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.
Life looks quite different on the front lines, say as opposed to the ivory tower, or the confines of a comfortable life. Not to say life doesn’t have its struggles and more. But I’m thinking about the calling that’s on us as Christians to be a witness by our lives, as well as by our words.
When we actually put our faith into practice, especially in God’s priority, somehow for the gospel, we will experience some hard knocks, indeed spiritual warfare. At the same time we’ll also experience God’s power and enabling in and through Christ to overcome the enemy and make inroads by the Spirit into people’s lives. Not to mention even our own.
Just how each one of us in Jesus does this will end up being as different as each one of us are. In the passage quoted above, Paul didn’t say Christians had to look for such an opportunity. He stated instead that it is part of the life which we live. So that in a sense not only the Apostle Paul was on the front line in his preaching of the gospel, but other Christians who pray for him as well. Not just because they pray for him. But because they are Christians. We are in enemy territory so to speak, when we consider that we live in the sphere of the world,* the flesh and the devil. And God’s kingdom come in Jesus is in our midst. By God through Christ in the power of the Spirit we live in this environ. So strictly speaking we don’t have to look to get on the front lines, say as a missionary seeking to share the gospel to those who have never heard. Or a pastor who is seeking to minister the word as well as the sacraments to their congregation, as well as evangelize those who may not know the Lord. Yes, they are on the front lines so to speak in a way the rest of us are not. So that as the passage quoted above says (hit the link above or here for the full passage) Paul was requesting special prayer for himself. But the passage actually doesn’t say he was on the front lines and they were not. No, we’re all on the front lines, in the spiritual battle in and through Christ. We all have our part. We are in this together and yet each of us has our part to do. We must never minimize that, but carry on until the end. In anticipation of the day when what God has already won in and through Christ will be fully realized.
*meaning world system as that which knowingly or usually not is arrayed against God.