Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Let Us With A Gladsome Mind"1 (Lyrics)
Three years ago, I volunteered at Gleanings for the Hungry, a mercy ministry in Dinuba, California, USA. One of my jobs was gardening. I like weeding, usually. I like the way that a neat and tidy garden looks, as a result of pulling up tenacious weeds. When I was asked to weed the rock garden, I strapped my kneelers on and began attacking the weeds one by one.
One day, I encountered some opposition to my satisfying job. As I dug around, ants came pouring out of one tiny tunnel, and before I knew it, I was bitten several times. These tiny fire ants are only about three millimetres long, but boy, can they bite! After the initial sting, the bites got itchy, even keeping me awake at night. I tried various homemade remedies, but the bites took a few days to heal. I had almost forgotten the dangers of gardening.
Later, my gardening partner, Cheryl, and I were thinning out some overcrowded areas of Aloe Vera plants to be planted in areas with no plants. I now knew better than to kneel comfortably on the concrete, so, standing up, I leaned over the plants with a pair of long-handled pruning shears to cut the thick suckers connecting them. Snip! A baby plant was severed. I went for another plant. Oh no! Here come the ants! Thousands of ants swarmed everywhere! Jumping back with a yelp, I peeled off my gloves and began brushing the ants off my arms. They were even all over my hoodie, so I quickly threw it off with a vigorous shake. I kept up the brushing and shaking, and the ants kept coming. My partner felt sorry for me, so she got me some ice and told me to take it easy for the rest of the day.
The ant attack reminds me of what many versions of the Bible call the "wiles of the devil".
Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (KJV)
The Amplified Bible describes them as "the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil".
The devil, like the ants, attacks suddenly, without warning. Like the ants going for bare skin, the devil goes for areas that he knows are our weak spots.
The attack may be subtle, just as the tiny ants look so innocuous. An attack from the enemy of our soul, if not properly resisted, has effects like the bite of a fire ant. The good news is:
James 4:7 – Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)
Let's keep wearing the protective armour that God provides, and stand against the wiles of the devil — those tricks meant to trap us.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for providing us with special armour to protect us from the wiles of the devil. Thank You that in this way, we can resist the devil, and he will flee from us. Help us to remember the armour, and remember to resist. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.