Flesh and Blood

The reported killing, by US forces in Pakistan,  of Osama Bin Laden is considered by many (including President Obama, who I’m quoting) to be “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda.”

As people gathered outside of the White House chanting USA! USA! last night and as others are no doubt gathering in other places shouting things quite contrary to that sentiment, I find myself needing to remember the difference between a political and military enemies of the country of which I’m a citizen and the ultimate enemy of my eternal home where national citizenship is irrelevant.

There is so much more at stake than personal security which is threatened by fanatical terrorism. There really is.

As some wave banners of national superiority, I am struggling to find words in prayer, asking our Creator God to use even this for His purposes. I live in hope that my brothers and sisters in Pakistan and surrounding countries will put their hope in God alone and not in any military force. I’m praying that God’s Holy Spirit will be poured out and that He will call people to Himself–as He has been doing–through His Word, through dreams, through the faithful witness of the Church.

I wanted to pump my fist in the air as an expression of victory and superiority, but the words “not against flesh and blood” kept echoing in my head until I looked up the passage in Ephesians 6 with that phrase and found recalibration of my thinking in these words.

The Whole Armor of God

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.

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