The other morning, I slipped out of bed, went down to my knees, opened my hands, and thanked God for a new day. Fill me afresh with Your Spirit, Lord. Help me see what You see; say what You’d say, pray how You’d pray. Awaken my heart with the new life of the Spirit mightily at work within me. Change me from the inside out so that everything I do results from Your influence in my life. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
I grabbed my cup of coffee, lit a candle, and sat down with my big thick Bible in my lap. My eyes fell upon a passage I’ve read a hundred times before, but this time, it stopped me in my tracks.
Ephesians 2:1-2 (NLT)
Once, you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
The devil is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
The enemy is a legalist. If he finds an opening in the human heart, he’ll take it. Countless lost souls walk the earth who are either unknowingly or knowingly directly impacted by the enemy of their souls. Satan especially loves to work in the hearts of believers who’ve opened the door to his influence because of disobedience, unforgiveness, pride, rebellion, independence, etc.
It’s startling to think of how much the devil gets away with simply because he finds so many open doors on earth. I had to ponder that for a bit and then pray into it with some passion and purpose. But then I read on further (it’s such good news!).
Ephesians 3:16-21 (NLT)
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources, he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul writes about how God’s plan to bring Jews and Gentiles together under God’s grace displays His wisdom and power to all the unseen forces in the cosmos. It’s like God is saying, “Devil, I know you’re getting away with much in this day, but I’m serving you notice; your days are numbered.” Then God points to us—a united, powerful, prayerful Church—His own special people, as evidence of His goodness and power. Remember the passage about how the enemy is at work in the hearts of those who reject Christ? Well, read what happens when we give God full access to our hearts and story:
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
GOD is able. God IS able. God is ABLE to do above and beyond all you could ever dare to ask or imagine, but here’s the clincher: according to His work within us. According to how much of His influence we allow in our lives.
Recently a friend of mine said this (my paraphrase). “God spoke to my heart and told me that my prayers aren’t bold enough. The days have grown darker. And my boldness should be greater than the darkness of our day. He then whispered to my heart, ‘I’m ready to answer the prayers you dare to pray.’”
One of my listeners texted in with these wise words, “Susie, the Lord spoke to me recently and said, ‘You’re not injured. You’re offended. Time to drop the crutch, get off the bench, and get back in the game.'” Wow! Talk about spiritual maturity! I loved it.
So, what’s our role in the great cosmic battle between good and evil? Let’s look at what God’s Word says:
Remember Who Your Enemy Is
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.
Bless Those Who Curse You
But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks, and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
Earnestly Guard Your Heart
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.”
1 Peter 1:22
You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
Take Your Relationship with God Seriously
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
The enemy knows his time is short. And how we navigate our trials, temptations, and even our treasures, has eternal consequences. May you see yourself for the treasure you are, God’s brilliant masterpiece called to live in these crucial days. May you remember who your actual enemy is and dare to bless those who make life difficult for you. May you earnestly guard your heart. May you pray bold, audacious prayers. May you love the hard-to-love with deep compassion and goodness. May your loved ones truly know how you feel about them. And above all, may your intimate, thriving walk with God be the most significant, substantial thing about you. God loves to work wonders through the yielded, surrendered heart.