10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. 11 Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. 12 We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. 13 Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand.14 So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate, 15 and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace.16 Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. (Ephesians 6:10-17, CEB)
I feel like this is a passage we have all heard before. A lot of people use it as a way to fend off the evil spirits. “Oh yeah, you can’t stop me or disagree with me because I’ve got the armor of GOD on.”
The passage lays out all of the different pieces of armor God provides for us and what the armor can protect us from. All of that is nice and dandy, but I’d like to focus on verse 12: “We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.” With all of the tensions that our nation has experienced over the past month and a half and even over the past year, I think many people are forgetting this part of the passage.
“We aren’t fighting against human enemies.”
God is explicitly telling us that other humans are not the problem. Places of authority and “forces of cosmic darkness” are the problem. And just to be clear, the people holding those places of authority are not the problem, the place and situation itself are. We don’t need to put on the armor of God to defend ourselves and our ideals against other people, we need it to defend against the oppression that comes from authoritative ideals. Remember this the next time you disagree with someone. God doesn’t want us to fight them as human beings, after all God did craft each and every one of us, but wants us to guard against those ideals that stray away from what God truly wants from us.