Ephesians 6:12 For 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.
It’s interesting how context affects the way we read things. Normally I think of “flesh and blood” as simply referring to people, but right now, with my wife in the hospital having had back surgery two days ago, I realize it includes our own bodies. My wife’s surgery “went well” and her incisions “look good,” but the drain from the surgical site continues to fill the bottle with blood, etc., which is definitely concerning. She can’t be fitted for a corset to allow her to be vertical (sitting or standing) until the drain is removed. Also, until then she isn’t even allowed to turn over by herself, but must have a nurse’s help. This is more than a frustration, because with her Parkinson’s Disease, staying in the same position for very long quickly becomes painful in and of itself. This leaves her feeling very much like she is in a battle with her own body, which is very difficult to deal with. That’s where this verse comes in. She is under attack, and the difficulty is staying focused on the source of the attack to stand against it. There are actually many times when we feel we are in a battle with our own bodies. That can be in relation to temptations or addictions or disease or even aging. Paul spoke of keeping his body in submission, (1 Corinthians 9:27) but there are certainly limits to what we can do. When it came to medical issues, even Paul had to receive the Lord’s strong love and release himself to Him. (2 Corinthians 12:9) The point of this verse is that when we are under attack (which is to say, constantly) we aren’t to confuse the vector of the attack with the source of the attack. The devil uses anything he can lay hands on to try to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) We can’t ignore what he’s using at the moment, but we must remember that the attack comes from the devil, not from whatever it is he’s using, whether it’s something in our circumstances, another person, or even our own bodies.
In the present situation, I too need to remember that the enemy isn’t my wife’s body, much less the medical staff at the hospital. She is certainly consumed with her subjective experience of what is going on, so I’ve got to stand on her behalf against the genuine source of the problems. At the same time, I’ve got to remember that God never allows anything that He can’t use for our good – which is something I tell other people all the time! I am to stand firm in prayer and integrity against the enemy, and be strong in encouragement for my wife. This too is something God is using to teach both of us to be more like Jesus, for our blessing and His glory.
Father, thank You for this Word. It’s certainly timely! Help me not just say, oh that’s nice, but make it part of me and live it out, so that Your name may indeed be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!