Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Eph. 6:11)

IN HIS CLASSIC PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, the imprisoned John Bunyan penned for us a vivid picture of an inner war being waged relentlessly in our hearts. In his dream, the central character, Christian, is shown a fire burning against a wall, while someone stands by continually casting water upon it. Despite the efforts to quench the fire, it grows hotter and higher. It is explained to Christian that the fire is the work of grace in our hearts, while the Devil is always working to quench it. Christian is then brought around to the other side of the wall for an explanation of why the fire is able to grow even though water is being poured upon it. There he sees a man continually casting oil into the fire. “This is Christ, who continually, with the oil of His grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart.”

The apostle Paul, like Bunyan, highlighted our invisible war with vivid imagery. Our protection is likened to that of a Roman soldier’s armor, and must be donned by each of us as an intentional act. But an invisible Enemy requires spiritual means. Paul emphasized prayer and the Word of God as vital, practical means of receiving the grace we need to fight our relentless enemy. Do you need to rekindle these often-neglected disciplines in your life?

Spend some time today evaluating your spiritual disciplines.

Bill Beck lives in the Black Hills with his wife, daughter, and dog. He and his wife have two grown sons.