March 29, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING:
“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)
TODAY’S REFLECTION ON GOD’S WORD:
If the modern myths of “super heroes” in any shape or form teaches us anything it ought to be that there is a force in existence that is beyond our human ability to grasp. We like to believe that the human being is incapable of accomplishing an ultimate defense against an ultimate enemy without first becoming “more than human.” We have to have a super power, a super intellect and a super identity. Strange, is it not, that Jesus warns His disciples that “in order to achieve greatness you must first embrace meekness.” Yes, you know the perfect caveat which says “meekness is not weakness.” And it is not. Meekness is humility, graciousness, kindness, goodness, trust expressed in a true servant spirit. It may seem unnatural for most people to put on the robe of meekness. Is that because we are convinced that it is not meant for human beings? Is that a part of Jesus’ teaching about what makes “those who think themselves wise to appear foolish and those who are weak to appear strong”? The truth of the gospel confounds the folly of conventional and modern-day wisdom regardless of the era, generation, decade, century, millenium or aeon. The truth of the gospel is eternal because it is not derived from the mind of human beings. The truth of the gospel is eternal because it is derived from the heart of God for those He desires to be His children. And His desire is for all people to be His children. The sadness, even God’s sadness, is that not all people share that same desire. But, it does not stop Him from extending the offer and the means to us. God so loves the world… go ahead and complete it with me…”That He gave us His only begotten Son so that whosoever would believe that He is God’s Son and trust in Him as their Lord and Savior shall receive the promise fulfilled which gives eternal life whose joy and peace shall never end.” And we do not have to be “super heroes” to possess it or earn it. And we do not have to be “super heroes” or any kind of hero in order to accomplish the fourth reality against which we are called to battle against: the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
No, I am not talking about aliens from another planet, star system, galaxy, alternate universe or some unknown realm. I am gravely aware that we are in a battle for truth against the perpetrator of the Lie. The true enemy of God and humanity, indeed all of life, foments a “truth” which declares there is something greater than God that exists beyond the grasp of God in some ethereal reality. It is an evil gospel of science-fiction proportion which people love to believe in because they do not “want to be controlled” and because they “believe they can be in control.” Those “super hero” stories always have a twist. The evil never ends. There is always a more intense enemy “the next time.” That is because “We, as humans, have not conceived of an ultimate evil?” We do not have to. The ultimate evil exists in the very midst of us. Our problem is that we do not want to admit to it. Yesterday, I had a text dialogue with a Christian friend who shared a comment saying “the face of evil seems more present nowadays.” I responded that my fear was we have become more accustomed to evil’s face that we accept it as a neighbor and friend welcome even in our own homes. So accommodating are we that we exchange our friends for the enemy as easily as we exchange truth for a lie and light for dark. When we look at the “man in the mirror” who do we hope to see? The fantasy or the reality? The futility or the possibility? The lie or the truth? Truth is we are afraid of both the lie and the truth. On the outside it seems that a truth comes with extreme cost (some would say penalty). While the lie seems to easy to accommodate until what is on the outside takes root inside. It is then that the true cost is made known and the debt becomes far more than we can repay. Those forces of evil in the “heavenly realms” that exist beyond our imagination don’t really. They have been manifested in the incursion into our heart, mind, body and soul as we open the door to what pleases us instead of what pleases God. The battlefield is not “out there” as if Heaven is so beyond us. Jesus said distinctly, “The Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” When He taught “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” He was saying it is right here in your own backyard. We have to stop thinking we are fighting evil out there “in another dimension.” We have to start thinking we are call to fight against an evil in “here” that is cultivated in every age by those who desire to “steal, kill and destroy” a people from the inside out. We must not allow ourselves to believe that evil is a monster under our bed, in the closet, in another person or in another world. That may well be another place that it exists but until the battle is won internally and our spirit is surrendered to God as Jesus surrendered His, then our greatest enemy is ourself. Isn’t it time to remember the great commandments of “Love God and love the neighbor as you would love yourself”? Isn’t it time to put the battle to rest that we fight with ourselves and join forces with Jesus who has shown us “the way, the truth and the life”? There is an enemy out there. We just shouldn’t be that enemy. Be, instead, a mighty one of God believing Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and our Savior.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Thank You, Father, for continuing to reveal to us the truth of what is good and what is evil. As we embrace it and take the truth into our lives, let us become more prepared and better equipped to build up one another so they will see the truth for themselves and join with us in worship, praise and service of the One True and Forever King. AMEN.