Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Spiritual Warfare

“We live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NRSV).

“Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God so you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:12-13 NRSV).

“Do not fear [those who oppose you; forces of evil], for it is The Lord your God who fights for you” (Deuteronomy 3:22 NRSV).

Living in fear, constant fear, is not living – not really – because as much as we may believe we are taking responsible measures for the safety and security of our ourselves and our families, the hard truth is we are adjusting our lives according to our fears.  We are arming ourselves according to our fears.  We are choosing not to go to certain places or to certain events according to our fears.  We think we are exercising our freedom to do as we please, but in reality we are doing according to what frightens us most.

Many would claim to “believe” still, but faith – really, fully trusting The Lord – is not as easy as “believing” a concept, most especially something conceived of on our terms.  Yet living fully into The Word requires a certain measure of “fear” (call it “intense respect”) in being uncertain of how things will turn out even as we learn to trust fully in the Promises of The Word. 

This isn’t about choosing whether to carry weapons nor is it about taking foolish chances to “put The Lord your God to the test” (Deuteronomy 6:16; Luke 4:12).  It is entirely about whether we are prepared to live fully into The Word; The Word which became flesh, The Word which heals, The Word that saves, The Word that challenges us to exist beyond ourselves and any given moment.  It is the difference in “believing” and fully “trusting” that The Lord really is fighting for us. 

It is also about coming to realize the evil we face in this world is not about opposing “blood and flesh”, thugs and terrorists; it is about the “cosmic” battle between Good and evil which has been raging since Paradise was lost.  Adam surrendered to his own desires, to his own fears in trusting the word of another human only because that human told him what he wished to hear.  He was assured by this human (Eve) that it is possible to be in Paradise and in the world at the same time.  It was no less a “test” than what we face daily. 

We have not fully trusted The Lord to show us the way.  We have refused to allow The Word to guide us through the “narrow gate”, preferring the “wide path” and expecting Jesus to follow us.  We have reached up for the “fruit” that is causing the downfall of many whose intentions were good, even perhaps noble. 

If we are to understand, however, that what we face is not simply a world gone mad but only a new chapter in the same book of madness and that The Author of this book still intends a certain outcome, maybe we can find some peace in fearless evangelism.  Not merely existing, but really living the Life we are all called to live.  In the big, fat middle of this “Spiritual Warfare”, we can live the Life we’ve been called to live because the really hard stuff is Being Taken Care Of. 

Even Jesus “did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34), but the sword is His to wield.  Trust in this, and then we can really live!


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