Thursday Morning Devotion (The Gospel and Spiritual Warfare)

(35) And he rose up very early while it was still night and went out and went away into a deserted place where he could pray. (36) And Simon and those with him pursued Jesus, (37) and they found him and they said to him, “Everybody is looking for you!” (38) And he said to them, “Let us go elsewhere into the nearby country towns, so that I might preach there as well. Because it was for this that I went forth. (39) And he went into all of Galilee preaching in their synagogues and casting out the demons. — Mark 1:35-39

Many Christians wonder about the struggles they have in their lives, their personal spiritual warfare. Why are things so hard? What are they doing wrong? Is there some particular prayer technique or spiritual discipline that will make things work?

Now I’m not going to downplay prayer or other spiritual disciplines. They are important in developing your walk with God and in living a victorious Christian life. But they are secondary. Most commonly when you are having serious problems in your spiritual life it is not because of problems with your spiritual disciplines. Those problems are more likely symptoms of a basic problem.

If you read the first few chapters of Mark, you will find something very interesting. As Jesus went out through Galilee proclaiming the kingdom of God, the demons, the forces of evil, reacted. When Jesus challenged them, they were defeated.

As Jesus proclaimed the good news, the gospel message, people were attracted, and demons fled. Here’s how it works: The gospel is God’s word—God’s message. God’s word does not return empty, but accomplishes what he sent it out to do (Isaiah 55:11). And what did God send out the gospel message to accomplish? Our salvation!

This means that weapon number one, your standard response to spiritual attack is the gospel, the good news that comes in Jesus. God’s grace is available to you and will work for you. Often when you are having trouble with all those spiritual disciplines it’s because you’re forgetting about God’s grace and trusting him less.

So today as you are facing the conflicts and problems of your day, keep one thing in mind:

God loves you so much that he sent his son to die for you. He cares about you.

That’s the fundamental gospel message. Drill it into your mind. Keep it before you at all times. If your spiritual disciplines are failing you, if you can’t find the right way to pray, it’s possible that you’re forgetting it. It’s also the message that you should share with others.

Cast all your care on him, because he cares for you. — 1 Peter 5:7

Note from Jody:

Henry is right on with this devotion today. Might I suggest a few Scriptures to help bring us back, remind us, individually, how much God loves us? Here they are:

Psalm 27 and 139

Matthew 6:25-34

Luke 1:46-55

John 17:6-26

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