Ephesians 6:12 says, “We fight not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, powers and spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.” Funny, but sometimes they look just like you. No offense. They also look like me. Let’s agree that we’ll try to remember who it is we fight against, and quit thinking of each other as irksome flesh-eating blood-suckers. Americans have a difficult time believing in evil spirits. We tend to mistake them for syndromes, because it’s really rude to call anyone demon-possessed. In other countries-Haiti, India, and Thailand, for example, the powers of darkness are recognized as very real. Not even questioned. You make a pot of rice for your family, you save some to ward off evil spirits, placing it in that fancy little mail-box thingy outside your house. My Indian friend Minder paid his neighbors 5,000 rupees a week to keep them from casting spells on his mother- until He became a Christian and figured out that His God could beat up their gods. Our fight is against invisibles. That’s tough, but it’s for our own good. If we could see them, we’d pee our pants. Besides, the fact that they’re invisible makes it pretty much God’s job to fight our battles since He’s invisible, too.
Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.
There are no little or big acts of obedience to God. There is simply obedience, or disobedience. I want to categorize things, grade myself on the curve, and gather my Systematic Theological Obedience Equations, but when I glance away from it all, I find Jesus yawning, moving on down the path, one hand fluttering quietly behind Him in my direction, beckoning me to drop what I’m doing and come along. He’s made it pretty clear: “I call you my friends, if you obey my commands.” He wasn’t merely referring to the Top 10 here- obedience is much greater than those- not in burden, but in breadth. “Love God like crazy, BAM- and love others like you do your selfies, BAM, BAM.” Jesus worded it a bit differently, so check it out in the E-Manual. And while you’re at it, take a life-long look, because love is a sticky business- not really feeling like love at all, and when it DOES feel like love, we’d prefer to be tied down with a bucket of earwigs poured on our heads than genuinely demonstrate it to THAT one [insert name of irritating in-laws, out-laws, or you-know-who, here]. Love doesn’t feel loving, for instance, when we discipline our children, knowing they’ll need it again in five minutes, for the next eighteen years. And love doesn’t feel like love when we stand for truth, because to the world, truth is so out-dated, but never in the retro-trendy sense. Oh- and what about this demonstration of love: To confidently speak the name of Jesus, rather than squirm and skirt with vague references to being “spiritual”. Some of us avoid mentioning the name Jesus, as if he’s our embarrassing little brother, sporting Mickey Mouse socks with his leather sandals. Most of the time, love is simply demonstrated in the minuscule: The unspoken forgivenesses to another- “unspoken” as defined by its Latin derivative form: “To shut up about it, already”. I know this: If I’m to going to follow His command to love today, someone must move over, make room, let go and surrender the Big, Important Whatever. Because to obey His command to love, someone must die. And that someone is me.
Our house is for sale, which means everyone at this address is living under the Levitical Law of Realtors. The work is never done. I now know every ding and crumb in this house intimately. Me and my toilets are on first name basis now, and I’m crocheting a sweater from all the spider webs discovered. I became demon-possessed the night before the first showing, scrubbing walls until the sun came up, as stains appeared on every wall. It turned out to be five o’clock (a.m.) shadow. That same day, the realtor had the nerve to run his finger over the inside of my teenage son’s bedroom door frame and show me the dust. “That’s not dust,” I explained, “that’s all that’s left of his favorite gray hoodie from 1997.” I am getting smarter though. Just as we finished dinner the other night, I told John and Tim to remove their socks. We danced, wet rags on our feet, to Tim’s collection of John Lennon music (“Imagine there’s no baseboards, dadadadada, it’s easy if you try, dadadadada…nothing to wipe or dry for….) and got the white tiles looking almost off-white again.
All this to say, a women’s work is never done, and don’t think for a minute yours is either, because living under the law is tyranny. The law says, “Oh- you missed a spot…” And, “Here, let me see your rag for just a moment- aha! I thought so: there IS dust on the top of your garage door opener remote box.”
How wonderful that Jesus from the cross said, “It is finished.” And meant it. Romans 8:2 says,
“…because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death…”
Someone needs to tell the realtors. Does anyone own a riding vacuum cleaner?