December 30, Sunday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Spiritual War”

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

For fun, I did a little research on wartime rationing during World War II.  According to Wikipedia, in January 1942, the U.S. War Production Board (WPB) ordered a temporary ban on civilian automobile sales.  Although the WPB wanted to conserve fuel, the resource they were most interested in saving was rubber, which back then, was mainly sourced from Japanese occupied countries in Southeast Asia.  By June 1942, metal became the valued commodity, and products such as appliances, furniture, and radios were no longer being manufactured. Gasoline was eventually rationed, which meant non-essential driving was limited and people were more reliant on public transportation.  Sugar supplies were cut in half, and since German submarines were sinking Brazilian cargo ships, coffee was rationed to about 1 lb. per five weeks (about the half the average usage at the time—that would have killed me the most). By 1943, ration books and stamps were distributed to control the amount of sugar, fruit, oil, cheese, milk, and other items civilians could purchase.  

While researching I realize I’ve never lived through a war that dramatically impacted the way I have lived.  Sure, conflict in the Middle-east raised gas prices, but I’ve never been told I could only have five gallons this week.  Generally, I’ve had the privilege of being relatively unaffected by the wars and conflicts our country has been in. Our country’s military involvement hasn’t even stopped me from going on vacations.  I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve always been a civilian, and I’ve always had a civilian’s mentality.

Here’s my point.  Whether we know it or not, we are at war.  And while it seems that Paul exhorts us to take up the armor of God and take up arms, perhaps, we think we are just playing the part of a civilian.  But even civilians have responsibilities to make sure they are living in a manner that aids the war effort. Of course, the question we want to ask ourselves is this: Are we living as if we are in a spiritual war, or are we totally oblivious to the conflict around us?  The apostle Peter warns us, saying, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8b). What should we then do? The front end of that passage reads, “Be sober-minded; be watchful.” Paul, at the end of today’s passage, says, “With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying.” As we turn the page into the new year, remember those warnings and let us adjust our lives accordingly.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to put on Your full armor.  Help me to be aware of my surrounding and to spiritually alert.  Let me pray and intercede for my friends, neighbors, and especially those who don’t know Jesus.  Let me be ready to engage with Your word.

Bible Reading for Today: 2 John 1

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