Let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race
God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the Champion Who initiates and perfects our faith.
Hebrews 12:1b
New Living Translation

I woke up in the middle of the night the other night with an itch. An itch is such a small thing, but has the ability to make one miserable to the point of screaming…especially if for some reason you can’t scratch it. I discovered the source of this itch was a bug bite…on my stomach, no less. Now how did a bug get to my stomach to bite me? It’s an absolute mystery! Anyway, back to my story… I was so comfortable in my warm, soft bed, not to mention extremely sleepy. I didn’t want to get up to put cream on it, so I procrastinated for a while. But eventually I realized that the itch was not going away without some intervention on my part. So I boost my resolve, get out of bed, find the cortisone cream and apply it. The relief was not instantaneous; nevertheless I knew it was on its way.

You may be thinking to yourself, “What in the world does a bug bite have to do with the things of God. As you know from reading my devotionals, the Lord uses the simplest things to get a point across to me. (Hey, I’ll have no comments on that one, please!) Anyway, as I pass them on to you, hopefully we both will learn a spiritual truth. The Bible talks about how a small amount of sin can wreak havoc in our lives. And just like that bug bite, it can cause a large amount of discomfort. That bug didn’t buzz in front of me as if to say, “I’m going to bite you now!” Nor does the devil announce to us the plans for his subtle temptations. He sneaks up on you and attacks you in the most unexpected places. At first you feel an itch, a little discomfort, as though something in your spirit man is not quite right…those thoughts you’ve been having…those words you’ve been speaking. But if you don’t get out of your comfort zone and apply the Word of God to the area, not only will you have no relief, but the poison will spread. A guy in my office had a spider bite. That’s the worst kind of bug bite! If it is left unattended, the poison can get into your bloodstream and cause severe complications. Jesus said sin is like that. He likened it to a small amount of yeast put into dough. That tiny bit works its way through and eventually permeates the entire lump, making it rise to double or even triple proportions. It is so important that we be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If you have the slightest feeling that something is not right, deal with it immediately. Don’t allow it to spread. Some of my friends lovingly tease me about the fact that when I say something I know I shouldn’t have, I immediately say, “Father, forgive me.” It’s because right away I feel a check by the Holy Spirit. I want to do what’s right, but once again that “bug of sin” bites me and I have to apply the healing Balm of God’s Grace to keep the poison from spreading.

Therefore submit to God, Resist the Devil,
and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 NKJV




[You] Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,
having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:14-15

The subject “you” is implied in this first verse. You stand! It also implies personal responsibility. In the arena of spiritual warfare, no one else can stand for you. Others can pray for you, intercede for you, and even agree with you. (Matthew 18:19) But, ultimately, you have to make the decision to stand. Now if the Apostle Paul is telling us to stand, it must be that we will be faced with obstacles along our Christian walk that would trip us up and cause us to fall. I love this saying. I know I’ve shared it before, but it bears repeating…“I’m never down! I’m always up or getting up!” It reminds me of some of the old Rocky Movies. The dude just wouldn’t stay down! He would get knocked down and it would look like he was beaten, but the word defeat just isn’t in his vocabulary. And when he is fighting the ultimate foe for the championship, he is bruised and bloody and on the canvas. Everyone knows it is the end! But suddenly he gets up and with one last surge of strength knocks out the champion and through swollen lips yells…“Yo Adrian, I did it!!!” Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent most of my life “getting up.”  But one thing I have determined, “I’ll never stay down!” And when I finally meet my Lord face to face, I want to be able to say, “Yo Jesus, I did it!!!”

But Paul tells us that we do not have to go into spiritual battle being ill prepared. When we ask Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, He immediately issues us a uniform. And not just any uniform, but a coat of supernatural armor built to withstand all of the onslaughts of the enemy of our soul.

We receive the first piece at the moment of salvation, for when we accept the truth of the Gospel, the Belt of Truth becomes the central part of our armor…and sheathed on that belt is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. It always supports us against the Devil’s lies. “So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 AMP