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Posts Tagged ‘#thispresentdarkness’

Angel-army

 

It is so easy to look at our life, or a particular situation and blame systems, governments, society or individuals for the problems in our lives. It is so easy to vilify those around us; their actions and motivations.

Years ago I read a fictional book that was very popular at the time, about spiritual warfare, called This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti.

Ephesians 6:12 encapsulates the them of this book:

“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.”

When the book title came up in a conversation, recently, I was intrigued to return to Ephesians 6, and to see what it said, in context.

The instruction, from Paul, is to encourage the believers to be prepared. This makes me think of the motto for the Boy Scouts, “be prepared”. When their founder, Robert Baden-Powell, was asked what it is that they should be prepared for, he responded, “why, for any old thing.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 begins with an introduction:

“… be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

Not from us is our strength found, but in him! A good reminder for those of us, who independently, and arrogantly think we can do it … alone.

Then, wrapped around verse 12, is the recipe for his strength:

(“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.”) verse 12

He tells us to:

“Put on the whole armor of God” (v.11)

“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.” (v.13)

His instructions to “put on” and “take up” stand out to me. It would seem as though his armor is fully available to us, but we are responsible to dress ourselves.

And this is part of the freedom we have, as believers. He does not force us to wear the armor, that will save our very existence. He lays it all out, he tells us that putting it on is his plan … and then he leaves the door open, and it is up to us to choose whether or not to dress for battle.

No guilt trip, no pressure … freedom to choose.

And this is what he presents for us to dress in”

  • the belt of truth
  • the breastplate of righteousness
  • as shoes for your feet, the readiness given by the gospel of peace
  • the shield of faith
  • the helmet of salvation
  • the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

But, he doesn’t end with the armor, for he reminds us to cover all of this with prayer, and to not give up.

“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication … keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (v.18).

I think that my favourite part of this letter, from Paul, is how he ends it,

 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (v.23-24)

As I reread this letter, as I contemplated the darkness in our world and in my individual life, I found myself feeling … well … a little under dressed. I am guilty of taking God up on the freedom he gives to me. I am guilty of walking into battle short on armor. I wonder how much more prepared I might be if I were to accept the protective armor that God has waiting for me?

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