"A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. 11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms." - Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT
As a woman, when I feel attacked, I find that I often react from emotion if I don't stop to think about how to respond to a situation - especially if it's a fellow Christian because they have no excuse and should know better. I would react to people as if they are attacking me personally. I have to remind myself of this scripture – ‘we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood...’ Just as I perceive that someone is attacking me, maybe they are acting this way because the enemy of our souls caused them to think I was attacking them. The enemy would like nothing better than to divide relationships.
This chapter in Ephesians goes on to talk about the armour of God, about His peace, protection, and how to stand strong. Then it extends the purpose of this exhortation in verses 18-19: "Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere. 19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words as I boldly explain God's secret plan that the Good News is for the Gentiles, too." Paul is reminding us who our enemy is and how to stand strong against them because we are God's witness for sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Christ. What better tool does the enemy have than to divide friends, to cause us to be alienated from those we come in contact with on a daily basis because we look at things only from this earthly perspective.
God's plan is for us to strengthen each other. His plan is for us to pray for each other, to do battle in the power of the Holy Spirit for each other. When we take offense, we probably aren't going to be praying with a pure heart for a brother or sister in Christ, if we pray for them at all. We must cause ourselves to REMEMBER that our enemies are the devil and his angels as it says in the The Message version, not the flesh and blood people we come into contact with every day. When we remember this, we can pray with effectiveness. We can pray for others because we are fighting a battle for them, not against them.
I wrote a few weeks ago about knowing who our friends are as we head off to war. In a war we have to also know who we are fighting or we will never win. Jesus came to earth and died so that we would win, He already paid the price and the end of the book has been written. We win the war, we just have to remember who we're fighting and not attack our fellow warriors in the process.
Father, help me to fight the good fight of faith, walking
in the power of Your Spirit. Continually remind me of the blessings You've given
me in relationships, bring to my remembrance those you would have me to pray for, and help me to forget the wrongs done knowing that my enemy is not flesh and blood. Let me see through Your eyes, and pray with Your heart. I desire to be a witness for You, not a hindrance to others' relationship with you. I will
walk in the full armour of God, Your peace, Your truth, the faith You give, and
stand in the salvation that comes only through You. Bless those I am in
relationship with and let us be a light for you. In Jesus' Name,