Last month I started looking at Ephesians 6, where it talks about putting on the armor of God. I dissected verses 10-11. I laid the foundation for the next few verses by showing that our strength is to be in the Lord and in the strength of His might. I also put forth the idea that we are to put on the full armor of God for a specific reason, to be able to stand firmly against our enemy, the devil.
The next verse in this passage talks about our struggle. Once again, I would like to take the verse piece by piece.
1. "For our struggle..." Be assured we are involved in some sort of struggle. Life is never that easy. Granted it seems that some people struggle so much and others very little. However, what may appear to be a life of ease,, may actually be a life that hides the struggle well, or one that has fought for many months or years and is now in a time of peace. We should never compare our struggle with anyone else's. That will only lead us down a road of self pity or pride, neither of which will bring us out ahead.
2. "...is not against flesh and blood..." Wait! What did Paul just say? It is not against flesh and blood? Well, what about wars, assault, murders, bullying and so on? Aren't those things against flesh and blood? By all means. However, that is not where the real struggle lies. The real struggle lies inside each of us and in the heavenly realm. Isn't it pride, greed, lust, envy and hate that lead to those wars, murders, and so on?
3. "...but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness..." What does this darkness look like? I could be silly and say, "It looks dark." Ha, ha. In order to understand darkness of this nature, let me try to paint a picture for you. During this time of year, the sun does not shine very much here in the mid west. Out of the last 40 days we have had about 3 to 5 days of sun. We all know that life could not survive without sunlight. Our world was designed by God with the intention that light was good and necessary.
My Grandson spent this past weekend with us. Quintin has lived with us in the past before my daughter moved out, so he is familiar and comfortable with our home. He usually goes to bed well, although I usually leave on a string of lights, read books and sing songs to him before he finally falls asleep. I love it! He doesn't like the dark. Even with the string of lights on in the bedroom he sleeps in, he still turns on the hall light to go to the bathroom which is right around the corner from his doorway. When morning came he bounded into our room and said, "it's morning. Look, Grandma! Look out the window." It was so cute and so telling, of how much we long to have light in our lives; how much we need to have light.
The darkness that Paul talks about in this verse has to do with spiritual darkness. If you think it gets dark at night, try to imagine a place not pierced by the tiniest speck of light: no candles in the window, no flashlights to light your path, no streetlights to show you where that road sign is that your are searching for, no light....at all. This is the darkness that the enemy lives in and loves to drag people into.
In this flesh and blood world we live in, that darkness is manifesting itself in the lostness of humanity. People have bought into the lies that Satan is throwing out there and those lies have brought them into a dark, dark place.
4. "...against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." This battle is not just happening in our struggles here, but in the heavenly places. That makes me think of the Avengers movie, and various other sci-fi shows, where far beyond our atmosphere a war was being planned that humanity was totally unaware of. Dear ones, there is a war being waged that most are totally unaware of. A war for our lives and our souls. This phrase makes me feel convicted that there are struggles going on that I do not even see. Struggles in the heavenly realm. Shouldn't I be concerned? Shouldn't I be doing something? If so, what can I do? What can you do?
If you are a Christ follower, you know the end result of all of this struggle will be the victory of the light over the darkness, but that doesn't mean we are just supposed to sit back and let it happen. Christ is calling us to be involved, to fight, to put on His armor.
Next month, I will dive further into this passage. I hope you'll put on your scuba gear and join me.