“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Every so often I give great credence to this – that the true enemies are not of physical form and not part of humanity, but forces of “evil” that are like specters ruining and destroying. They are what cause humanity to stumble and all the terrible things in the world to happen; of course, they have their “minions” (not to be confused with the adorable little yellow guys who are not really evil) who carry out the evil so it is manifested physically. But there is also the forces of darkness that some how cause things to happen. And then other times I do not believe there is a force of evil and darkness; just people who are mean, nasty, cruel, violent etc for reason that are flesh-based and not spirit-based.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench 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.” (Verses 13-17)
Because, if we believe that there is a spiritual force of evil that can ruin our lives, we are giving power and credence to the nameless fears that seem poised to spring upon us and destroy us. If we give into the fear, it may stop us from confronting the evil that is in the flesh because we fear the source of that evil. Who are we, we might think, to put on the “armor of God” and battle forces that are beyond our knowledge, experience and understanding. And who is this writer of Ephesians who thinks we are able to?!
“Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.” (Verses 18-20)
The times that I think “fate” and “destiny” are more than philosophical words or terms; when I believe that something is preventing me from doing what I planned, and I believe that “something” is the devil or another such being – those are the times I get scared. And think maybe I should not be brave. I am not an “armor” type of person.
I used to image (not imagine, meaning pretend to) myself putting on “Godly” armor and going out to “battle” evil. Sometimes the “Godly” armor won; but sometimes I was unable to fight off or ward off . . . or whatever word you want to us, and the “evil” won. So I set aside the “Godly” armor, and decided to just do as God would have me do; doing what I can, praying about all things, and letting God worry about the rest. And won’t you know it . . . situations started to untangle and smooth themselves out. Hurdles, crises, and obstacles just sort of faded away. Of course there were had times, and I had my shared of sorrows. But I no longer counted it as who had “won” or “lost” as if it were some contest of good and evil.
That there is evil, I have no doubt. And whether it comes in fleshly form or spiritual form or some bizarre hybrid that is lurking out there . . . some where . . . I don’t give it thought or pause. I go where God sends me, do what God guides me to do, and pray for what I need to accomplish what God has set before me to do. Just me – no belt or breastplate; no shield, arrows helmet or sword. And when walking in Christ’s footsteps, simple shoes will do.
May you, beloved reader, image as you need to in order that you might follow Christ and go where God leads. Selah!