Monday, April 2, 2012

Ephesians 6:10-12

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

In my opinion Pilgrim’s Progress should be required reading throughout the life of a Christian. In this book, the main character, Christian, suffers many trials on his way to the Celestial City. Midway through his journey he climbs the Hill of Difficulty and stops at the House Beautiful. After three days he leaves clothed with armor. Travelling through the Valley of Humiliation he battles for over half a day with Apollyon, the destroyer who is king of the Land of Destruction from which Christian had fled. After a fierce battle in which he suffered much injury, Christian wounds the monster with his two-edged sword, and the monster spreads his wings and flees.

This is a clear allegory for the spiritual battles surrounding us daily. Are your spiritual eyes open to those in darkness all around you? We often treat it with indifference, and those most invested in the war will often feel the battle more strongly. I wonder how things would change if we could see the battle with our own eyes as Christian did. We would most certainly take it more seriously. The power we need and the battles themselves belong to the Lord. We do not have the strength and resources to fight and win apart from Him. We are fighting a spiritual battle and therefore need spiritual weapons, the Christian disciplines listed in the following verses.

In the original Greek the phrase “put on” means put on once and for all, not put on when you hear the battle, or when you expect a fight, or in certain places, or on special days of the week. Although we are charged with using the armor and becoming more adept in it, we constantly are clothed for battle. Protected by the armor of God we are able to resist the devil, and he will flee from us. When we are not living our lives in the armor of God, the devil can exploit our weaknesses. Perhaps you can think of some who were used mightily of God but fell by the wayside because of just such a circumstance.

We struggle against rulers and powers and the world forces of the darkness. Political systems and religions around the world are led by those who follow the whispers of demons. Even some who masquerade as Christians or churches may be ruled by darkness and disavow such things as the deity of Christ or the truth of Scripture. The war rages around us, and we should grasp tightly our swords and open our spiritual eyes.

I like what old Uncle Bud Robinson said - he looked at the Christian life as a war and he said - All my life I'll fight the devil and when I've lost my teeth I'll gum him till I die. It's relentless. It never ceases to be warfare, living for Christ is not waltzing through a meadow picking daisies; it's walking through a mine field with snipers all around you. Snipers you can't see or perceive because they belong to a supernatural realm beyond your ability to conceive. This is war and the enemy is hell-bent on destruction of every divine purpose. 
– John MacArthur

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