This last week has been pretty grim on the news front. The spread of Covid seems to be getting away from us in Australia, especially in NSW but also in Victoria and ACT. Lockdowns are being extended and made more restrictive. The collapse of the Afghan government and the mad scramble to evacuate people from that country are deeply troubling on many levels. Good news seems to be rather thin on the ground at the moment.
The closing remarks of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church are a reminder that we live in an often dark world and we are engaged in a battle against evil whether we like it or not (which is not to say that Covid in itself is evil, although some of the actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan appear to be evil). Paul is not trying to alarm the church, but rather is being fairly practical. He writes that there are evil forces at work that will try to tempt, deceive or manipulate us in ways that will undermine or threaten our faith. So we must resist these forces and stand firm. This call is consistent with the line in the Lord’s Prayer ‘Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil’.
The way to stand firm is to arm ourselves – inwardly – with the character of God – with truth, righteousness, peace, faith and the hope of salvation. We’re also to immerse ourselves in God’s word – the Scriptures – and to pray as we are led by God’s Spirit. If we follow these suggestions it does not mean that evil will cease to buffet our lives … but we will have our focus where it needs to be – on God and what God is able to do in us and through us. Then we can be strong and able to withstand what comes in our direction.