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THE VICTORIOUS WRESTLER.
By Ruth Paxon.
“For we wrestle 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” (Eph.6 v12).
The letter to the Ephesians does not end with the ninth verse of the sixth chapter, but continues, “Finally, be strong in the Lord”, which opens up to us the truth regarding the Christian’s warfare. This is the consummation of revelation in this epistle.
No true Christian is exempt from this warfare. He who fully possesses his inheritance in Christ (ch.1 v11) and is walking worthily (ch.4 v1) is then expected to engage in the spiritual warfare going on in the heavenlies (Eph.6 v12). God has no place for a spiritual pacifist. He calls every saint to arms.
But God has a divine order which cannot be reversed. It is utter folly for a Christian to rush into warfare with the mighty, supernatural, Satanic hosts, unless he can creditably pass God’s efficiency test so clearly outlined in Eph.6 v1-6 &9.
To war with Satan one must be walking with the Spirit. Therefore it behoves us, who propose to be wrestlers, to watch our walk.
Paul, himself a tried and trusted warrior, by two crisp commands warns of two vulnerable spots which open to Satan the way of victory through crippling the Christian in spiritual warfare. Then by a third he exhorts every Christian to perfect his preparedness for warfare.
1. “Neither give place to the Devil” (Eph. 4 v27).
Giving place to the Devil gives Satan headquarters in Christ’s camp. It provides him a base from which to conduct his campaign. Giving place to the Devil makes a part of Christ’s army an ally of His archenemy.
Giving place to the Devil lessens the man power of the Lord’s host and surrenders to Satan spiritual resources which belong only to the Captain of our salvation. It compels Christ to go out to war handicapped. It weakens the warring power of omnipotence. It diminishes the working force of the supernatural. Giving place to the Devil divides allegiance and puts traitors and deserters into the army of the Lord.
So the Devil is ceaselessly busy seeking to gain some place in the life of every Christian wrestler. He will start with a very small place, anything so long as he gains a foothold. He knows our weak spots. He comes up on our blind side. He breaks through where the crust is thinnest. He bides his time until he can take us unawares. He tempts at our most susceptible points. He works cunningly, arch-deceiver that he is, to beguile us into making a league with him. To the truly spiritual warrior he comes most often as a veritable angel of light, even ensnaring some by claiming to be an envoy from God. He uses any method, however clever or cruel to gain access, and does his best to disguise his approach. What he seeks to gain is a place to begin his activities, that he may undermine the Christian warrior’s morale and render him incapable of fighting.
2. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4 v30).
One who might shrink with horror and fear from giving place to the Devil may nevertheless be making his victory in the heavenlies possible by grieving the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us to reproduce within us the victorious life of the glorified Christ that we may be enabled “to stand”, and to release through us His supernatural power that we may be empowered “to withstand”. Whatever restrains or restricts the Holy Spirit from carrying out His work to His utmost capacity plays into Satan’s hands to defeat Christ’s servant.
Then what is it in us that grieves the Holy Spirit? Anything unholy. Whatever in us that is contrary to what He is, grieves Him. He is the Spirit of truth, faith, grace, wisdom, power, love, discipline, holiness, so anything that is untruthful, unbelieving, ungracious, unwise, unfruitful, unloving, uncontrolled, unholy, grieves the Spirit of God. Therefore sin of any nature or degree, whether open or secret, whether in flesh or spirit, whether gross or refined, grieves the Holy Spirit.
3. “Be Filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5 v18).
This is the slogan of the victorious wrestler. It is the Spirit-filled warriors who overcome and overthrow the Satanic hosts. Filled with the Spirit’s wisdom (Eph. 1 v17) they discern the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6 v11). Filled with the Spirit’s power (Eph. 3 v16) they stand against them. Filled with all the Spirit’s fullness (Eph. 3 v19) they are supernaturally equipped to engage in this warfare between the supernatural forces of good and evil and are supernaturally strengthened to become the victors.
Wherefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand your ground in the day of battle, and having fought to the end, remain victors on the field (Eph. 6 v13).