Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Invisible War

Jesus’ admonition “Pray for your enemies” sounds appropriate for a rag-tag group of believers facing persecution as they built the fledgling church.  But ask Christians today if they have enemies and many will respond with a blank stare.  Yet Paul tells us with certainty we have an unseen enemy.  And this is an enemy you cannot pray for, but must pray against.  The enemy to which Paul refers is Satan and his army of fallen angels.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12)  Fortunately, Paul then tells us how God has equipped us for these battles.  He describes the armor God has supplied, beginning with the belt of truth which helps us rightly discern what battle we are facing. 

Next is the breastplate of righteousness which covers our sinful heart with the righteousness of Christ.  Our feet are “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” because the Great Commission tells us to go into all the world and share The Good News.  Hold up the shield of faith because it is our steadfast faith in the goodness of God that helps us overcome the enemy.  Finally, Paul tells us to take the helmet of salvation- bought by the blood of Christ that covers our mind- with the sword of the Spirit which divides between marrow and bone, soul and spirit. 
In any war, there comes a point where things stall. You seem to gain no ground and you are tired. Paul says having done all of this-- putting on the armor and praying-- to simply stand. I think of those scenes in movies where someone stands still and you see blurred images pass by at light-speed on either side. Psalm 91: 5-8 tells us: “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.” Remember that promise of protection the next time you fight the invisible war and remember, too, that with His death and resurrection, Jesus has already won the victory for us.