by Ella Corey
“In a new propaganda video released Sunday by ISIS, the militant group claims to have beheaded over a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on a Libyan beach,” says CNN’s Breaking News article. The persecution of Christians had seemed so distant… until now. It’s on our televisions, in our newspapers, on our twitter feeds. As this extremist group grows, American Christians are becoming more and more afraid.
This fear is definitely appropriate. With news of Christians being killed on the other side of the world, it is so easy to feel alarmed by what could potentially happen to our loved ones or even us. Our lives are at stake, and death is a scary thing to think about. Our initial reaction is to protect ourselves; to build up our National Defense and buy more weapons for our home in case we are invaded. We spew hateful comments about Muslims because an extreme distortion of their people have hurt and offended our people. We don’t necessarily act Christ-like, but that doesn’t matter because we have a rightful fear: a fear for our lives.
However, Paul argues that there is something bigger to fear than physical death: Spiritual Death. In Ephesians 6:12 he says, “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.” If this fear causes us to compromise our faith, maybe we need to reevaluate what our faith means, and the importance of our salvation. The devil so easily can convince us that our lives on earth are more important than eternal life.
So distinctly I remember watching Bibleman as a child. I would sit on the floor of the family room, sipping my apple juice as the VCR blared on our television. It all started the same way. Bibleman enters a machine that puts together his outfit: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. Of course, after just a few episodes I had all of these elements memorized. Although, at age 7 I did not know much about what these elements actually meant, and how necessary they would be throughout my whole entire life.
The creators of Bibleman got this list from the Full Armor of God stated in Ephesians 6. The real things we have to fear are found in the powers of darkness. Satan can convince you that your faith is not worth your earthly suffering, that your eternal reward cannot possibly be enough. I want to encourage you to drown out those noises. Remember your Full Armor of God and use this to defend your faith against darkness. Stand strong in truth and faith.
Pastor Rick Warren elaborates on this in his sermon series titled “The Invisible War.” “I read today that by the time our troops are completely withdrawn from Afghanistan, we will have been fighting there for 13 years – making it America’s longest war in history,” says Warren. “But you are involved in an even longer war. It is the war against you. It is an unseen war that we call spiritual warfare.” Over the next few weeks I will be elaborating on how to defend yourself in this war, using the Full Armor of God. We are attacked in ways we would not expect, but God has equipped us with the skills to protect ourselves.