The scriptures analogically refer to life’s spiritual conflicts as forms of military combat and sporting competition, and to us believers as soldiers and athletes.
If we could see with our physical eyes what we look like spiritually, would we see ourselves as genuine carriers of the “marks of Christ” (as the Apostle Paul said that he did)?
“… for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”
~ Paul, Galatians 6:17
Would we see a fresh application of the blood of Jesus Christ to our life, mixed with our own fresh blood from the wounds received in victorious combat? Would we see upon us scars from battles where [with Christ] we had won hard-fought victories in the recent past?
Some fellow believers do not like the analogies [for the spiritual life] of combat and sporting competition, of soldiers and athletes. To them, it sounds too violent or too physical, and not intelligent or sophisticated enough.
However, there are very good reasons why scripture frequently uses the combat and sporting analogies:
- Life is dangerous,
- Life is strenuous,
- Life is competitive,
- Life can end with eternal death, and
- Life is an intense war filled with battles.
This particular war has no allowance for “conscientious objectors” or for “pacifists.” Granted, how we engage in the war can and should be prayerfully considered and discussed, but a rejection of participating in this “war” or this “competition” is not acceptable in the eyes of God.
Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, inspiring them to have a clear perspective and mindset, not one of pacifism but of spiritual combat when participating in the full realm of life:
“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 devilʼs 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.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lordʼs people.”
~ Ephesians 6:10-18
We have been provided “the full armor of God” (or in the sporting analogy, the ‘football gear of God’) complete with “weapons of warfare” (that have Divine fire-power) with God’s full anticipation of our full participation!
See you at the altar of prayer, my friends. It’s time for war!
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