So, it has been much to my surprise that I in recent weeks I have begun to sound just like them. For several weeks now I have been feeling the gravity of what Ephesians 6:12 says, "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."
Since taking on the role of the church plant coordinator I have increasingly become aware of how small and how powerless I am. But I have also become increasingly aware of the bigness and strength of the God we serve. When I take my little self out of the center of the picture I can see the great cosmic battle between God and the Evil One...which does two things for me. First, it makes me acutely aware that there is indeed powerful forces working against us. Second, it makes me cling to the work of Jesus Christ as our only victory over them!
Not only is this true in our community but also in our personal lives. For several weeks I have seen person after person on our staff and church plant team struggle against, what on the surface looks like flesh and blood, but underneath I am convinced is the work of the devil, who is prowling "like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." It has caused confusion, fear, disunity, guilt, discouragement and a miriad of other things with both small and large implications. It is no coincidence that these things have flooded into our midst as we make plans to push back the spiritual darkness through church planting. The devil is prowling; the spiritual forces are waging war.
But, I refuse to let us be devoured. I refuse to walk in defeat when we are covered in victory. We have been given the weapons of the winning army and I am praying earnestly that we use them in victory each day. Stand in the strength of the Lord and pray we do the same!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. Put on the whole 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 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 6:10-18