Ephesians 6:16 NASB
“in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Flaming arrows, fiery darts, all being extinguished. Do you sometimes feel like you are a dartboard and those darts or flaming arrows just never seem to stop coming?
God’s Word tells us that, that which we see in not always as it appears. Ephesians 6:12 NASB tells us that “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Do I have a broad understanding of what this means? Yes I do. If I was to paraphrase what I understand from this Scripture, it tells me that the interactions that I see here on earth between humans is not solely sourced just from within humanity. It tells me that there are bigger forces in play and these bigger forces originate from sources that are spiritual in nature and they are forces of wickedness. Or in other words, these worldly forces that I can see, that are identified as “darkness”, means they are devoid of God’s light, they do not represent God’s will nor do they originate from Him. And further, that these rulers, powers and forces of darkness that I can see, originate from opposing forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Do I have a definitive or comprehensive understanding of what that spiritual conflict entails? No I do not. I know the basics, but beyond that it gets a little hazy. And to be quite frank with you, I personally don’t believe we will ever thoroughly understand what is eluded to in God’s Word, until we are face to face with God. I do know that I have seen evil that is difficult to articulate and unless God specifically tells me that He wants me to enter into that particular area, I am going to respect that evil that I do see and avoid it at all costs. And when I say “respect” I do not mean respect in the normal good connotation, as one would respect something that is basically good, but I mean “respect” as in something not to be trifled with.
In my walk with God I follow the KISS approach. KISS is an acronym for the “Keep It Simple Stupid” approach, a term that was used when I served in the military. The rationale for this acronym is to focus on that which is of primary importance and not of a secondary or subsequent importance. An example is that I may be hungry but right now I have a hole in the canoe that I am in, and the primary importance is to plug that hole, not address my hunger needs.
Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). From my perspective, that’s pretty inclusive. Jesus has a far greater understanding of spiritual realities than I do. The bottom line is that I study God’s Word and try to broaden my understanding on all things that He would have me gain an understanding on and this is an on going process. In short, I’m pretty sure we are always learning.
But there is one thing that is of primary importance and that is ensuring that I continually ask Jesus to direct my steps, whether I turn to the right or the left or proceed straight ahead or even go backwards. That guidance is absolutely critical. Either He guides where I go or I start doing it myself and the latter is not the recommended method. I’ve got the T shirt.
It is so easy to become focused on the end or last times (Christian eschatology) and endeavouring to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. And although that is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, it can lead one astray from our primary objective, where the focus we are pursing becomes secondary to the person we are yoked to. Jesus said for us to take His yoke upon us and to learn from Him (Matthew 11:29). A typical yoke has places for two. And it’s pretty easy to see that Jesus is filling one of them and we fill the other. He leads, we follow.
I see an awful lot of warnings being propagated about the end times in various multimedia online apps these days. There is nothing wrong in gaining an understanding about the end times but using fear as a motivation to change people’s hearts, falls short of learning from Jesus. Jesus spoke to His disciples about the end times after they believed in Him.
Just something to be aware of and think about.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!