a battleground. The normal Christian life is a life of warfare. How foolish to begin any day unaware of Satan’s schemes against us. As soon as we wake up each morning, we step into battle. I am trying to make it a daily habit to “armor up” each morning in prayer while sitting on the edge of my bed before taking my first step of the day.
Satan doesn’t fight fair and he loves to attack us when we are discouraged or weak. Think about how much Satan has attacked people during the pandemic. Think of how many people have been driven to addictions or depression and suicide during the pandemic. Our first order of business each day is to recognize we have a real enemy who never takes a vacation. The battle is always on, especially for Christians.
Reflections: Are you aware you are in a daily spiritual battle? What prayer can you pray each morning to remind yourself of this?
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:6