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William Shakespeare filled his plays with great spiritual conversations. Many of his characters represent different convictions or philosophies of life. In Hamlet, the character Horatio is a committed naturalistic materialist. He never says those words, but he is a man convinced that the only reality out there is the reality we can see and touch. After a series of strange and supernatural experiences, Hamlet turns to him and says, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Paul says very much the same thing to his church friends in Ephesus to close his letter: “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” (Ephesians 6:12). The struggle we are in is much bigger and much broader than flesh and blood or material things. We struggle against rulers and authorities—large forces at work in the world pulling people apart or pitting people against one another. We are attempting to live for Christ in a world pushed by strong invisible hands—forces of influence driving us away from Jesus. Global politics, cultural trends and economic forces all add up to strong influences from “the powers of this dark world.”
But more than that, there is a spiritual realm where combat is waged. There is spiritual warfare engaged all around us “in the heavenly realms.” We don’t see it, but we do feel and sometimes suffer its effects. Do not fear! Stand firm. There is no name like the name of Jesus to drive darkness out just as forcefully as a lit candle dispels darkness. I once heard a friend teach that we are eager to pray a “hedge of protection” around us, but truly it is the dark forces who are desperate to find protection from the power of Jesus Christ. We ought to simply pray for the name of Jesus to be lifted higher, shine brighter and ring louder to make the demons flee.
We often attempt to win spiritual battles in earthly ways, manipulating the situation or relying on worldly strength. We ought to be winning earthly battles in spiritual ways, relying on prayer and leaning on the power of God. As one pastor says, “At some point, stop talking to God about your problems and talk to your problems about God.” God is greater. God is stronger. God is mightier, over and above any worldly situation we are in.
Come praise Him for that as we gather this Sunday morning to finish our Me to We series!
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