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September 24, 2013

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 24 September 2013

Football season has begun! Have you ever attempted to explain American football to people from another country? Occasionally, for people who have never played or watched football very much, it can be difficult to understand the sport. If someone expresses interest to play football, you would first explain that there is a leather ball and a field that is 100 yards long and 53.5 inches wide, with white marks all over the field. The next detail to explain is the end zone, and how one needs to run with the ball from one end of the field to the other. The game has been explained entirely, correct? No, because as you see your friend limping several weeks later, with their arm in a cast and body covered with bandages and bruises, you realize you may have neglected another important detail. You informed your friend regarding the ball and the field; however, you forgot to tell them that there would be 11 enormous individuals who will be seeking to stop them!

All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are engaged in a spiritual battle (Eph 6:12). The Apostle Paul admitted this very reality when he wrote, “A great door [opportunity] for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor 16:9). Do those words seem to be a law in pursing the eternal purposes and will of God? Have you experienced that opposition always accompanies spiritual opportunity? We are wise to remember that “a great door for effective work” and “many adversaries” seem to be inseparable because it may explain some of the difficult times we are currently experiencing. If the Lord God is using you, it is certain that the devil is fighting you. Charles Spurgeon (the prince of preachers) once remarked, “The surest sign of God’s will and God’s power is the devil’s growl.”

Have you been experiencing some major obstacles lately and asked, “What is wrong?” The answer may be, “Nothing is wrong; rather, something is entirely right, and that is why your enemy is attempting to discourage, distract, or deviate you." You may be asking, “Why now, when there is this perfect opportunity?,” and the answer is because “a great door for effective work has opened.”

The adversary knows that it is going to be difficult to stop you once God’s plan is readily apparent, so the devil would rather disrupt you at the threshold of an open door. Satan is a subtle deceiver thus he often attacks you in some aspect that does not seem directly related to God’s work: your car, your family, your finances, or your health. You must remember, as in the case of Job (as recorded in Scripture), the devil cannot attack you without seeking permission of the Lord God, who knows what you can bear (1 Cor 10:13).

The devil does not surrender easily. You cannot attack the strongholds of hell one day, and then decide the next day that you do not want to fight. If you challenge the enemy, he will set himself more vigorously against you. If you decide to fight, you must be prepared to fight. The enemy will resist you; however, because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is a defeated enemy.

When the Lord provides “a great door” and gives you opportunities, pray for the protection available for you and those you love (i.e. “the full armor of God;” see Eph 6:10-17). Pray for those who labor for the Lord and for those you love. Pray against discouragement. Remember that serving the Lord is very similar to football. Just as soon as you begin advancing spiritually, the other side begins to oppose you. We must know that “many adversaries” will oppose us as we seek to hear and heed the Word of God. We ought to be prepared for the spiritual battles that arise; however, never are we to fear. "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline" (2 Tim 1:7).

REMINDER: next Tuesday (1st of October) is
the monthly (interim) Capitol Commission Bible Study
Room 123 CAP, Georgia Capitol, @ 12 Noon