You know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. -Romans 13:11-14
I’ve been looking at life through the lens of battle for about a year now. It began when I was really struggling inside for reasons I didn’t see. I wondered what was wrong with me, who I was struggling against. I started calling it The War Inside, not only because that’s the name of a fantastic Switchfoot song but also because it best described how I felt. After awhile, my best friend would ask me how I was doing, and my reply would be, “The War Inside.” (Now we joke, “How are you?”, “I’m good!.”, “How’s your soul?”, “IT IS WELL, IT IS WELL…” Haha! Anyway…) I was so dejected, almost defeated, every day. Then Jesus told me this:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)
He changed my life with that one sentence. That’s why I was so weary and feeling beat down– my soul was fighting HARD at that time, because it was getting closer to Him that it ever had been and my flesh was NOT happy about it! That’s when I stopped letting myself be a victim and instead became a warrior. I’m fighting for us now.
Jesus wants us to see the reality of spiritual battles. They can be inside us (like a sin you’re wrestling with) or around us (like demons taking advantage of someone empty), but they’re always about us. We have an enemy who absolutely despises us and the One we fight for, and he does anything he can to hurt us. When I would read the Bible a few years ago, I thought I couldn’t relate to verses that ask God to crush our enemies because no one really hated me. Now I know I have an enemy that I can’t see, that all he has for me is hatred. He doesn’t want me so he can love me, but so he can cause me every kind of pain imaginable. Jesus lets me fight him, and it’s hard and sometimes hurts, but He’s fighting with me.
I don’t even have to ask. I know that in some area of your life is a war you can feel. We all share that, because we’re all worth something. Are you ready? Jesus gives us a list of the things we need in Ephesians 6:10-18 in order to survive, and over the next few weeks we’re going to take a look at them together.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. 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 of 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.