Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Our battle is not against flesh & blood (2)
by Erik Momsen
It is vital for western minded Christians (and here I include a very large part of our country) to rediscover that we are not primarily involved in a physical struggle, but that it is a spiritual battle. If we only see our lives in physical terms then we will constantly be ambushed by an unseen enemy who we don't even believe exists.
The Bible is blatantly clear that we have an enemy and it is his express purpose to destroy us both physically and spiritually. We are however not left defenseless. The cross of Jesus is the decisive beach landing and has completely assured us victory for the Kingdom of God but the battle to Berlin is still deadly.
In one of the greatest aids to Christian victory Paul lays out the strategy and mind set for the battle that we fight until we go home to heaven. The N.T. is clear that the devil will try to destroy us and hence we must;
"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God ... take your stand against the devil's schemes. ... put on the full armor of God, ... you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm ..." (Ephesians 6:10-14)
The pattern in Ephesians 6:10-20 is firstly defensive. Stand, defend, hold your ground and then pray, pray, pray, pray. This is a confirmation that the battle is not a physical one. The armour of God is a mind defense and a battle of the mind. The basic pattern is as follows; After we have thought, we then pray and then act.
This passage is about the weapons that any Christian has and may employ in battle against the enemy. John Calvin was probably correct when he resisted the call to focus too closely on the physical weapons and try to find the message in them. The Christians weapons are truth, righteousness, readiness (of the gospel of peace), faith, salvation, Spirit & Word.
Truth - Ours is the Post Modern age where all truth is relative - "it may be true for you but not for me". We have all come to a point were we ask, Is there political, scientific or social truth? I think not - only God is truth. At the heart of the battle for truth has always been Satan's question "Did God really say, ..." (Genesis 3:1)
Righteousness - Humans will always be driven, as in Eden, by fear, loneliness and guilt. We want to be acceptable, loved and free from guilt. Our only hope for righteousness is in the cross of Christ. Wendy O' Connel sang; "When I am lost. When I am all alone. Burdened by my sin and shame there's one place I can go. I look toward the cross." (Holy: VMI)
Readiness (of the gospel of peace) is a great defence against Satan's schemes. There is very little that keeps us out of trouble like being involved in Kingdom work. We note that the devil makes work for idle hands.
Faith - We sin because we are fearful, hopeless, guilty, tired, depressed. The root of sin is unbelief. Because we have lost faith in God, ourselves and our future with Him - we fall. It takes faith again to throw oneself at the feet of God - most humans are still running after the fall in Eden - still full of fear and guilt. It is only faith that brings us to the feet of God where the Divine - human interview takes place and the heart of humanity is healed (salvation through faith).
Salvation - The memory of my salvation as an event and as a continuous process is great comfort. I experience - being in a state of Grace - once saved but still under the perfecting work of God's Spirit - still being forgiven and perfected. Reinhold Hiebuhr described our salvation as "grace as power and grace as pardon" (Romans 6:1-2). I remember that I was once saved and that He is still working on me.
Spirit & Word - Used by the Spirit, the Word is a powerful defensive and offensive weapon. The battle for the mind is won primarily by a washing of the Word: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will ..." Romans 12:2. The thoughts and patterns of God are described in scripture and these have to supplant the mind sets we have inherited from the world.
Ephesians 6:18 "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
The evil one sows confusion and doubt which paralyses God’s people. Once the mind has been established in God, the Armor has been put on, it is time to fight the spiritual battle of prayer. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." 2 Corinthians 10:4
It is vital to pray with the mind of Christ. One cannot pray effectively if one’s mind set is wrong. To pray effectively we find the good and perfect will of God and then pray it (Romans 12:2) . It is this kind of prayer that advances the battle and brings victory and peace.
Date Added: 2011-04-05
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