Determined Woman Seeking to Remain Spiritually Strong

A daily devotion for June 18th

The Struggle

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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 6:10-12

It is clear that Paul's view of the basic characteristic of life can be put in one word: Struggle. Life, he says, is a conflict, a combat, a continual wrestling. This is confirmed by our experience. We would all like to think of life as romantic idealism, for most of us would like to think of ourselves as living in an idealistic world where everything goes right and we can spend our days in relaxation and enjoyment, with just enough work to keep us interested. It is not wrong for us to dream these dreams. These romantic ideals are the vestigial remains of what was once God's intent for human life and, in God's time, will be once again possible to humans. But the Apostle Paul is not dealing with that kind of life. He is coming to grips with life as it really is now, and he says life is a struggle, a conflict, a combat against opposing forces. If we attempt to draw aside, to get away from the struggle, we continually find ourselves being jarred back into reality. Some unpleasant fact intrudes itself into our beautiful world and refuses to go away.

The apostle also says that this conflict is not against flesh and blood, i.e., it is not a struggle of man against man. It may be a struggle within man, but it is not between men. I wonder what we would answer if we were asked, What is the thing that gives you the most difficulty in life; of what does the struggle of life consist? Many would feel that it is against flesh and blood. But the apostle says that you cannot explain life on that level; you must look deeper than that. There is set against the whole human race certain principalities and powers, world rulers of darkness, wicked spirits in high places. There is your problem, Paul says. Those are the enemies we are up against. And it is not just Christians who are opposed by these, but every man, everywhere. The whole race is opposed by the principalities and powers, the world rulers of this present darkness. This is Paul's positive explanation of the struggle of life.

We cannot understand life unless we begin here. We cannot understand history if we reject this proposition that behind the problems and the evil which manifests itself in mankind, there is an organized kingdom of principalities and powers at various levels of authority who sit as world rulers of the present darkness. The world says to the Christian: Why talk about this kind of thing? Why do you not talk about something relevant? Why don't you get busy and do something that will be meaningful today? But what could be more relevant than this teaching which puts its finger on the basic problem? What good is it to keep rushing around curing fevers, but never stopping to analyze the disease?

Thank you Lord, for a word of reality which speaks to me in the midst of my complacency and lethargy and stirs me up to see life as it really is.

Life Application

In what ways have you been foolish enough to think that the real struggles you face are against flesh and blood?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Forces we Face

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