S54P6 – Linchpins of the faith: ready for war

Eph. 6:10-13

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. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

From the moment he was old enough to understand that his people had enemies, he was uncomfortable with the idea of warfare.  It seemed like an everyday occurrence that would never end.  He saw the older generations battling constantly, and he dreaded the day that he would be called to serve alongside them.  He was a pacifist, and he simply wanted things to be peaceful.  What he would learn is that he truly had no option.  His enemies would come for him regardless of his peaceful intentions, and he would have to decide whether to fight back.  The one thing that changed his mind was learning of his guarantee of victory.  If he prepared as instructed, and exercised faith in that which he was defending, he could not lose.  He had seen this time and again in others, and simply had to believe that it would be the same with him.

It is understandable why we would hope for the end of spiritual warfare. The battles can get exhausting and may seem like a distraction from other work we would prefer to do for God.  We may think that simply ignoring the warfare going on around us means that we are not required to engage in it.  That, however, is very far from the truth.  The devil is scheming against the Church, and he will continue scheming as long as he is free to do so.  We do not have the option to simply refuse to engage in battle.  We actually have a responsibility to take on the fight and glorify God with each victory.  Of the many themes that occur in scripture, one of the most comforting themes is that we have access to all of the power necessary to win each and every one of those battles.  God gives us the instructions we need to follow so that we can emerge victorious time and again.  We need not fear losing the fight but simply must have faith in the victory promised to us.

One thing we must remember is that the warfare we engage in is not like physical combat.  This is because we do not rely on ourselves for the victory.  Our courage and strength are insufficient.  When we engage the enemy, it is with the power of the Spirit that operates in us. We know the truth that there is no greater power than that.  This is not an issue of brawn: it is an issue of belief.  God only calls us to the requirement of being soldiers for the kingdom because He guarantees the victory.  Spiritual warfare is not an option, but it is also not a risk. We are promised the victory and must approach our warfare confidently.  Father, give us courage to face spiritual battles head on and the faith to fight with assurance of the victory.