Thursday, December 13, 2007

We don't wrestle...

Ephesians 6:12 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.

My oldest son and I went to a high school wrestling match tonight. I had forgotten how intense the matches were. The teams faced each other across a large wrestling mat. Painted orange and black, the circle had the "Warsaw Tiger" painted on it. Sitting in a long row, the wrestlers peered at each other from either side. When the match started, the intensity rose. Even sitting in the stands I tensed as I watched both wrestlers strain against the other.

As I watched the match continue, I began to notice some things that I found were interesting. The physical exertion was not constant the entire match. The strain grew in intensity depending on the position of the wrestler on the mat. Some times the wrestlers would even be looking at their coaches for guidance in the middle of a move against their opponent. The teammates also played an important role. They hollered encouragement and offered bits of advice throughout the match. I also noticed that neither opponent quit until the referee blew his whistle.

Enter my thoughts on Ephesians 6:12.

In one of the only mentions of this word "struggle" or "wrestle" in the New Testament, we see it mentioned in relation to spiritual warfare. It is important to realize that our struggle is not against one another - or any other human being. I also think it is important to understand that the intensity of the conflict is never constant. Sometimes we find ourselves straining vigorously - and other times we have times of 'rest' during which we can even look to our Coach for advice. Sometimes when we find ourselves at a disadvantage spiritually, perhaps because we made a wrong choice or wrong move, we find ourselves struggling intensely trying to overcome and achieve spiritual victory. There are many times when we can hear the encouragement of fellow-believers as they offer advice and help as we struggle. And I think its important to realize that we are in this wrestling match against evil until the day the Referee blows His whistle.

High school sports or theology? God used a simple set of wrestling matches lasting no more then 45 minutes to remind me of the warfare in which I am engaged even now. It is important to understand that we wrestle for a victorious Coach - One who has faced every move of the enemy and won every time. He understands our weaknesses. His Spirit empowers us. His word guides our every move. His victory is transferable.

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