Lessons from Paul – 2

Today’s posting will serve double duty.  I am working on  some reading for Spiritual Formation, and the scripture for my section comes from Ephesians.  So, bear with me as I reflect on what I’m reading and processing mentally.  I’m excited about the books we are going through, The Christian in Complete Armour by: William Gurnall.  I’ve read many reviews saying that it is a must read for any Christian.

I’ll be reading through and presenting Chapter 3 in class…but will do much of my thought processing here.  I would love any feedback you may have.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12) 

“Look now at the nature of the war in three particulars: the sharpness of combat, the universality of combat, and the duration of combat.”

The writer makes mention of the importance of the word wrestling in contrast to war.  Wrestling is one on one.  War is army to army.  Why is this important for a Christian?  It is single combat between you and Satan.  He wants you to fail.  “When the enemy actually has hold of you, you must either resist manfully or fall shamefully at his feet.”  That’s a tough statement.  We have to armor ourselves. (But the book hasn’t gotten to that yet.)

So, if wrestle is referring to one on one combat, why does Paul say “we wrestle?”  Don’t we all wrestle?  We all have our sickly, human flesh that tries everyday to take control of our lives.   We each wrestle individually everyday.  Every Christian.

How long must we wrestle?  I love how the writer puts it, “The length of a man’s combat with Satan measures the same as the length of his life.”  Whew.  Sounds intense.  Not only that, the battle becomes more intense once you surrender your life to Christ.  You are then a greater threat/enemy to Satan.  He will forever pursue you.

“He delights to sneak up on you from behind, while you are kneeling, trowel in hand, planting seeds for the kingdom.  He knows a scuffle with him will at least detain you, if he cannot stop you altogether.”  How many days have I been just too busy to stop and have a quiet time alone with God?  How many times have I been in too big a hurry to stop and pray for someone I saw hurting? I can just see Satan pinning me to the ground laughing.

“The flesh is to you as the horse is to the rider – you cannot go on your journey without it.”  Temptations are always there.  Be they an arm-wrestling match sort, or a full-blown WWF event. (Okay, maybe not the best example, but you get the idea.)

So, why do we have to wrestle?  Could it be that by wrestling we grow in faith and spiritual maturity?


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