Previously, I wrote about our actual enemy, the spiritual forces of darkness hungry to devour everything good and holy, that hate everything God loves (that means You friend!) and encouraged us to keep straight our enemies from our friends or fellow captives. But if our enemy is not flesh and blood, what gives? How do we fight such an enemy?
God tells us: “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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 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,” (Ephesians 6:13-19)
There’s a lot there, but presently I want to draw our attention to two things. Firstly, the illustration. Paul is referencing the Roman soldier here, and as we previously read in Ephesians 6:12, the fight described here is hardcore. The action word used is “wrestle”, which implies a fairly up close and personal confrontation, down and dirty, life and death sort of struggle. What’s more, and I can’t verify this at the moment, but I read that the reference to the Roman soldier, a soldier whom is trained to “wrestle” was a very specific Roman soldier. A sort of, Roman Special Forces, if you will – that was trained not only in weapons combat, but also in hand to hand combat. And that, it was these Roman Special Forces soldiers that were called in to, successfully, defeat the Greek Spartans. Have you seen or heard of the movie “300”? Yeah, those Spartans, that’s who were defeated by the reference point for our warrior image. Not too shabby.
Okay, so that’s a pretty chest thumping image to ascribe to. Apparently, we are warriors who are called to drop the hammer and hard. Spiritually. ? – Let’s look at the action words and subject words.
Take up, withstand, done all, stand firm, stand, fastened on, put on, put on, take up, extinguish, take, praying, keep alert, perseverance (okay, probably an adverb), making supplication
That is a lot of action! I think a pretty compelling case is being made here for our active engagement in this, our spiritual warfare. Now, if we look at the nature of these words, they are almost all equipping (“take up”, “put on”) or defensive (“withstand” , “extinguish”) in nature, the exception being “prayer” and “making supplication” which as I read it, feels more like initiative than preparation or response. So the actions we take, in reference to Ephesians anyway, is to be a whole lot of preparation and equipping ourselves, with some aggressive prayer and supplication. And again, this is spiritual warfare. A literal sword and shield will be of little use against an evil angel. Instead we have –
Truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit, word of God, in the Spirit
Brothers. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. So a physical sword or great physical strength is useless (1 Tim. 4:8 , 2 Cor. 10:3-5). Equip yourselves with honesty, with integrity, with a life revolving around God’s commandments around God’s good news of Jesus Christ, of faith in Him and His Salvation and Word. Abiding in that word, in that Jesus, the Son of God, living by and abiding in the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5,6). Then, in this war ravaged world, when the evil day comes, you will stand.
Oh, and pray. Pray, pray, pray. Pray for your friends, family, spouse, children, enemies, leaders, fellow believers, pray, pray, pray. Pray, in the Spirit, pray according to God’s will (if you’re not sure, read His Word) and not your own “brilliant” ideas.
And taste glory.
Fight warrior, fight.