Monday, January 11, 2010

Spiritual Warfare for Students

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
--Ephesians 6:13

In Ephesians 6:13, Paul writes that “our [emphasis added] struggle … is against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Note the use of the word our: to whom does our refer? Since this passage appears in a letter to the Church at Ephesus, it seems self-evident that our must refer to the community of believers. And this concept is important to understanding the place of spiritual warfare in the life of the believer.

It can be argued that most of the evil work that Satan and his minions do here on earth is not directed toward the unsaved, who by definition are already under his dominion, already following “the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2).

Of what use would it be, therefore, for the enemy to direct spiritual attack toward the unsaved? It seems clear from passages concerning spiritual warfare that spiritual attack is an experience primarily of the saved. The enemy of our soul tries to make the lives of believers miserable, creating tensions within marriages and families, conflict between parents and children, splits within churches, setbacks for ministries just as they begin to flourish, and so on—all in an effort to tarnish the example that the Body of Christ presents to an unbelieving world.

The educational environment is no exception. We live in an age where, in public schools and secular universities, relativism rules. School prayer is illegal, in the name of separation of church and state. Displaying a nativity scene is forbidden—and yet, oddly enough, Halloween observances are encouraged. Teaching evolution is mandated, yet efforts to present intelligent design as an alternative are either silenced or, even worse, ridiculed.

The longer they spend in secular settings, the greater the challenges Christian students encounter to the tenets that Christian parents and churches strive to instill. While Christian education isn’t the only way—and should never be the sole means—of equipping students for the challenges to their faith and spiritual attacks they will inevitably face, it can be an important resource in developing a solid, scriptural foundation.

Disciplined, daily, guided Bible study in an academic setting from elementary school through 12th grade—not to mention an overall academic environment that encourages application of scriptural principles to all fields of study—is an immense help in developing a spiritually renewed, biblically thinking mind. Help during youth in developing a grounding in scripture gives students a special advantage in fulfilling the command to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” (Ephesians 6:14). It’s an advantage that stays with them for a lifetime.

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