I first woke up about 2:30… I don’t remember all of what I was dreaming about, but it had to do with spiritual warfare, the topic of Sunday’s message. Usually, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I lie there and pray. I ask the Lord to protect our home, and I often think of my kids, or of my church family.
And then I heard a bump.
I wasn’t sure if it was the paranoia of being halfway awake, or thinking about “spiritual warfare,” but I woke all the way up and started listening closely. My wife was sleeping soundly and the fan was blowing, so I couldn’t tell if I was hearing an intruder downstairs or not… So, I decided to take my flashlight and check.
Now, some of you might think that a flashlight isn’t a very intimidating weapon to investigate possible murderers or the beginning of the zombie apocalypse in the middle of the night, but my flashlight happens to be attached to a pistol. I’m not one of those crazy “preppers,” but you just never know about that zombie apocalypse. Now, I’m a peaceful guy. I don’t want to hurt anyone. They can have the tv and the computer. They can even steal my bicycle and I won’t protest too much.
I had confidence that whoever or whatever was downstairs, it wasn’t going to make it upstairs past my flashlight to harm my family. I even carried a couple of our Pathway business cards in case I needed to invite the intruder to church this morning.
It was nothing.
Ephesians 6:10-20 deals with the armor that is available to the Christian for spiritual warfare, and it’s not really what one might expect. There are no mystical chants or magic spells. Instead, Paul looks back over the character qualities he’s been talking about all through Ephesians and points out that a developed moral character is the armor the church needs to combat spiritual forces.
When it comes to spiritual warfare we have confidence, but not in our own power, but in the power of God. And the tools that he gives us to stand strong are the tools we’ve been talking about all the way through Ephesians. If you hear a bump in the night, you don’t need to get out your book of magic spells to perform an exorcism. You might need your flashlight, but the schemes of the devil are much subtler. Whispers of discouragement, petty arguments that turn into anger and disunity and we counter all his attacks by standing in God’s strength. By developing character: truth, righteousness, unity, faith, and confidence in what God has provided for us... That’s how we stand against a spiritual enemy.