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. Ephesians 6:12
I was reminded today that we are in the midst of a war. The enemy, "who comes to steal, kill, and destroy," (John 10:10) is "filled with fury because he knows that his time is short." (Revelation 12:12).
A dear friend shared with me a few months ago that she found such peace each morning in reading this passage of scripture:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes... 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:11, 13-17
We arm ourselves with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the word of God and our salvation in Jesus so that we can take a stand against the devil’s schemes, so that when the day of evil comes, we may stand our ground, and after we have done everything, we are called to stand… stand firm.
There is no question that we live in a dark world… a world where planes fly into buildings, mothers abandon babies, and innocent lives are taken for no reason at all. But what lies beneath all of the evil acts we hear about on the evening news is the slow and gradual assault on our families. The attack that happens while our eyes are wide open; the war that has been going on since the beginning of time.
I love how God’s word equips us with what we need in order to go to battle. I can't help thinking, though, that so many of us, myself included, are suited up, covered in armor head to toe, yet we are not going to battle. We are not standing. We are not taking our stand, or standing our ground, fighting against what the enemy wants. Nehemiah 4:14 says, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Zephaniah 3:9 calls us to serve "shoulder to shoulder" with one another. When horrible, despicable acts of evil are committed, it is easy to question God. It is easy to let fear and doubt creep their way into our hearts, instead of concentrating on who God is. But Isaiah 28:16 refers to Jesus as “a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation,” and promises that “the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”
We need to constantly remind ourselves of who God is. When we remember that He is with us, the God who "does no wrong," who "cannot fail," who each new day "dispenses his justice," (Zephaniah 3:3), our "Mighty Warrior who saves", (Zephaniah 3:17) we can stand up together and fight with confidence in knowing that the battle is already won. 1 Peter 3:15 instructs us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Being ready and prepared begins with having the right mindset, with focusing on the truth. In my Bible study this week, a group of about 40 women sat in a room and quietly spoke out one by one, testifying who God is. After only a few minutes, this is the picture we saw at the front of the room- a dry erase board overflowing with words of comfort, restoration, peace, and refuge:
We could have sat there all day long, because this list does not even begin to describe who God is, how big, how mighty, how loving or how in control He is every second of every minute of every day. God does not cause evil; it's not who He is. When things happen and there is no way to wrap our minds around the how and the why, we can trust that He will use it for His eternal purpose.
For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT)