In the Office: The Armies Round About

Yesterday, I started reading a book about spiritual warfare. For better or worse, that’s a topic that hasn’t usually been near the top of my research list. However, members of my congregation recently requested some sermons on the subject; and so, this is the first of several books that I intend to read in preparation for a series that is tentatively scheduled for the fall of next year.

In the OfficeNow, part of my past reluctance to delve deeply into spiritual warfare stems from the fact that I’ve known people who seem to get a little too carried away in their enthusiasm for it. As even the writer of the book I’m reading observes, there are folks who think that “every flat tire comes from the flat-tire demon or every burned steak comes from the too-hot-barbecue demon” (Chip Ingram, The Invisible War). However, as C. S. Lewis once wrote: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” And, as scripture reminds us: “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:2)

Having said all this, I think the other reason I’ve tended not to get too “worked up” over spiritual warfare is the frequent reminder in scripture that we ultimately have nothing to fear from it. “Do not fear,” the prophet says, “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). “You are from God,” the apostle writes, “and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). And as today’s lesson from the psalms puts it:

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1, 3)

Of course, even though our victory is assured; we can still benefit, I think, from learning about the “path” to victory. We can become familiar with the strategies that the enemy employs against us, and we can learn how to rest in the strength of the One who triumphs for us. And these are the kinds of lessons that I hope my reading and research will reveal.

For today, however, I offer this: You might feel like you’ve got “armies round about.” They might be armies of illness and weakness…armies of anger and fear…armies of heartache and hopelessness. But whatever you face, the LORD wants to be your light and salvation. He has won the victory. And if you allow Him to, He will lead you not just into survival – but into victory.

May the LORD of Hosts surround you today; and in His strength may you find your peace.

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