Last Thursday our Prime Minister extended the home quarantine lockdown for a further three weeks without any promise of an end in sight—at least not any time soon. Boris Johnson said these words that got my attention:
‘If this virus were a physical assailant, an unexpected and invisible mugger (which I can tell you from personal experience it is), then this is the moment when we have begun together to wrestle it to the floor. And so it follows that this is the moment of opportunity. This is the moment when we can press home our advantage. It is also the moment of maximum risk.’
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote this:
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. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. (Ephesians 6:12-13, NLT)
Paul is drawing our attention to the ‘unseen world’. This is, of course, not the first time Paul takes his readers to the realm of the unseen.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18, KJV)
We live very much in a seen and unseen world, but often it’s the effects of the unseen that will impact each of us to a greater level—as we’ve all experienced with Covid-19.
Mental health is an example of the unseen realm taking its toll on the seen. Many of us battle with thoughts, feelings and emotions that are very real. For those who are living with it the struggle is debilitating and paralysing, but to others it’s unseen and therefore seems not to warrant serious attention.
Fighting an invisible enemy is very difficult—as our world knows all too well—but don’t fall into the trap of being blasé. Make no mistake, just because you can’t see the enemy doesn’t mean it’s not real! Covid-19 will change our world and how we do things for some time, but in all this we’ve got to hold on to God’s promises and daily suit up in our own personal protective equipment (PPE): the Armour of God.
I recently read a report that said since the onslaught of the pandemic Bibles have been selling faster than ever before. Although we may feel fed up with it all, God is working on the hearts of humanity all over the world. He’s shaking up the church, sifting her, removing the weeds and the chaff, and making room for the harvest, those who are truly in love with Him and His bride, the church. There is a greater harvest of souls coming—more than have ever been seen before—as the end result of God working all things for good.
We all know the enemy is defeated, but now is the moment of maximum risk. We must work on our relationship with Jesus and refocus on eternity. The Bible tells us that He has placed eternity in the hearts of man.
We must continue to do the things that are essential to our Christian faith: being generous to others (feeding the poor, supplying help to the most vulnerable) and advancing our own personal development in prayer, worship and reading the Word. It’s all-too-easy to back off from these critical aspects of the Christian faith, but crisis quickly reveals what’s really important.
This is the time for our prayer life to grow, our walk with God to become deeper, and the Gospel message to become stronger in our own lives. It’s time to wrestle the mugger to the floor! It’s time to take the fight to the devil in the unseen world by putting on the full Armour of God.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:13-18, NLT)
Things to note:
Firstly, stand your ground. In these uncertain times it’s all too easy to allow fear, worry and anxiety to cause you to back off from your God-given ground. But the Word of the Lord says stand your ground! It’s your hill and you’ve got to defend it (see the story of Shammah in 2 Samuel 23). The Lord will strengthen you. God will not fail.
Secondly—and equally importantly—put on every piece of God’s armour. There’s more to it than just wielding a sword! Paul explains:
- The belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. These are the pieces that keep everything else in place. They are akin to our spiritual integrity.
- The shoes of peace. This tells me that although we are to be battle-ready against the devil, when it comes to our daily conduct our steps should always be peaceful.
- The shield of faith. The shield stops the fiery arrows of the invisible enemy—those wild thoughts and feelings that seemingly come from nowhere and nail you—that are a test from the unseen world.
- The helmet of salvation. This is a very important part of our PPE and not to be forgotten—after all, it’s the joy of our salvation! It helps us with the battle of the mind, keeping us clear of doubt and fret. It’s the assurance of God’s work in us and the fruit he’s developing in your life.
- The sword of the spirit. This is God’s Word. His Word transforms our battle from the defensive to the offensive. It is how we stand battle-ready and election-sure. We are able to bring these things to an end with the sword of the spirit.
Paul brings some context to our daily struggles in the following text:
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:9-10, NLT)
Let me leave you with this thought: Covid-19 may have you feeling knocked down, but you are not knocked out! God is working something greater in these times. Whatever you are facing, whatever trials you’re enduring, you are not alone. God is right there with you. You may be locked down, but you’re not destroyed.
© 2020 Chip Kawalsingh / Harvest City Church