According to multiple sources and the book of Acts, the thriving metropolis of Ephesus endured a heavy amount of demonic activity during the time that the Apostle Paul sought to convert many Hellenized Jews and Gentiles to Christianity. Paul experienced spiritual warfare firsthand during his ministry in Epehsus. While demonic activity was not something new to him, the activity was greater than in other places Paul had witnessed it.
We know from reading the Gospels spiritual warfare and demonic activity was prevelant during the years that Jesus ministered in Jerusalem and around the Sea of Galilee. Such activity was witnessed often enough that it doesn’t strike the biblical audience of those days as unusual in the way it does us today. We have attempted to relegate spiritual warfare and demonic activity to the fictional universes of horror films and scary movies. We seem to believe even less in the influence of the Devil than we do in the existence of God in our modern, 21st century pluaralistic culture. Yet, we know evil exists because we see it every day.
Currently, our world is at war battling two viruses: COVID-19 and racism. One, COVID-19, has only plagued us for a short while. The other, racism, has been a cancerous sore far too long. While we continue to seek soloutions to rid the world of both, we cannot lose sight of those things that connect us and unite us. We cannot lose our moral compass, give into chaos and anarchy, or continue to burn down cities and communities in the name of justice. That’s what our enemy, the Devil wants us to do. Our enemy, the Devil, seeks to kill and destroy us. God yearns to unite us and restore us into the very image we were originally created and intended to be prior to the Fall.
No, life is not fair. While we can and should strive to make our world more just and continue to promote equal justice for all, greater justice won’t make life more fair. We are all created in the image of God and we should treat each other in a manner worthy of our calling to be children of the Most High.
To fight the good fight, Paul urges the readers of Ephesians to put on the full armor of God in order to succeed in our battle against evil. We fight a real battle here, in the flesh and blood, but we also are part of a greater battle in a realm we do not presently see, except for the rare times we catch a glimpse of it in our First World lives.
Ephesians 6:10-13 (HCSB)
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
Father, help us remember that we are in a physical and spiritual battle against an enemy, like coronavirus, that we do not see clearly in our human eyes. We can find the evidence of evil everywhere if we will only take the time to look, but in our First World lives, we cannot see past our many distractions. Help us draw nearer to You, O Lord, our source of strength and victory! Remind us to put on the full armor You O God have given us to aid us in the great spiritual war we are fighting. Let us strap on the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, and stand firmly ready to share the Gospel of Peace. Help us, Lord, carry our Shield of Faith to thwart the attacks of the Enemy and crown us with the Helmet of Salvation, mentally prepared to accept the gift which we first received in our heart. Let us take up the Sword of the Spirit so that we might be bold Ambassadors of Christ, unafraid and untimid to present the truth and shed light in all circumstances and situations. God, let us shine like bright lights of love and stand as anchors of hope amidst the turmoil and uncertainity of our present age. We cannot do this on our own, Lord. We need You, each and every moment of every day. We give You all honor, glory, and praise. In Jesus’ name, by the power of Your Spirit. Amen.
The Devotional Guy™