Our Conflict

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” Ephesians 6:12

When we run into difficulties, we need to remember that the real foe is not a person, pain, or predicament we are currently facing, but the evil spiritual armies which seek to oppose God and his work in this world. They are doomed, of course (“One little word shall fell him”) but they can inflict considerable damage on their way to inevitable defeat.

I am trying to remind myself of these truths this morning.

My knees are bothering me again, which means that I probably can’t go out to see some people I thought I needed to visit.

The cursor on my lovely little mini computer keeps hopping around, forcing me to rein it back in and return to the place it should be. Things also get deleted or enlarged without my written permission.

Lack of sufficient sleep has dulled my mind and drained energy.

Dori is several hundred miles away in another city, partly immobilized with a broken wrist and (as of yesterday) a mild cold. She is with loving friends, however.

Someone quite close to me is in a relationship that could become extremely painful, but thinks it’s God’s will to continue on, which may indeed be true, but will require extraordinary faith in God.

Despite having done quite a lot of reading on Ephesians in recent months, and having taught on it several times before, I don’t feel ready to for the one-week, 30-hour seminary course that begins in Taichung next Monday.

And so forth.

As it happens, however, I have come to the final pages in a marvelous handbook to the Greek text of Ephesians, and thus to the text I quoted above.

Just when I need it, Paul reminds me that the things I listed above (and others I have not mentioned) are not really obstacles; they are  occasions for winning victories over the enemy by relying on God’s mighty power. If I will only equip myself with the weapons which he supplies, I can accomplish his will in spite of opposition.

Furthermore, the passage from the same letter on which I preached last Sunday (1:1-14) speaks eloquently of God’s manifold grace and our privilege and duty to praise him at all times, as I reminded them.

And Psalm 25, on which I am to preach this Sunday, promises guidance, forgiveness, and deliverance for those who wait upon the Lord in faith.

So, now is the time to “practice” what I  “preach,” and praise the Lord of victory and mercy, trusting in his sufficient grace to me (and others) in Jesus Christ.

At the end of his letter, however, Paul does ask the folks in Ephesus to pray for him. Could I do the same?