Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
This past weekend I had a unique opportunity to speak at a youth retreat for kids in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade about spiritual warfare. Yes, that’s right. I was to teach children about a topic that most adults avoid at all costs.
I learned rather quickly that kids are in the thick of spiritual battles every day. I asked them to share the lies that the enemy speaks to them. Here are a few of the answers I received on anonymous index cards:
- You are unlovable.
- Your parents are the real enemy.
- No one cares about you.
- You should hate that person.
- You will be sick, hurt, and dead soon.
- If God is real, he would have shown up by now.
There were many, many more.
These kids are 10, 11, and 12 years old! And they are experiencing fear, hate, depression, guilt, and shame in the same way that adults do. I was reminded that the experience of evil does not begin when we become adults. The enemy is real and the destruction he seeks to do begins early.
Thankfully, our battle today is against a defeated enemy. The devil’s power has been stripped from him. His attempts to steal, kill, and destroy our lives through sin and death will not work because of what Jesus did at the cross.
Sin was paid for at the cross. It can still bring destruction on our lives and this world, but it cannot separate us from God. Death was conquered at the cross. The resurrection of Jesus, a historic event, proves it. Not even death can separate us from God. Every day may be a battle, but the war has already been won.
All the enemy has left are his words if we choose to believe them. That is why we have to learn to discern the difference between the truths and the twisted lies that go through our heads and that are spoken by the world around us.
In the middle of the night of the final day at the retreat, I was awakened with thoughts of inadequacy. They were accusatory in nature. I was being reminded of stupid things I have done and said over the last 20 years of my life. Rather than wallow in shame (which I have admittedly done before in my groggy state), I began to practice what I had been teaching that weekend. I called out to Jesus. At first, it was a cry for help. Then it became a weapon of warfare. And, finally, a shout of praise. By the time it was over, I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Not because of fear or shame. But because of joy and excitement. The victory over the enemy, over my sin, and over death has already been won at the cross. I just needed to remember.
Every day we are tempted to live in fear, sin, shame, guilt, hatred, and depression. But, the cross says that we are loved, accepted, pleasing, and valuable in the eyes of the only One who matters.
It took a bunch of elementary school kids to remind me of this all-important truth.
PS Lightglider parents, this month in the game we are talking about each piece of the armor of God. Click here to learn more.