I remember as a child a time of fear caused by a man who was known as ‘The Butcher of the Ukraine,’ who later became the leader of the Soviet Union. His name was Nikita Khrushchev. He was a brute bent on cowing the world into submission. To many Americans, Khrushchev was a very scary man who stood for the struggle between communism and democracy. It was one of the worst parts of an age that was called the ‘Cold War.’
The Bible tells us that there are two forces at war in this world, as well as the more fundamental conflict of mankind down through the ages. There are the forces of darkness and evil—forces trying to rob us of our freedom and create chaos in our lives. They are forces that Ephesians 6:12 calls “the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.” And then (by contrast), there ARE the forces of light and freedom, forces controlled by the power and the love of God. Now there is a stark contrast between the world of darkness and chaos—and the world of God’s control.
Khrushchev understood contrast. He once said: “The difference between Christianity and Communism is great. If someone strikes a Christian on the face they turn the other cheek. If you strike me on the face, I’ll hit you so hard your head will fall off.”
Ephesians 6 says there are very real conflicts with some very real dangers, so Ephesians 6:13 warns us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes (and it will come), you may be able to stand your ground.”
What Paul is saying is this: The world of chaos is filled with darkness and selfishness—people who are controlled only by their own sense of morality. But Christians are call to live differently than that. Ephesians 6 tells us Satan once had us, and he no longer does. But he wants us back.
That’s why the forces of darkness and chaos will come against us. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil. So many today have crossed over to darkness and don’t realize it—becoming enslaved. One real advantage Satan has over us is that he can make us feel ‘religious,’ e.g., like one who prays to Jesus and continues to use drugs, or one who prays to Jesus and continues to commit adultery. Don’t get caught up in others’ impurity and lust.
Don’t cross over the line with God, because it can be a hard thing to get back over. Remember that Satan will bring up your guilt and shame to convince you that God would never forgive you. He’s wrong.
My weekly prayer is that the reader of this commentary becomes spiritually inspired of God. Contact Expressions of Faith at P.O. Box 330127, Nashville, Tenn. 37203; or e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. God bless!