Donning a different kind of armor
The editor is taking a few days off and asked me to share a few thoughts in today’s column.
The news this week has been largely focused on blood, violence, war and persecution. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to terrorize and kill religious minorities in Iraq. Since ISIS’s siege of Mosul in early June, media sources have noted the slow restraint of these extremists. On Aug. 18, Kurdish fighters aided by American air support recaptured Mosul Dam, a crucial source for electricity in Mosul. Read about another Islamist group in Libya here.
Ferguson, Mo., has also been a place of violence. Looting and vandalism has risen from protesters since the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old shot by police officer Darren Wilson. Southern Baptist church planters in metro St. Louis mobilized 100-200 people to clean up embattled Ferguson before participating in a prayer service at First Baptist Church of Ferguson. Read the story here.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been a stereotypical scene known for the week’s lewd activities. Yet from Aug. 4-10, the "devil’s playground" witnessed 513 professions of faith, tripling those recorded in 2013.
In the midst of persecution, chaotic riots and rough-and-tough lifestyles, timely words are to be heard from Paul: “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” (Eph. 6:12).
Our first response may be to hate the ISIS extremists coercing the Iraqi people; we may also express our disgust of the violent events in Ferguson; and we may even withdraw from “those people” who need Jesus most.
But our first response should be prayer. For “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” but against domineering, yet already defeated spiritual powers. Brothers and sisters, let us don a different kind of armor this week.
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