The Wrestling Match. . .
The other day I was speaking to someone about our prayer walk and the looked for results from our walking up and down the streets of our city. I quoted the following verse:
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
I love preaching and teaching on this section of Ephesians at the jail. There is so much wisdom and practical advice for living a victorious life in these verses. Anyway I was explaining that by walking up and down the streets we are stepping out in our belief and exercising our faith. We are confronting the principalities and powers and rulers of darkness, on their doorstep, in their own dominion. The same prayers could surely be said from our Lazy-boy chairs at home or from upon our knees at the side of our beds, but by putting actual physical steps alongside of our prayers, we are putting flesh, substance on things hoped for, we are giving physical evidence to the world of the unseen spiritual battle that we are fighting. Yes the same battle can be fought from anywhere. We do not need to be in close physical proximity to pray for something to occur, but by the same measure God told Joshua and the Hebrews to walk around the city of Jericho for six days quietly before acting on the seventh to bring the walls down, thereby demonstrating their faith, thereby giving substance to their belief in the power of God to accomplish such a huge victory for them. This was by any worldly standard a ridiculous exercise. Walking around a heavily fortified city six times in the hopes of its walls being breached. . . what foolishness. . .
These words still fresh in my mind, a mere few hours later, I was speaking with another person, another friend who is in a terrible battle for his spiritual life. To watch someone go through such a torment, such a spiritual war. . . I don't know. . . I feel helpless. What am I talking about? I am helpless in his battle . . I can do little. I can offer words of encouragement. I offer to be there at any time of the day or night for my friend, but I cannot fight the battle for him. He is contending with some terrible and powerfully ancient reptile. . . rolling around in the muck. . . submerging and surfacing again and again in the frothy chocolate water. . . they spin. . . they thrash about, disappear and reappear again. The next go round, will my friend come up again? Will he surface one more time or will he disappear and leave me to wonder of his fate??? . . and I am handcuffed and helpless to come to their aid. . . other than with my prayers. . .It comes to my mind. I remember this verse. I want to shout at Paul. WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???? WE WRESTLE AGAINST OUR FLESH AND BLOOD ALL THE DAY LONG. . . . Life is a decades long wrestling match of spirit and flesh. . . What kind of dream land do you live in Paul? What do you talk about in this verse???
I search Scripture for 'flesh', trying to find an answer to my questions. I run across another of Paul's sentences:
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
In this I find the answer to my accusation against Paul. Flesh is never spoken of positively in the Bible. The flesh is always weak. It never rules. It is always a servant. It is always ruled by its own hungers and passions. The desires of the flesh are the desires of our animal nature. Modern morality desires, no more than that, it needs evolution to be true, in that all the desires of the flesh are then explainable and justified by our degenerate past. Any perversion is then acceptable and explainable in the context of our origins of the primal muck and ooze. The fruit of muck and ooze never falls far from the evolutionary tree. According to the view of the world, woman was not made from the flesh of man, but man and woman were made from the flesh of the animal kingdom and thereby have no distinguishing calling, destiny, or obligation. Morality is a meaningless concept. Man is only one rung on a ladder that stretches forward and backwards into the mist. There is no true eternity. There are no consequences or remembrances past the ultimately forgettable history of our fourscore plus years upon this earth. No history. . . no consequences. . . translate into no restrictions on our actions.
But we who know God, know that man has a higher capacity than a mere animal, we are made not from slime, but in the image of God and with that capacity, with that divine heritage comes an ability and a duty to not ever allow the flesh to rule. God created every fleshly thing, but only into Man did God breath into his nostrils the breath of life, animating not only flesh, but more importantly giving life to the soul of man. This breath of God gave life to our Spirit. Our eternal soul must then rule the flesh or we are indeed merely animals. If we give the dominion of our flesh to another Spirit, it is then this spirit that we must wrestle against. I'm sorry Paul. You are right. We are not wrestling against the servant flesh, but we wrestle against the master of the flesh.
Physically I am handcuffed in my friend's battle, but I am not powerless! I am praying. I cannot see before my eyes the results of my prayers, but I believe. . . . I pray and believe. . . .
I pray for you my friend. . .
I love you my God. . .
Sunday, January 6, 2008
The Wrestling Match. . .