What battle would that be? Spiritual warfare, of course.
What do you mean forgotten? How can one suggest that the church is off doing something else?
Well, maybe forgotten is a tad strong. Maybe found more comfortable to overlook, or inadvertently unemphasized whilst working on increasing the local congregation, might be a better characterization. After all, when actually addressed, this topic might trouble some people (a definite possibility). In any case, let’s have a peak, shall we…
We regularly hear preaching about everyday struggles. However, they are often presented in the context of, or with overtones of, modern psychology, with some biblical references. They are definitely not present for what they are, the pitch battle between principalities and the forces of Heaven. But the Bible makes it clear that they are exactly that: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12. How much more clearly can it be spelled out?
Since this is spiritual warfare, the battle is certainly the Lord’s, and He has complete control. But the struggles are played out in the lives of the Saints and in the world. Those are the lives that the church is charged with assisting, whose arming for battle the church is charged with facilitating, and to whom (at least partially) preaching is addressed. That being the case, why do we not hear more direct discussion of the real battle, and exhortation for the only effective armour endorsed in Scripture – prayer and dedication to the straight, unvarnished Word?
The Lord has clearly layed out the proper attitude. It is to put on His Word, focus upon Him (“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesian 6:13), and to treat each other with love. In essence, that’s it.
What He has stipulated is actually quite simple, at least in terms of getting started. Rehearsing His Word is staightforward. Focusing on Him in frequent prayer and mindfulness is possible to start. And loving one another as we focus on Him together can be appreciated and worked upon, even if we struggle at times. The point of all of this is to basically put ourselves in the position where we stand behind Him, protected by Him, and the battle is His.
If we don’t do that, and if instead we draw common sense solutions and attitude towards life into play, then the battle becomes our own. When that happens we are in big trouble. We can not successfully fight the powers of the air and of this world. We are not strong enough. And so, people succumb. Only standing in the shadow of Jesus are we strong enough, because then it is not us, nor our battle. It is Him alone, and He is strong enough..
Ladies and gentlemen, I choose to stand in the shadow the Lord of all creation. I am weak and can not stand alone. He is my only armour, and I love Him alone. Let us stand together, safe beneath His cloak.