We wrestle against the rulers of the darkness of this world

A little bit ago I wrote about trusting God. I indicated that we who call ourselves Christians should remember that there is a God in Israel, who won’t do our work for us, but will strengthen and increase our efforts to the point that miracles can be accomplished.

I’d like to follow up on that theme a little.

My examples for that post used stories of courageous soldiers and battles from the Bible. Those stories are inspiring and meaningful.

There are other great examples from the Book of Mormon, particularly Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty:

In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children

Captain Moroni wrote those words to remind people what it was that people needed to fight for. What was at stake. Why it was so important for people to risk their very lives in battle–to preserve these ideals.

Isn’t it still just as important?

The nature of the wars and battles are certainly different–we are not fighting other armies.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Our challenges are not as straight-forward as a mighty army intent on our destruction. Our time is not as much like Captain Moroni’s as it is like a generation or so later. Actually, President Benson mentioned this in a talk he gave in 1987:

The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming.

So what was life like at that time? There were secret bands scattered throughout the nation, seeking (and gaining) positions of power. Corrupt judges ruled the land. Righteousness was looked down on and mocked.

Sound familiar?

President Benson expanded on this in 1988:

I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world.

President Packer in 2007:

Atheists and agnostics make nonbelief their religion and today organize in unprecedented ways to attack faith and belief. They are now organized, and they pursue political power. You will be hearing much about them and from them. Much of their attack is indirect in mocking the faithful, in mocking religion.

Ideas, philosophies, slogans, ridicule, misunderstanding. These are our enemy today. These are what we must fight. These ideas are not new. Immorality is not new. Faithlessness is not new.

I am reminded of the scene in Ben-Hur, where the retiring commander demands, “How do you fight an idea?” and is given the response, “With another idea.”

We have another idea. It also is not new. It is tried and tested and true.  The armor of God; the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through Him miracles can and do happen.

Through Him we can quench the fiery darts of the adversary. “The righteous need not fear.” We may not be able to solve every problem or right every wrong, but as we stand for the right, we can make a difference. We can have that faith that there is a God in Israel, who will guide and encourage us and magnify our efforts.

When our time in mortality is complete, what experiences will we be able to share about our own contribution to this significant period of our lives and to the furthering of the Lord’s work? Will we be able to say that we rolled up our sleeves and labored with all our heart, might, mind, and strength? Or will we have to admit that our role was mostly that of an observer?

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2014

 

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them. A long history of inspired voices… point you toward the path of Christian discipleship. It is a strait path, and it is a narrow path without a great deal of latitude at some points, but it can be thrillingly and successfully traveled, “with … steadfastness in Christ, … a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” In courageously pursuing such a course, you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall.

Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2014

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