Reflecting on Your Faith & Fitness – Part II

In last week’s blog post, I began to recap the Reflection Walk of my church’s women’s retreat where I was honored to be a speaker. After breakfast, each of the four speakers set up “reflection shop,” as it were, at a specified – and especially peaceful – location outdoors. Then, one by one, four groups of women visited each speaker’s station and were guided through a half hour of prayer, meditation, and reflection of the retreat’s themes, namely our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual states and how they affect our relationships with God and others.[1]

The first thing I talked to my groups about was the simple yet life-changing subject of casting all our cares on the Lord, which you can read about here. Then, with those cares in mind – the ones we often think are too trivial for the Lord or deem hopelessly beyond His reach – I asked them to continue reading after the “cast your cares” verse in 1st Peter:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith … ” – 1 Peter 5:8-9, ESV

After talking a bit about The Ghost and the Darkness (one of the scariest movies I saw as a little girl – check out the synopsis here), and how a prowling lion makes a perfect metaphor for Satan, I set a timer for two minutes and asked the ladies to silently ponder and pray about ways – practical and specific ways – in which they can resist the devil, an invaluable skill if you’re a follower of Christ.

C.S. Lewis Quote

Ephesians 6:11 tells us that we do battle everyday against the devil’s “wiles.” In Greek, the word, “wiles” is the combination of two words, meta and odos which forms, methodos. You can probably tell that it is from methodos that we get our English word, “method.” Meta means “with,” and odos means “road.” This seems like an odd correlation to “wiles,” right? However, when we connect this idea to Satan, we see what Paul means. Let me show you…

Methodos conveys the idea of a traveler on a road. Satan, like anyone going on a planned road trip, knows his destination, and he knows how to get there. When my girlfriends and I have just a few hours on a weekday afternoon to drive to the outlet mall, we ain’t wasting any time on a scenic route! Satan, knowing he has limited time, isn’t going to squander any of it driving up and down and all around multiple routes. After thousands or years in the deceiving business, the road is well-worn, but it works for him, as history can confirm.

Ready for another Greek lesson? In the verse from 2nd Corinthians above, the word for “devices” in Greek is noemata, which relates to the word, nous, meaning “mind” or “intellect.” In essence, Paul is saying we aren’t ignorant of how the enemy’s strategizing mind works. If we put these two ideas together, we get a very astute portrait of the devil, and it isn’t the one with a bright red pitchfork and a pointy tail! No ma’am, Satan is an exceedingly evil spirit being whose destination is the minds of sinners and Christians alike and whose goal is to confuse, discourage, depress, distress, and tempt those minds.

On to Greek lesson number three. 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” “Bringing into captivity” comes from the Greek, aichmalotidzo, which pictures a soldier who is leading a captured enemy with the point of a spear pushed into his back! The spear point reminds the captured soldier that if he dares escape, that point will be introduced to his insides. Wisely, the captive remains silent and submissive to his captor.

The tense in which Paul writes this verse describes the ongoing action of taking an enemy captive. As believers, we don’t deal with Satan once and for all. Yes, he has been defeated at the cross and we have victory over death through the blood of Jesus, but until Christ returns to crush that old serpent’s head or we go to meet Him when we die, there is still a war being waged against us. We are soldiers for a lifetime, and as such, we need to constantly have our spear in hand, ready to direct its point into the back of our enemy. By making mental decisions to cast out every harmful thought planted in our minds and forcing them into submission, we can effectively ward off the flaming darts that coming whizzing through our paths.

In my next post, I’ll share Part III of the Reflection Walk recap as well as some of my favorite Bible verses to help us refute the lies of the “roaring lion” and thwart the attacks of his forces of darkness.[2] Here’s one such scripture, just to whet your appetite:

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He (Christ) that is in you, than he (Satan) that is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4

No matter what comes against you today, be it a spiteful teenager, a stubborn spouse, or feelings of failure and discouragement, remember that the One who came to save you from your sins 2,000 years ago is here, within you now, to help bring you in victory in every single area of your life. Don’t let the devil, a defeated foe, trick you into thinking you are hopeless. With Christ, there is always hope, always mercy, and His goodness always triumphs over evil.

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[1] The foundational verse for the retreat was Luke 10:27: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

[2] Eph. 6:12

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