So what can we do to ensure we don’t get caught in the traps life sets for us?
#1. Pray maintaining a close relationship with our Lord Jesus is the best defense against Satan’s pitfalls. Pray specifically the armor of God on yourself. He gave us these things to defend against the devil’s schemes. We should use the tools we are given.
#2. Immerse ourselves in wholesome, positive environments, or at least have a support system rooted in Christian peers and mentors. I don’t mean to suggest that we never venture into places where non-christians gather. After all, Jesus, our model, spent much of his time in places of ill-repute with hurting, broken people. But when we go into these places, we must guard our hearts, for the devil prowls about like a hungry lion waiting to devour those who dare to engage him where he rules. (Which includes every nook and cranny of the Earth. As it says in Ephesians 6, my favorite passage of scripture,
Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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.
This is the passage upon which my as yet-unpublished novel, Strength to Stand, is based. When the main character, a jockey named Lee Russell, is cornered by her ex-boyfriend, Darren, after she has returned her faith to the Lord, she recognizes that Darren is not her actual enemy. Instead, it is Satan, working through Darren, that she must stand against. Lee shocks Darren when she forgives him for hitting her and tells him about the forgiveness he can find in Jesus.
It is a turning point for Lee. Understanding that Jesus wants to forgive and love each of his children can be a turning point for all of us. She did not come to this revelation on her own. Her friends and mentors, trainers Rob and Lucille Holden, model forgiveness and grace in their relationship with Lee. They pray for her and encourage her to remember that Jesus loves her. Lee returns to her Bible and begins to reestablish the relationship she once had with Jesus. Through prayer, a stray cat, and the horses she loves, Lee begins to believe in the mercy offered at the cross and asks God to forgive her. That act brings a return of the joy and peace she’d had when first baptized to her life.
Remember it is God who fills us with joy. The joy brings peace. Peace allows us to be patient. Patience ushers in grace and mercy in our dealings with others. This sense of joy that pervades our lives is what draws the attention of others who suffer from fear, anxiety, and depression. People will want to know how we can live the way we do. This opens the door for sharing our Savior with others who need him.
Do you need Jesus? If you already know the Savior, are you sharing him with others? Does your life reflect the love and joy we are freely given so that others can see it? These are questions I ask myself routinely, because it is easy to let the cares and troubles of the world get you down. We, who are Christians, must be a beacon that draws the lost and broken of the world to ourselves. Then, we must be prepared to share our secret, Christ Jesus, with the ones we attract.