Week 20 Saturday

A Different Kind of War

Today’s scripture selection: Second Corinthians 9-10

Key verse: Second Corinthians 10:3

It’s a sad reality of our world that war is relentless.

At any given time; any given season; in a hundred hot spots all over the globe – war wages on.  And even the hopeful pacifist among us reluctantly admits that it will be a long time before that changes.

That’s nothing new or unusual.  The apostle Paul knew all about it.  What is interesting is that he also knew about a “different kind” of warfare – spiritual warfare.

Now, I know that for a lot of people that conjures up images of possessed individuals with spinning heads or the walking dead or dolls that come alive in spooky and unexpected ways.  We can thank Hollywood for that.

But, while it may not always present itself in such dramatic ways, spiritual warfare is very real.

And that means we must contend with it – one way or another.  Like earthly war – we are either victorious or we are casualty.  There isn’t another “neutral” option.

The way Paul talks about it is to say that when engaged in warfare with those unseen, but real, dark forces that influence our minds in evil ways we must do one thing above all.  We must “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

It’s sounds tricky – and it is.  Because even when some people think they are “demolishing” that which stands against God – they may actually fall prey to self-righteously acting in ways that are themselves contrary to God’s will.  So, like carefully disarming a bomb, we must stand for righteousness without becoming self-righteous -tricky indeed.

Still, there is no other option.  Prayerfully and carefully we must find our place in the army of God – willing and ready to serve when called.  The only other option is to serve those forces that would oppose God and ultimately be destroyed.

Because, of this, you can be sure…when it comes to spiritual warfare…

God always wins.

Prayer: Almighty God, I commit myself to serving You and You alone.  Use me as You will.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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