Though he was promised in a dream that he would one day be a ruler, the dream was crushed when his brothers sold him into slavery Genesis Despite being an honorable man, Joseph was mistreated and falsely imprisoned. His battle was a battle of betrayal and family strife. Battles come in many forms. We also have accounts of national catastrophe like warfare, famine, and exile. We face similar battles. We may experience seasons where enemies surround us, illness overtakes us, or conflict overwhelms us.
Armor of God
In each of those cases, we can choose to fight the wrong battles, or like Daniel and Joseph, we can rest knowing God is fighting for us. I can easily get caught up fighting the wrong battles, especially when dealing with young adults. Traveling overseas sometimes brings out the worst in students, and I was bracing myself for a difficult and confrontational conversation with one particularly disruptive student. Her eyes filled with tears as she confessed how much she hated being away from home.
Everyone told her that traveling would be fun, but she was miserable. I had no idea. I interpreted her behavior one way, and I came ready for a fight. I discovered the battle was something else entirely.
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The night that Jesus was betrayed, Peter fought the wrong battle too. Jesus, however, knew that the battle was for our souls, and he understood that fighting the wrong battle meant forfeiting the real one. The real battle—the unseen battle—is our struggle in prayer:. We battle for the hearts of those around us as we fight for them in prayer, and we battle for ourselves as we bring opinions and arguments in line with the knowledge of God. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
Colossians Winning the battle leads to a heart filled with encouragement, close relationships with other believers, and the ability to understand truth.
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Like Paul, we struggle for others in the unseen world. We do not fight alone. We face physical struggles that threaten our homes, families, savings, our country, and more. God is fighting for us, just as he did for Daniel and Joseph. The encouragement Moses shared with the Israelites can encourage us today:.
For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. The same God who fought for them fights for us. Christ fought the ultimate battle when he suffered and died for our sins. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
God's Design for Your Life
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians New Living Translation NLT For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should. Ephesians King James Version KJV For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the protection of right living on your chest. On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One. Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.
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To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Also pray for me that when I speak, God will give me words so that I can tell the secret of the Good News without fear. I have been sent to preach this Good News, and I am doing that now, here in prison. Ephesians American Standard Version ASV For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints, and on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians New International Version NIV For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.