A More Important Kind Of Wrestling

by Kevin Burton

   The end of classes for the day at our Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind does not end all activities.  

   For an after-school extra-curricular activity we take you to wrestling practice.

   I was a wrestler in high school. At the time I had little or no comprehension of the kind of wrestling the apostle Paul talks about in Ephesians. 

   That’s spiritual blindness, not being able to see the true significance of what is going on all around you, or maybe not seeing it at all. That’s why we created ESSB and why I am studying here alongside you.

   There is a war going on whether you know it, or like it, or not.  You may choose not to acknowledge it, but it rages on nonetheless.

   The Apostle Paul urges people to prepare for battle in Ephesians 6. He talks about the equipment you need, but let’s first focus on your opponent, no ordinary foe.  

   “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 KJV). 

   This is spiritual warfare. You don’t want to go into this battle unprepared. But the Christian need not be afraid, as explained on the website www.gotquestions.org.

   “There are two primary errors when it comes to spiritual warfare, over-emphasis and under-emphasis,” the website explains.  “Some blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons that need to be cast out. Others completely ignore the spiritual realm, and the fact that the Bible tells us our battle is against spiritual powers.”

   “The key to successful spiritual warfare is finding the Biblical balance. Jesus sometimes cast demons out of people; other times He healed people with no mention of the demonic.

   “The apostle Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves (Romans 6) and warns us to oppose the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:10–18).”

   Paul describes the “full armor of God” that we must take into spiritual warfare in Eph. 6: 13-18.  We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit. We are to pray in the Spirit.

   “What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare? We are to know the truth, believe the truth, and speak the truth,” the website reads.

   “We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we face. We are not to waver in our faith, trusting God’s promises no matter how strongly we are attacked.”
   “ Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. And we are to pray in the power and will of the Holy Spirit,” the website reads.
   I am sure you know people who think they exempt from the spiritual war.  I used to think that way.

   I thought, I am just a guy minding my own business trying to get ahead. I mean no one any harm

   So all this talk about God and the devil, heaven and hell, shedding of blood, are you kidding me? 

   How about whoever is into that settle those things without my being involved and I’ll just go on about my business.

   Not an option. 

   When I witnessed to my high school history teacher he said the gospel story “just doesn’t make any sense.”

   Paul said we would run into such thinking in 1 Cor. 21: 18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

Class notes: extra-curricular, wrestling: We are to cast off spiritual blindness and acknowledge the warfare going on around us. They key to success is submitting to God and relying on God’s power, not our own, carrying the full armor of God, standing firm, persevering in prayer. “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved,” (Psalm 62:2 NKJV).

   One for the spiritual road: When confronted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus combatted each temptation with the words “It is written.” The Word of the living God is the most powerful weapon in spiritual warfare.

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