The “Second Week”: Week Twenty/Session Three.
Theme: Jesus’ Public Ministry.
Our reading for today: Luke 11: 23-28.
“This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on My side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.”
While He was saying these things, some woman lifted her voice above the murmur of the crowd: “Blessed the womb that carried You, and the breasts at which You nursed!” Jesus commented, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!” (Luke 11: 23, 27-28 MsgB)
As we conclude yet another week of journeying with the Master, let me remind you of three roadside bombs Satan lays out for us along the way:
Three Strategies of the Enemy.
1. Dripping Faucets.
2. Keeping Secrets in the Dark.
3. War on My Weaknesses.
First, it’s the constant drip…drip…drip of nagging temptations and accusations that wears us down. Then, in our weakness (or our downright stubbornness), we sin, leaving us in a compromising position with God. Next the enemy returns, suggesting to us that God could never be as forgiving as the Scriptures tell us He is, and cunningly whispers, “Let’s keep this bad stuff between you and me…no one else needs to know.” And bam, the roadside bomb goes off and our goose is cooked.
Now, on occasion, we human beings are wise enough to not always listen to the lies of the accuser. Credit the Holy Spirit on that one. So, like in Jesus’ case in the desert (see Luke 4), Satan pulls back and then lies in wait for yet another opportunity to do us in. At times, it gets so quiet, we wonder if he’s actually given up and left us for another sucker. But alas…don’t be fooled. Our enemy never quits, but only retreats in order to find that opportune moment when our guard is down.
In twelve step programs like AA and others, they warn us of such times and even put a term to it. It’s called HALT.
(H)ungry. (A)ngry. (L)onely. (T)ired.
You see, our enemy is no dummy. He’s been warring against God and His work in us human beings for ions. He knows full well when to attack and when to bide his time. And while he is not omnipresent or omniscient like our God, he does have his ways of smelling out our weaknesses, and knows when to attack us when our guard is down. That’s why we must listen carefully to Jesus when He says, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!”
So when I find myself (H)ungry, (A)ngry, (L)onely, or (T)ired, I should know full well to stop whatever I’m doing (HALT) and step up my awareness. Sure nuff. When I’m feeling a bit weak, there he is, hiding behind my computer screen suggesting that I take just a quick peek at that pornographic website, or go ahead and take that extra drink, or no harm-no foul if I borrow just bit from the savings to have a little fun. You name your poison. It’s there when you “need” it.
Maybe that’s why Paul wrote this to his friends in Ephesus…
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6: 13-18 (MsgB)
The war is on, folks. Let’s stick together as we follow the Master from foxhole to foxhole.
My prayer: Jesus, You warn us clearly to guard our lives, lest the enemy win yet another battle against our souls. Thank You, Holy Spirit for Your empowering work that is readily available for me if I call. Today, O God, hear my cry! For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So which of my weaknesses is the enemy warring against today? What steps do I need to take in fortifying my life, putting on the armor of Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith and Salvation? How can I be of help to my brothers and sisters today in their battles?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.
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