a hard fight to the finish

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

Ephesians 6:10-20; MSG

It will help us if we accept the fact and reality that we who are followers of Christ are in the fight of our lives to the finish, until this life is over. It doesn’t matter as much what the specifics of that battle are as just the realization that this is what’s set for us. Otherwise we might think there’s something wrong with us, or think the problem is in the trouble and circumstances we face. But the devil is in the details.

This doesn’t make the actual warfare part something we necessarily like in any way, shape or form. But it helps us stand firm and continue, but only in the grace, power and humble likeness of our Lord. It’s not like we’re going to be perfect in this. But God is actually shaping us through this spiritual warfare. Not only directly in our own lives, but indirectly through the prayers of others for us, and through our prayers for others.

Perspective is an important part of this. We have to remember in this life that it’s not yet the life to come. We are in the realm of the Spirit in Christ, but we live in the midst of the world system at odds with that, and the flesh and the devil, all allied together against Christ and God’s kingdom come in him. So we can expect trouble in all sorts of ways, and in a sense it begins here, the spiritual battle we’re in.

But God has given us all we need in Christ, specific gifts as mentioned in the passage above. We indeed must take them and apply them, and keep doing so. It is God who then will make the needed difference for us. And help us continue on when left to ourselves we would never make it. In and through Jesus.