By Robert Martin, reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.
The workplace is not a place we commonly associate with spiritual warfare. But maybe we should given the passionate exhortation the Apostle Paul makes at the end of the book of Ephesians, where he writes in 6:10:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Paul is encouraging believers to be strong in the Lord and in his power in all situations in life – of which our lives at work would no doubt be included. He then outlines what being strong in the Lord entails and this is being aware of the spiritual forces opposed to the work of God in the world. He encourages believers in verses 11-12 to stand in the faith and to.
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.
The notion of a “spiritual” dimension is somewhat foreign to our materialistic anti-spiritual Western culture in Australia today. Our culture very much sees the world as simply “flesh and blood,” explained solely through scientific empirical investigation and is suspicious of any interaction with any unseen transcendent force or reality. Yet Paul here warns of an unseen battle with real, mysterious, evil, spiritual forces.
I met a witch doctor in South Africa many years ago who had been converted to the Christian gospel. I asked him, now you’re a Christian, what do you make of your previous experience as a witch doctor? He said to me, “just because I am now a Christian doesn’t mean that the spiritual world I consulted before isn’t real.” He went on to say that we in our materialistic, Western countries were completely oblivious to spiritual forces at work in the world.
Hence Paul, fully aware of the reality and dangers of this spiritual dimension, exhorts believers to “stand firm” with the full armor of God against the “flaming arrows of the evil one.”
We’re not precisely sure what these flaming arrows are – maybe they’re temptations, doubts, uneasy or uncertain feelings or thoughts. Yet whatever they are, they are challenges which impact us and our faith.
The flaming arrows of the evil one at work, or in the workplace may manifest themselves in a variety of forms. There may be temptations to make questionable ethical decisions, pursue inappropriate relationships, or it may be the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things. Or it might be the desire to be liked by non-Christian colleagues, fit in and hence doubt the truth of the Christian message. Or perhaps when we’re working at home, the flaming arrows might be the distractions of laziness, or Netflix or other things.
Whatever the particular “flaming arrow,” may we be reminded of the encouragement to stand, put on the armor of God, keep ourselves immersed in the scriptures, pray in the spirit and may we live lives at work with integrity and focus, always serving the Lord and being strong in his mighty power.
Prayer: Father, we recognize that there is a spiritual battle in our world. Help us to stand strong in you and through your mighty power to resist the flaming arrows of the evil one. We thank you that Jesus has triumphed over the devil, and so today, may you deliver us from the evil one. In Jesus’ name. Amen.