I read several recent posts by Wes Roberts, and as always, what this gentle and wise man had to say triggered explosions of thought. Take a look at his post for February 12, 2007 Permalink "113...what do we claim to be true?"
Wes wrote: "War images can offend. Battle talk is uncomfortable for most...to be avoided. Thus, in the messiness of language, images, symbols, I believe, the wide ranging issues of spiritual warfare (...a fairly consistent theme in our life-text, the Bible...) gets minimized, ignored, and we pretend there is no such thing. There is......." Oh yes, to the sensitive little girl who grew up in The Salvation Army (Church, not Community Centre or Thrift Store) those war images have been offensive. Coming of age during the Vienam War, I was acutely uncomfortable with the externals attached to my roots in this Christian movement: uniform wearing, street meetings, knee drill (prayer meetings), and systems of hierarchical command. For most of my life I have avoided thinking about the Biblical context and the Divine imperative behind the notion of spiritual warfare.
But Wes pointed me in the direction of Eugene Peterson's rendition of Ephesians 6:10 - 24 in which Saint Paul urges us all to take up the best spiritual weapons in order to enter into a fight to the death with the Devil. Here is the portion of the passage which spoke most deeply to me:
1. Where do you need to take more seriously these words of our God?
4. How will you allow others to join you in the battle?
6. What all do you want our Triune God to be up to?