Paul then proceeds to spiritual admonition and equipping to be strong in the Lord so we can stand firm in the face of the real enemy for we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. The enemies are not the sassy teenagers, the thoughtless family members nor the defiant children...not the boss, not the employee, not the clerk, not the neighbor, not the guy in the car in the next lane- but the EVIL RULERS, SPIRITS AND AUTHORITIES OF THE UNSEEN WORLD.
After all the exhortations on how to conduct ourselves - as if we have a problem in those areas - he drives home the enemy is not the relationships; but the dark and evil spirits warring against our flesh-and-blood selves.
This poignant charge hits home today as I have engaged with some flesh-and-blood folk who have behaved like enemies (a.k.a. saints in the family). The truth has to be held ever before me when I am in the cross-hairs of the ire of an irritable being; else I would respond as to an enemy. Oh, the damage that could be done to the saints...the carnage to the Body...the abuse to the Name when the enemy successfully deceives me (us) with a bait-and-switch.
Father, help me ever-pray for Your Body, the saints around me and the saints that are far away...even in time. High Commander of the Heavenly Host, please use me for collateral blessing rather than collateral damage. Let the enemy taste the bitterness of defeat increasingly in his efforts to assault the relationships of Your people. Open our eyes, inspire us with creativity to conspire against the evil one and keep us from falling into pits which we dig ourselves. Praise You for the victory is Yours, from beginning to end.
We must truly be strong in His might to stand in holiness when some of our big buttons get hit by those that know them the best. It also warns me that this is an area the enemy has great success in using against God and His Fame. We are just pawns and casualties to the enemy - ones he delights to harm; but to the King of the Universe, we are His beloved children. Buckle up, oh mighty warriors...the battle is in progress...let's unite to take back the stolen territory. God, give us a heart for those needing triage...and keep us from joining them.