In God’s Battles

Ephesians 6:  12For 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.”

Much in the Christian walk is counterintuitive, or what we can call a dichotomy.  For instance, Jesus said that the “first would be last, and the last would be first” (Matthew 20:16); and “whoever wants to become great must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26).  Jesus saved one of his most perplexing dichotomies for Peter. After the beautiful reinstatement of Peter (John 21: 15-17), oddly Jesus next tells Peter how he will die (vs. 18).  He will die an old man being dressed and led by others where he does not wish to go.  “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God” (John 21:19).  How can Peter possibly glorify God in such weakness?

Think for a moment of who Peter was.  He was a warrior.  He would be the guy you would pick first to be on your football or rugby team, or virtually any team because he would put his body on the line every day.  He seemed to have no fear and was always the first to step into any situation whether it was walking on water (Matthew 14:28), jumping off a fishing boat (John 21:7), or even being the first to walk into Jesus’ tomb (John 20:6).  When a small army came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane it was Peter who drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the priests.

Peter was a man who was ready to go to battle.  Peter asked, ‘Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’” (John 13:37).  But Jesus knew he was not ready to go to battle for him, because Peter did not understand the difference between dying in battle, and dying to yourself.  It was not until Peter denied Jesus three times (the third time responding to a servant girl), and then breaking down and weeping “bitterly” (Luke 22: 56-62), that Peter became ready for battle.  God knew that He had to break the natural strength of this great man Peter before he could be used as a mighty shepherd of His flock.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

No one can know for certain why God chose such a humbling ending for Peter’s life where he would be dressed and led by others where he did not wish to go, but I feel this would have been symbolic for the New Testament Church which Peter led.  In such a meek place, Peter’s body was frail, but I am certain Peter was a prayer warrior to the end because he would have learned that: “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.”  (Ephesians 6:12).  How about you?  Are you fighting the right battles or relying on your natural strength?  “We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles.”


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply