We Fight the Wrong Way

Ephesians 6:12, 18 (NRSV)
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. . . . Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Have you ever wished someone would change (or even tried to change them)? Have you despaired at how you were treated, complained about it to someone else? Have you, even once, thought, “I wish that they would be this way?” It is true that we fight against those who are difficult, who are unrighteous, unfair, uncaring, who refuse to love or forgive. It is our nature to defend ourselves against hurts and wrongs. It is our new nature to rebel against those who would rise up against the righteousness that is our God.

But we often fight the wrong way.

I have a saying printed out and put in a frame. Of all the things in our home that I packed, that I took with me to stay in our RV because I need it’s reminding over and over again. It says: “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray before you have prayed” (S. D. Gordon).

We forget to pray.

To be honest, it’s much easier to complain, to struggle against, to rebel, to rise up, to join causes, to send money, to be part of peaceful protests, to gossip. It’s much easier to fight on our feet, much more difficult to fight on our knees.

We often fight the wrong way.

Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Why? Because our struggle isn’t against that poor creature whose behavior choices are pathetic or, at best, uninformed. Our struggle is against the powers of Satan who would, now that he has been thrown down, would do all he can to limit the power of the saints on this earth. When we first fail to access the power of the Throne (and the will of God in any matter), we walk right into Satan’s hands. Regardless the holiness of the cause, the actions we take must be those that God chooses. His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8) and our best course of action may actually be interfering with His plan!

We often fight the wrong way.

Soldiers in the battle field may be unhappy with the order from their generals because those orders seem contrary to winning the immediate battle. But generals see the overwhelming picture and know that a certain action here and there will bring about a greater victory. So it is with the Lord.

He has commanded us to pray. Before we do anything else, we need to do that.