11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
“Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh…”
Not against the KKK or BLM. Not against Right or Left, Christian or Muslim, Democrat or Republican. Rather, “against the cosmic powers of this present darkness.” All humans have within them the seeds of dark and light, good and evil, virtue and sin. All humans have freedom of will as a gift from God, but that this is just our starting point. Much of that freedom is chipped away by genetic predisposition, upbringing, social status and all of the many influences upon us as we grow. If all we know, all we learn from our family and our neighborhood and our schools is that we are doomed to live a certain way, then we will have very little actual freedom of will, because we will believe the lies we are told, because the people who are telling them also believe those lies, which they heard from their predecessors, and so on and so on.
Lies that are repeated frequently enough are eventually seen as truth. If you are a redhead, and you have been told all your life that redheads have hot tempers, chances are really good that you will exhibit a temper. If you are told your whole life that the best you can hope for is a job as a janitor or a fast food worker, you are not likely to try to do any better. You might, but chances are pretty much against it. And that’s evil - the spiritual force of evil, the cosmic powers of this present darkness.
Our struggle is not against an evil person or organization. Our struggle is against evil itself. It is against the powers that teach us to believe that we aren’t good enough, or that we are better than anyone else. It is against the idea that some people are better than other people just because of where then come from. These ideas do not come from God, but from those who have chosen not to follow in God’s ways, who have chosen not the path of love.
Evil is real, y’all. It is alive and well and strong, and is an infection every bit as dangerous and deadly as the pandemic.
God of love and goodness, we would put on your armor to shield ourselves from the evil that is in the world. We know that we have it within us, and ask you to help us guard ourselves. Do not let us fall into temptation, we pray, but deliver us from evil. Amen