We, all human kind, have an enemy that seeks to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8) We see evidence of this enemy’s work in the world in the news every day. It takes many forms: gang killings, child sexual abuse, crime in general, divisive politics and the “culture wars”, and all the ways that people hurt people and the things that cause divisiveness, lack of respect, lack of peace and turmoil in the world.
Some of that turmoil is reflected in the over aggression of policeman, who are called to serve and protect, who exhibit a callous disregard of life, even for the lives of obvious criminals. Some of that turmoil is seen in the rioting, looting and blind anger that is partially a response to incidents of police misconduct and partially the boiling over of a cauldron of racial unrest. Some of that turmoil is is evidenced in the increasing number of incidents of violence against men and women in uniform.
We live in a fallen, hurting and divisive world. This world is very much ruled and controlled by “powers and principalities” that we do not see. (Eph. 6:12) We point fingers at each other, but there is something else going on that we cannot see, that some of us refuse to see, that we often do not realize and misunderstand.
Paul the Apostle says that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Id.) It is just like our enemy to lead us to think that our issues are with each other and our fight is with ourselves. We deny the reality that sets us against each other, and we become the pawns of it.
Regardless of how we view the evil in the world, there is an answer to it. God is love. (1 John 4:8) In Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile (Romans 10:12). There is Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. (Gal. 3:28) “There is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” (Col. 3:11) There is no black and white, us or them.
Though we are often overwhelmed by the darkness in the world, we see examples of God’s love and Christ shining like a light in that darkness.
Sometimes the people who are seeking that Light, who claim to have that light, allow the darkness to creep in and overwhelm them. Even those who have seen the Light have a built in tendency to gravitate toward the darkness… where we are comfortable.
It is just like our enemy also to attempt to make that light seem like darkness, to fixate on the failures of the people who have seen the Light, as if the people who have seen the Light are the Light. In fact, our enemy is directing our focus to the shadows. We mistake the shadows for the Light, and we reject the Light. (John 1:9-11)
We should not be deceived. God is true though every man may be a liar. (Romans 3:4) We should not mistake the failures of mere people for the Spirit, the life and the truth of God.
Nor should we be unaware of the schemes of the enemy that are intended to deceive us, divide us and lead us away from the one answer for the evil in the world: Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, rose from the dead to lead us in victory over sin and death and stands waiting to come in to all who would allow Him to rule and reign with love in them. Jesus is the Light in the darkness.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal. 5:6 NIV)
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:13 ESV)
And so Paul’s prayer becomes my prayer:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Eph. 1:17-23)