efocused - Playing Dress-up #1
OpeningScripture: Ephesians 6:12
Bible Challenge: Read Ephesians 6:10-20 Every Morning
Spiritual Growth - The Word, Worship, Prayer, Living Generously
Ephesians 6:12 “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.”
A significant concern that I have for the body of Christ inAmerica is that because we relate so much of the Bible to sports analogies to illustrate a point, we have downgraded our intensity from "Life orDeath" to a game.
Many Christians are just coasting, waiting on a participation trophy when Satan is playing for death.
When Paul used the term wrestle, it immediately put an all-encompassing image in his readers' minds. It was the image of life or death in the arenas and the training at the house of combat.
When we say NFL, we don't think of a kid and his brother playing backyard ball. When we read this scripture, we think of two people wrestling, but the readers in Paul's day thought of The Arena and a Palaestra.
Our picture of the armor is more like kids playing dress-up than a mighty warrior in battle.
Wrestle - Greek - pale
To wrestle or hand-to-hand combat.
bitter struggle, intense conflict, to the death
From this word, the Greeks derived the word Palaestra - a famousHouse of combat sports.
Boxers- It wasn't like boxing as you see it today.
· Extremely violent, they were not permitted to fight without helmets, or their heads would be crushed.
· Few lived to retire from their profession; most died in the ring.
· They wore gloves of steel and sharp nails. Some of the steel was serrated, so it was like knives.
· Many of their faces were deformed after a few years of fighting.These men were so powerful that they could kill the average citizen with one punch.
· Wrestlers would wrestle until the death.
· Submission holds didn't stop at a tap-out; they broke arms, legs and crippled their opponents.
· A standard move was to strategically move in behind their opponent and grab the opponent around the waist, pick them up and slam them to the ground on their shoulders and neck to try and break their back.
· Pankratists were a combination of the above, like UFC or a champion of wrestling or boxing.
· Greek - Pan- all
Kratos- power exhibited
· Pankratists - Someone with a massive amount of skill and power; power overall; more power than anyone else.
Why, Pastor, would you use such a graphic and violent description? Christians approach our life n Christ as a game when the devil is playing for keeps, until the death.
It is time to refocus!
By not having a plan, you are planning to fail.
Colossians 2:6 “6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught… 8 See to it that no one takes you captive.
Your plan has got to be to remain in Him. Connected to the power source.
Many Christians are in the house (saved) but are not plugged into the power of the house.
Many people like the idea of victory rather than the actual victory.
We view victory as pleasant when victory is a Fight!
Not fighting to gain but fighting to maintain.
Not to get to victory but from a place of victory.
Many people like the idea of being anointed rather than pressing into the Word, Presence, and Prayer where you receive the anointing.
Genesis 32:28-29 “Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven or contended (Fought - NLT) withGod and with men and have prevailed.” 29 …And there he blessed him.
Genesis 32:24b“And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.”
When you can Wrestle with God, you’ll win every fight with the world.
Genesis 32:26 “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
When you cannot be shaken by God, you will not be shaken by the world.
Genesis 32:28 “Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
"When you can contend with God, you can contend with the attacks of the world."
Many are afraid of the violent fight because they have never tasted victory or have forgotten what victory tastes like.
It is time to refocus and taste victory again.