Earlier this week, I was inspired by one of my daily Bible passages. I had been praying that the Lord might remove me from some of my conflict or somehow make the conflict easier for me as I was feeling discouraged and wanting better for myself and thinking that I shouldn't have to suffer hardship, unfair treatment and insults. I was directed to Ephesians chapter 6 where there is a discussion about our role as Christians in the face of conflict:
Verses 10 -20 -Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
I was struck to my core. Could it be possible that God intends for me to be in the midst of conflict, not with people but against the sin that pervades our choices. Is it perhaps God's plan for me to stand firm in the midst of conflict and opposition rather than being removed from it or have my battleground moved to a more pleasant location? It gave me courage to go out into my days this week knowing that I belong to the Lord and my strength and power come from him as well as my provision. I have all that I need to stand firm in my circumstances if only I will get dressed. I certainly cannot stand without my armour.
I like Paul's last request as well. To pray that his may be bold in his proclaimation of the gospel. Isn't that the point? We are not in this battle for our own purposes, but God will edify us to stand as the battle gets more challenging; and it does get more challenging. Without conflict we might grow complacent. In conflict we know we have to drop to our knees in humble acknowledgement of our need of supernatural power to make it through.
I don't know how my battles are going to end, all I know is that I am on the right side and the side that will be victorious in the end. I want the same as Paul requested. Prayer for strength and wisdom in my words and actions that I might be bold in my stand for Christ and that when people see me they will know that my faith is not something casual or optional, but it is my life. Jesus is my Lord and I must serve him.
If you have gotten this far in my blog, let me also confess that while I know all this in my head, it's application in my conversation and my choices is very difficult. I was feeling very downtrodden this morning and without courage. I know I cannot stand alone, but I also know I don't have to as my God has provided me a way to stand against self pity, temptation, bitterness and has given me weapons to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy that come through the people I am given in this mission here. O Lord God, may your name be glorified today as we serve you!