Preparing for Spiritual Battle, Part 1
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. Psalm 144: 1
St. Paul revealed to the Church at Ephesus that the malice and actions of men were not responsible for the persecution of Christians and the hardships that the Church was experiencing and would experience in all of the days to come.
The Apostle had surely seen the visages of men contorted with such anger that it was apparent that something inside them was controlling them. He would remember the faces of the men who threw their coats at his feet when they rushed to stone and murder Stephen.
“When they heard these things, they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.”
If Paul was strolling past the Supreme Court of the United States in the past couple of months — the profanity, the rage, the unearthly screams, the threats, the boasts about killing babies, the ‘blood’-soaked clothing — would not take him by surprise. In fact, being a denizen of Eternity now, Paul would probably be able to identify which demons were inhabiting which people!
But this would not be the only place where Paul would find that the Body of Christ needs to counter the work of Satan. He said to the Church at Corinth:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10: 4 & 5)
Paul exhorts the Church that we have the divine power! The Church has not always been great at availing itself of that power, but at this late time in the history of the world and of the Church, the time is now. Satan’s more subtle attack has been to leave the Body of Christ lethargic, self-focused, divided, and fearful.
We who are seeking faithfulness to Jesus, freedom of religion, and human flourishing, must rouse the Church to action, unity, and courage. We will do that by destroying the strongholds, arguments, and the many, many lofty opinions that are raised against the knowledge of God.
Part two of this series will further explore this idea. We must join together as the praying Body of Christ, as the men (and women) of Issachar who understand the times and know what the Body of Christ should do.