One thing I have noticed since this pandemic began is how often medical experts and government officials have used military language in speaking about our response to the threat of the Covid-19 virus. Several people have described this as a war and I believe they are correct in doing so. While it is not a war against human enemy combatants, it is still a war just the same. Even though the enemy we are fighting is almost invisible and unseen, the attacks of the enemy are real. Real people are being seriously sickened and real people are dying each day.
And just as in any war, we are using a variety of weapons or combative practices to fight this unseen enemy such as social distancing, avoiding crowds of 10 or more people, maintaining 6 feet between yourself and another, washing hands with soap and water and/or with hand sanitizer, wiping down and sanitizing door handles, eating healthy, having appropriate medicines on hand, including hand sanitizers, Lysol and disinfectant wipes, storing non-perishable foods, getting enough rest, using a tissue or wearing a mask if you are coughing or sneezing, staying home if you are sick. These are all indispensable practices to fighting and slowing down the spread of COVID-19 and thus “flattening the curve” of ever rising cases and outbreaks. All of these are important tools to maintain the health of the public and literally save lives.
As Christians, we too are at war. Like the COVID-19 virus, our enemy cannot be seen but is everywhere, pervasive and insidious. But unlike COVID-19, the stakes are much higher. For our enemy doesn’t seek to take our life so much as our eternal soul. Paul describes the war and the enemy with which we Christians are engaged in great detail in Ephesians 6:10-17 when he writes,
10 “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.”
Our enemy, the Tempter, seeks to undermine our faith and destroy our souls with his own weapons some of which are discouragement, depression, denial of Christ, fear, panic and hopelessness. The Coronovirus pandemic provides the perfect opportunity for us to be susceptible to these spiritual attacks. But just as the CDC and WHO have offered us some weapons to combat the Coronovirus, Paul reminds us of the weapons and armor we Christians have at our disposal to stand up to and combat the enemy. The next few devotions I want us to examine are the weapons and armor that Paul suggests so that we can be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” In my next few devotions, we will examine in detail what it means to put on the whole and complete armor of God which includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. As Paul reminds us, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
O God, in this time of great anxiety and fear, grant us the courage to be strong in Christ and in his mighty power. In Jesus name. Amen.
Questions for Reflection
- To which of the enemy’s weapons are you most susceptible: discouragement, depression, denial of Christ, fear, panic, hopelessness or something else?
- Which of the pieces of armor, Paul suggests might be most helpful to you to withstand this attack? How?