"Spiritual Tasks, Spiritual Tools"
September 9, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 2 Corinthians 10:3
People visiting the museum of the United States military Academy, West Point, New York, see the exhibited weapons of war divided into two classes: small weapons and large ones. The small weapons include handheld clubs, axes, and swords; the large ones, such powerful machines as tanks, but also the beloved, all-purpose vehicle for peacetime uses: the Jeep.
Saint Paul considered himself engaged in warfare of a spiritual kind. He was fighting the Evil one, whom he considered to be a very powerful opponent. He writes to the Ephesians, "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" (Ephesians 6:12).
The struggle against spiritual enemies requires spiritual weapons. Taking us away from West Point, as it were, the apostle points out: "We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world" (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). Then what are the spiritual tools with which we work? In Ephesians 6:13-17 he mentions them. The two main ones are "the shield of faith" and "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." Faith is trust in Christ's redeeming, forgiving, life-giving merit. It is our best protection against the devil's flaming arrows. The only effective spiritual weapon with which to overcome sin and Satan is the Word of God, here also called "the Gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15).
Today as perhaps never before we must distinguish carefully the tools we use to build Christ's kingdom. None of the hardware on display at West Point, small or large, will do. Only the Gospel has the power to bring us salvation, to reconstruct lives, to convey wisdom and light, to open the door of heaven. God's Word is our armory.
PRAYER: Lord God, guide the world's powers to work for the ending of all earthly war so that we can wholeheartedly concern ourselves with the peaceful building of Christ's kingdom. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)