our struggle (and a bit on rest)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Whether we like it or not- oftentimes I don’t mind it that much, but sometimes it seems too much- we in Jesus are in a struggle. It is not as if two equal powers are pitted against each other. Although Satan and his kingdom has been taken care of at the cross through Christ’s death, they are still active on an earth which awaits the redemption in Jesus yet to come. Which means we in Jesus have to take authority over Satan, over the satanic hosts, the demons. In Jesus and by the power of the Spirit, they are no match for us at all. Just the same, somehow they directly resist us, as well as cause suffering and brokenness to humanity.

Paul likens this to a battle in which we need to be strong in the Lord, in the power of his might. As well as putting on the armor he provides for us. And with all prayer.

In some translations it is a fight, I like the old KJV rendering of wrestling.

There is no doubt that the rest God provides in Christ is important to us, indeed essential. We need to learn to live in that rest. But we need to learn to accept the struggle as well, the battle we are in. To fight or struggle within the rest God gives us in Jesus. To carry on the struggle, even when it seems we are not experiencing that rest. It would seem that learning to do what Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 would contribute to us being able to live in the power of God and take authority over the demonic (see the entire book of Ephesians as well as the rest of the New Testament, particularly the gospels and Acts) within that rest. The struggle is not for our own spiritual lives. And yet it can seem that way sometimes only in the sense that we can feel like we’re barely hanging on. Not in the sense that our very faith is being undermined and is at stake. Though part of living in Jesus is keeping the faith, and in this instance taking the shield of faith to protect us against the fiery arrows of the evil one, as we put on the rest of the armor.

And so we go on in this life. Wanting to do so in the power of the Spirit, in the authority of Christ, standing firm in him together for the world.

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