Thursday, January 28, 2016

Defining Epic, And Choosing Your Weapons Wisely

Think about the epic, superpower showdown that took place in the wilderness between Jesus and Satan.

Matthew 4:1-11:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 
And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 
But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" 
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 
Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" 
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
This was one of the most epic showdowns ever. Consider the cosmos-shaking power and weaponry at the disposal of the Son of God and the Prince of Darkness. The two most powerful beings to ever walk the earth. And yet, if you tried to portray this battle cinematically, there would be no mixed martial arts, no light sabers, no blasting each other around in the wilderness with Jedi or Sith hand thrusts dispensing the power of The Force, no wizard staffs, no red laser beams shooting from their eyes, no pyrotechnics, no nuclear explosions.

The uber firepower utilized that day was in the form of words. Three times the Dark Lord uttered deceitful, crafty words intended to upend the cosmos (after all, it worked the first time). Three times the Prince of Light parried with the seemingly pedestrian reply, “It is written." But these were not just any words. They were omnipotently powerful words. The words of the One who spoke the cosmos into being.

No wonder the armor of God includes the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. If that is God's weapon of choice, we would do well not to downgrade its potency.

Ephesians 6:10-14, 17:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore ... and take ... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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