Saturday Sermon: Live a victorious life during spiritual warfare
Just like any excellent military commander or athletic coach, Satan has a strategy - a game plan - for accomplishing his agenda.
One of the devil's main tricks is to cause you to miss the goodness of God. Like he did with Eve in the garden, Satan wants to get you to question the value of all of the trees that God did provide by getting you to focus on the one tree He said to avoid. Satan wants you to complain about what you don't have because in focusing on what you don't have, you will lose sight of what God has given you.
However, God has instructed us how to counteract Satan's scheme in Philippians 4:6-8, where we read, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God ... guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
God tells us to start by praising and thanking Him for all of the things that He has provided. He wants us to begin by giving thanks for all that He has done as well as to think on all of His goodness - not only in our lives but in the world around us.
Satan tries to get us to remove our focus from the goodness of God because he knows the only way he can defeat us is through deception. Truth exists within the goodness of God, and wherever the truth of God is present, Satan's ability to deceive is diminished.
Satan's intention in spiritual warfare is to cause us to miss out on the goodness of God, leading us onto a path of destruction. As James 1:15 tells us "... and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." Sin produces death in a variety of ways, all bringing about diminishing ability to experience God's promise of the abundant life.
This death can show up as the death of a dream, relationship, career or any number of areas. Primarily, sin produces a death with the fullness of our spirits as our relationship is broken with God.
Satan's agenda and his strategy are all encompassing, but there is something that you and I need to know about both: They have already been defeated. God, who is not bound by time or space, has already won this battle. Living out His strategy of gratitude is one key to overcoming spiritual warfare and living a life of victory.
The Rev. Ronald O. Green is senior pastor at Stevens Chapel United Methodist Church in Schulenburg.