Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
It has been a rough year for the Chicago Bears U9 Flag Football Team for the Fort Mill YMCA. We have yet to win a game. We are heading into the playoffs with a 0-6 record. We are hoping that we will surprise everyone in the playoffs by finally stopping the offensive schemes of the opposing team. The challenge has not been not knowing what the other team is going to do, but rather stopping them. As coaches we know what is coming, but our team is surprised at how the other team attacks our defense.
We often are like the Chicago Bears U9 Flag Football Team. Our coach has told us what is coming, but we are still surprised at the schemes of the devil. The devil is cunning and will use everything at his disposal to work us woe. Pastor Tim Challies writes,
Satan is a schemer. He will use any tactic, any strategy. He has spies who study you and look for your weaknesses and he will exploit any weakness he finds. He will try everything he’s got to see what works well and what doesn’t. He may use temptation like he did with Jesus. He may use false doctrine, trying to get you to deny what is true or trying to get you to believe and teach error. He may use division, doing what he can do come between you and other Christians, giving you reasons to turn your back on other Christians. Whatever it is, he will do all he can and he is always plotting against you.
Do you know the tactics and strategy Satan uses against you? Do you know how he is scheming to disrupt our fellowship? We must not be unaware of the devil’s schemes.
One of the devil’s tactics is to provoke us to ingratitude. He reminds us of all that we do not have and all the ways people have sinned against us and what God has “withheld” from us. He gives us reasons to be ungrateful. One of the repeated sins of Israel was their ingratitude for what God has done. Their ungratefulness was expressed in murmuring and complaining, anger and forgetfulness, arrogance and complacency.
Beloved, let us be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might by being grateful for God’s kindness. When you are tempted towards bitterness when the devil reminds you of a friend’s failure, be grateful that God in Christ has forgiven you. When you are tempted towards anger when the devil reminds you of what you don’t have, be grateful that God has given you life through the Son. Don’t complain, but rather give thanks. Don’t murmur, but rather praise God for his tender care.
Thanksgiving is an essential part of our Christian life. The Lord’s Supper is called the Eurachrist which means “give thanks”. Every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper we give thanks for God’s salvation in Christ. We give thanks that when we were dead in our trespasses and sin, God saved us through his shed blood on the cross. We give thanks that when we were far from God, he brought us in near in Christ. We give thanks for the resurrection to come.
As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, let us not fall to the scheme of ingratitude expressed in complaining, and bitterness, but rather let us remember the kindness and mercy of God our Savior. We always have much to be thankful for because we have Christ. And if we have Christ, we have enough. Be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might by always giving thanks for the gospel of the Son.