GNB 2.69

March 23, 2023


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.” (Ephesians 6.12)

Therefore, put on the full armor of God. In so doing you will be able to stand your ground when the day of evil comes. After you have done everything you are able to in that day, you will be able to stand [before the throne of God with humble confidence.]” (Ephesians 6.13)


I have chosen to present verses 12 and 13 from chapter six of the Letter to the Ephesians (there were no actual chapters in the letter that was originally written, that numbering is for our benefit of reference for study and application) separately as stand alone verses. For the purpose of this series of reflections on God’s Word, I hear their mutual call and support which are not crutches for us but more like Aaron and Hur who held Moses’ arms up. They did so as he clutched the staff which lead Israel out of bondage and now strengthened them in battle against the Amalekites. When his arms drooped down, the army of Israel was beaten back. When his arms resumed their high position, the army advanced. He even had to sit on a large rock because his legs grew weary. But, with the help of a strong man on either side, the staff remained high and the army of Israel prevailed. That staff of Moses was an important testimony in the hands of Moses. Jesus even mentions it as He directs His listening audience (believers and unbelievers alike) to a Messianic prophecy. He said, “As Moses lifted up the bronze serpent (which was affixed to the head of the staff) in the wilderness so, too, must the Son of Man be lifted up.” For Jesus, however, there were no strong men standing alongside Him to hold up His arms. They were affixed to the cross member with iron spikes and leather straps. That cross member, the partibulum, was then raised to its place on the upright member, the stipes, and lowered in place. In some ways, we might say that Jesus “had to stand on His own” in the face of death. We know from Matthew and Mark He uttered the words, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” (Translated we hear Him call out using God’s name “Elohim, Elohim, why have You forsaken Me?”) In that moment, Jesus did indeed stand alone. But, “…as the Son of Man must be lifted up in the wilderness [dare we remember the Wilderness of Sin through which the Hebrew freemen sojourned from Egypt to Canaan)” so are our hopes for salvation lifted up and lifted high. The call of “love one another” resonates with the upholding of one another in times of crisis, trial, challenge, temptation and prosperity so that we might not only prepare the way of the Lord who promises to return to take us to be where He is now but prepare others to receive Him and be received by Him when He does come.

It is with this thought that I challenge you to ruminate on this reflection remembering from yesterday “we do not battle against flesh and blood, but….” I mentioned that it does not mean we will not battle against people but against those whose spirit is set against the Word of God, the People of God and the Will of God. The manifestation of a “wrong” spirit which subjects others into service to them is what we stand against. We will know them by their fruits just as we are known fully by our fruits. Are there places that need to be pruned in us which bear “bad” fruit? Can we truly depend on the Good Vinedresser to graft branches bearing “good” fruit in our lives? Of course we can. Those vines, or trees, of eternal fruit grow alongside the river of life which flows from the throne of God. Their fruitfulness never ceases. And just as Jesus declared, “A person shall not live by bread alone but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God,” so we know that we shall be satisfied by the fruit of the Spirit which is sown in us and shared through us to a world that is hungering and thirsting. What they may not know is that they are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. They are experiencing the deficit and emptiness of the “fruit of this world.” It is there “bread alone” and soon there will not be enough money in their world to purchase it in whatever form their “bread alone” comes. But, we know where our “bread alone” comes from. It comes from every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus reminded the disciples of that in Samaria when they found Him talking with the woman at the well. Jesus reminded them of it in the Upper Room when He took the bread of Passover. There He blessed it and broke it to remind them of the sign of fellowship in “His Body” which they would share then and in the days to come. His body was not broken in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. But, the bread was broken in the sign of welcome and sharing. He reminded it to them again in the testimony of Cleopas and his wife who hurried back to Jerusalem following their encounter with the resurrected Jesus. He appeared to them in the Upper Room and took bread and ate it to validate it was indeed the “Living Lord” who stood among them.

But, we must be mindful that while we will all be known by the fruit we bear, many will be cunning enough to put on the appearance of sameness with believers. Those wolves in sheep clothing we talked about yesterday is a reminder of that truth. The warning of false Messiahs, false Christs, false prophets, false religions and false promises should cause us to listen, look and discern. It also calls us to stand apart even when we stand in the midst of them all. And when we stand in the midst of them all we are to be clothed in the “full armor of God.” We must be prepared to not appear to be “flesh and blood” which inclusion identity promotes. Even now, pay attention to what “inclusion identity” is bearing fruit to. It is sowing the seeds of diversion, diversity, ambiguity, anonymity, dissention, chaos and yes- “trial and tribulation.” That call for oneness by the world is subversive to the will and kingdom of God. God calls us to a oneness in Him through Jesus the Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We may “look” like people of the world but we are clothed in righteousness so that the world will not infect us, dissect us and overcome us. Even if they “crucify us” and “reject us,” they will never defeat us. We live by faith and sing the song of the early Church which Paul recorded in his letter to the Corinthians “Where, o death, is your victory? Where, o death, is your sting? Faith is the victory that overcomes the world!” So, let’s move forward in these reflections with a greater desire to “love one another” and bear witness to the world of the sufficiency of God’s mercy and grace by His Word, our Christ, so they may come to “love one another as God has loved them.”


We put on the armor of God today. We may not be fully dressed and thus vulnerable because some of the armor is too great for us to bear and understand. May Your Holy Spirit lead, guide and direct us in the way to accept what is given for our good and Your glory. May Your will be done on earth in and through us as it is in Heaven now and forevermore. AMEN.

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