I would like to share a follow-up thought or two on what I was blogging about last week- the law of unintended consequences. Again the law of unintended consequences states that for every action there is a reaction (usually negative) and that reaction is generally unequal to the original action. I believe one of the reasons this law is in place is because of the intense spiritual warfare that we are mostly unaware of that is going on all around us. As our society has become more and more secular it is easy for even Christian people to be conformed to the thinking and acting of this secular, godless society. That’s why we should never forget the warning of Paul in the 6th chapter of Ephesians where Paul tells us “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (v. 12 KJV).
Paul had repeatedly seen this spiritual warfare occurring as he went about planting churches under the energy and power of the Holy Spirit. In Antioch in Pisidia in the 13th chapter of Acts God’s spirit was doing amazing things through Paul and Barnabas. The Word says “and the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the Word of God” (v.44 KJV). But right away the enemies of the gospel (the religious folks) are filled with envy and try to stop the work of Christ (v.45). In the next chapter we see the same pattern. In Acts 14 Paul is preaching in Lystra when he takes time out from his preaching to heal a man crippled from birth. The people begin to immediately worship Paul as Mercury and Barnabas as Jupiter, totally distorting the work of the Holy Spirit (v.12-13). When Paul and Barnabas realize what is happening they are horrified (v.14-15). Again Satan took what was a great work of the Holy Spirit and distorted and perverted that work. And only a few days later those same religious folks from Antioch come and persuade the people to turn against Paul. In a matter of days Paul goes from being worshipped as a god to being stoned and left for dead (v. 19-20). Not because he was out of the will of God but because he was directly in the center of the will of God.
This concept of spiritual warfare is again seen in the 10th chapter of 2nd Cor. where Paul writes “for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds), casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (v.3-5 KJV). We will not win this spiritual warfare by outsmarting or outmuscling the devil or the flesh. Our weapons must be divinely empowered if we are to win this spiritual warfare. I like the King James Version word “strongholds”. Strongholds are negative thought and action patterns that have been burnt into our lives by repeated habits or some significant traumatic experience in our past. We cannot fight these “strongholds” on the level of human ingenuity or ability but only by walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
One of the key verses we need to practice in our church life and personal lives is found in the 4th chapter of the book of Colossians. Here Paul writes “Walk in wisdom toward them that are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (v. 5-6 KJV). Let us always take a moment to apply this Scripture in situations that can be divisive knowing that we struggle not against flesh and blood (or one another) but that Satan is doing all he can to divide and conquer. Shalom!
All for Christ,