Combat Training with God – Ephesians 6:10-13

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Evil people are not our enemy; the devil and his minions are.

We forget that people are not the real enemy because they are the tools of the enemy for the visible manifestations of evil.  We see people do horrific things out of malice, indifference, ignorance, or selfishness.  We get so tied up in dealing with the tools of the enemy that we forget who the enemy really is.

One of the interesting aspects of this is that the enemy has ranks.  Just as in a human army, the demonic army has its authority structure as well (the rulers, the authorities, and the powers of this dark world, as well as the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms).  When the archangel Gabriel was delayed in bringing a response to Daniel, he indicated that it was due to a battle with the prince of the Persian kingdom, and that the archangel Michael came to assist him to overcome the resistance to bring the message.  Gabriel, an angel, could wipe out any human being.  This was a power of our dark world.

Sin blinds us to the spiritual.  But it is recorded in scripture that Balaam’s donkey saw a Christophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ before He took on flesh) and wouldn’t move.  Balaam beat his donkey, and in a very interesting turn of events, God opens the mouth of the donkey to speak (when was the last time you were at the zoo and the animals spoke to you?  The serpent spoke to Adam and Eve…)!  But this isn’t the only time we see that we are blinded to spiritual things.  Elisha asked God to open the eyes of his servant to see what the servant was spiritually blinded to – hills full of horses and chariots of fire.

When we see people do evil things, remember that they are the servants of their father, just as we should be the servants of our Father.  The only difference is that they don’t really have a choice in the matter.  Every person that you see is in one kingdom or another.  God marks His own with a mark – the Holy Spirit.  The devil is a counterfeiter, and marks his own as well.  And every spiritual being in the heavenly realms can see the marks.  But God, in His grace and mercy, seeks them out through His servants.  And when we don’t do our job fighting this spiritual war, He will intervene and reveal Himself.

Gird up with the full Armor of God.  Recognize who you fight this day, soldier of Christ, and, when you have done everything that you can, STAND.  The word stand is interesting as well.  It is intended to give a visual of a Roman soldier placing his shield in front of him, hunkering down behind it, and digging his feet into the ground to bear up under the pressure of an attack.

In light of this, let us now look with our eyes using this lens at those who wrong us, who run us off the road, steal our identities, mug us, rape us, murder us, and perform every other kind of evil against us, as prisoners in a war that they don’t even know is going on around them, let alone know that they are active participants.

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have given us spiritual life in You.  You open our eyes to reality in Your Word, and show us Your heart and intentions.  Help us to see this world and all in it as You do.  Remove the spiritual blinders that we have, and open our eyes that we would be better prepared as we are engaged in Battle.  We pray that You will go before us this days, and make our paths straight, and make them known to us, that we may do Your will and Your will alone.  Help us to give grace, mercy, and forgiveness to all who wrong us, as You did and still do to us.  Make known today to us our marching orders, and may our spirits be sensitive to You when You ask us to make corrections.  This we pray in the precious name of Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

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