“Onward Christian Soldiers” “Soldiers of Christ Arise” and other hymns of the faith dealing with spiritual warfare made a strong impression on me, inspiring my commitment to joining the battle. This seemed ever more important in light of the increasing moral decay in our culture.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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 6:10 (NIV)
I’m no quitter. I take my responsibilities very seriously, but I have given up.
I have given up striving in my own strength. While endeavoring to take my stand against the devil’s schemes, I have payed too little attention to the preceding words in the text, “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” I had shifted my focus from the unseen spiritual realm and God’s power onto my physical world and its rulers. I was hoping to change material events to suit my own will with the power of my prayers.
Leaning upon our own understanding is almost always guaranteed to lead to discouragement. While in the depths of despair at my failures, wondering what I could do, I turned again to Ephesians 6 and read on to verses five through eight and my eyes fell upon this phrase, “doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
In my efforts to serve God, I was attempting to usurp his authority and second-guessing his judgments. Scripture tells us that it is God who establishes rulers and governments for his purposes. My responsibility is to trust and obey.
5 … obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.Ephesians 6:5-8 (NIV)
The spiritual battle is real. I haven’t gone AWOL. I will continue to study the Bible, serve him wherever he leads, pray for his will to be done, and surrender my all to his wisdom and power.