The embiggening of the battle

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV)

Do you notice in this passage, this “finally” passage of Ephesians as Paul wraps up that glorious epistle, the “embiggening” of the battle we face as Christians?

We are more than conquerors, but we still have a battle to fight within which we will conquer. Paul is here reminding us of this, but, at least for me, he is also attempting to lift our eyes; he is getting us to see how big this battle really is.

The battle takes strength. And not our strength. We’re to be strong in the Lord, and in his strength. This battle will require armor for protection. But not our armor. His armor. And not just part of it. The whole armor of God is called for.

We’ll have to stand against our enemy. And not just any enemy. We’re standing against the evil one, the devil. And not just against the lesser parts of his power. It’s not the popularized head-spinning, green spewing, “Gettttt Outtttt”ing of pop culture demon-lore that we’re to fight, at least not usually. We’re to stand against the schemes, the “wiles” of this being who, in the category of evil brilliance, towers over every would-be human schemer and planner of evil. This enemy is Satan, who schemed Adam and Eve right out of the garden and right out of fellowship with God with a piece of fruit. That’s who we’re to stand against.

And, on a wider scale, we’re set against not just any set of enemies. Certainly not enemies of flesh and blood. If our enemies were other people – and, tragically, a lot of us live our lives as though other people are our enemies – well, that would be a battle we could probably handle on our own. But our enemies are the unseen rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, immortal and unfathomably wicked demonic forces of evil that Satan took with him when he rebelled against the Lord. And they positively hate us.

This is a big battle. Do you feel small? Powerless? I think that is half of the Holy Spirit’s desire in this passage penned through Paul. The other half of his desire is to cause us to lift our eyes to our mighty Captain, our great Savior and Lord, who has put our enemies under his feet. In him, and only in him, we are more than conquerors.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. – Colossians 2:13-15 (ESV, emphasis mine)

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