Fighting The Battle Together
The spiritual armor, that Paul describes, is an illustration from the military uniform of the Roman soldier. Often, believers take the admonition to donn the armor seriously in order to stand firm and resist. However, the soldier in the Roman army never went into battle alone. He was a part of a unit, a division, a cohort, and a legion. They marched and fought as a well oiled machine. Their ability to fight as a whole caused fear in the heart of their enemies. They could fight individually, but they were at their best when they were fighting in unison. They literally had each others back.
The modern, American Christian, lives in isolation from other believers. I know we go to church together, we learn in Sunday School good things, and we even get involved in serving others by giving our time and money. But there seems to be something missing. We wrestle with the deep hurts and temptations of our lives in secret. We are too proud to confess our sin before each other, and we fight genuine accountability. Celebrating blessings is often difficult because we are afraid of being thought too proud. A transformed life is a meditative life lived in concert with other believers. We fight best the Spiritual Battle when we do it together, when have intimate prayer together, when cry together, when strive together, when we seek God together, and when we proclaim His goodness together. This doesn't happen in isolation. This takes effort and defining life changing priorities.
Not everyone will find intimate, authentic, community of value. Our lives are so defined by the neccisity of work and family that we neglect the importance of biblical community. We give our individual time to God, when God would have us find joy in the working of His body in community, and its not just about going to Sunday services. I want to know my brothers and sisters have my back. That doesn't happen accidentally. It happens through living the disciplines of the Christian life in such a way that we stand shoulder to shoulder. It happens when we have God's vision for the world and strive together through prayer and sweat to see God work. It happens when we fight against the evil one's attempts at disunity. It happens as we lift each other in life giving prayer. I am so glad I don't have to resist the Devil by myself. I'm just saying....