The Art of War
Note: Today’s bible reading is Ephesians 6. We’re finishing up Ephesians today and starting Philippians 1 tomorrow as we continue through the New Testament. We’re following the new testament readings from the 5 Day Bible Reading Program.
Can I be honest for a minute? I woke up this morning frustrated. You might even say angry. And you know what? For completely legitimate reasons too! In the dark corridors of my mind, I’m so sure it’s right to be mad that it might be wrong not to be. Unless of course, Jesus is seated on the throne ruling and reigning over his people as he graciously sustains us. If that’s true, then… wait why am I frustrated again?
You see, in my strength, I’m so inclined to get bent out of shape when things don’t go my way. This is because it’s always me trying to exert my will on the world and getting frustrated that its not happening just the way I thought it should. This happens when I’m overloaded and stressed out, when I’ve been sinned against, and even when I fall into sin. This feeling overcomes me. I’m so frustrated! Things just never work out right! Wait, wait…who’s on the throne again?
Brothers and sisters, we serve a King who spoke the universe into existence. A King who shaped all of history in our world to bring about our salvation. We stand before a King who, by his own blood, made the way for us to have peace with God. This is all true all of the time. Not just when we first come to Christ but every moment after.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
– Ephesians 6:10–20 ESV
This morning, you and I have a choice. We can be frustrated. We can be beat down. We can say to our souls, “There is no hope today! Live like you are darkness.” We can fight our battles using the ways of the world. We can go about slinging insults and spreading slander. Or, we can be strong. Not by the gritting of our teeth, but by dependance on the Strong One. We can be strong in the strength of his might. There is an active war for our hearts right now. Will we say no to Christ and let the “schemes of the devil” have their way with us? Or, will we “put on the whole armor of God?”
Our battle is not against flesh and blood. Not against people or problems or situations on this earth. There is a reality beyond the things we see. There is a cosmic sized war going on right now for our hearts as we decide who is seated on the throne. Will we bow the knee before God and put on the armor? Or, will we walk in the flesh today and hope for the best as the “flaming darts” come flying in?
Pray for me. I’ll be praying for you. I want to live in his strength today. And all of you who believe Christ, I know you do too. So today, right now, in a real way, let’s bend the knee to his ways and trust him to carry us onward.
PS More Josh Garrels because sometimes music is God’s special grace in your day.