Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Christian in Conflict

EPHESIANS 6:10-12:  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.   For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”


THEME OF THE DAY: THE CHRISTIAN IN CONFLICT. What came to mind when you read the topic?  People conflict?  A challenging co-worker? A difficult neighbor?  Perhaps a little “tension” in a family relationship?  No doubt, those types of conflicts exist and more dealing with people.  Conflict is reality and comes from sin.  Sin causes conflict.  Sinners sin.  Saints sin.  Conflict results, but there is another type of conflict.  This type of conflict needs no sparring partner.  All it needs is a genuine conversion experience.  Every child of God is in conflict.  A real, personal, and constant conflict in the inner being.  When we define the Christian life, do words like “wrestle” (Ephesians 6:12), “war” (1 Peter 2:11-12), “opposition” (Galatians 5:16-17), and “our warfare” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) get included with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)?  J. I. Packer give us good insight to the whole understanding of the Christian life not just the “good” part.  He said, “Regeneration has made our hearts a battlefield.”  Failure to daily realize we are in spiritual conflict with real spiritual foes will deaden the soul to the realities of the unseen world.  Life will be consumed by the temporal and the seen resulting in becoming a spiritual casualty unable to answer the call to duty as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  (2 Timothy 2:1-4)


Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a magnificent and detailed work on the church, the bride of Christ.  I think one could consider it a “manual for church operations.”  In the last chapter, beginning in verse 10, he reveals the truth of spiritual conflict.  It is a conflict between the forces of evil bent toward the destruction of both the church of the Lord Jesus as a body and every individual believer in the Lord Jesus.  The conflict is intense, relentless, and one which must be in the forefront of the Christian’s daily thinking.


Prior to the Lord Jesus commencing His life-giving ministry, what occurred?  Read Matthew 4.  Intense warfare with Satan.  Now read Luke’s account (Luke 4:1-13).  Pay attention to the last verse when the battle scene closes, “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13).  The devil left Jesus for a short time to regather his troops, to have another strategy meeting, and get ready to re-engage the Son of God which he did.  One reattack is recorded for us.  It was in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46).  The point is the devil never rests.  He roams around like a roaring lion all the time (1 Peter 5:8).


I believe an area of great challenge is to constantly remind ourselves of the presence of an active and personal devil.  Without this belief, we are not able to interpret the world and its chaotic state properly.  Nor are we able to see the personal battles in our souls properly.  The question simply becomes this, is today’s scripture reference a very real and personal experience?  It must be so.  It is the Christian life. 


Prayer:  “Father, keep me alert to the reality of spiritual conflict.  Protect me from being lulled into sleep in the war.”


Quote:  J C. Ryle, “The believer may be known by his inward warfare as well as by his inward peace.”


Because of Him,


Pastor Jim