For our struggle is 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. - Ephesians 6:12 NIV
A lot of us grew up during the Cold War. That period after World War II until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It was a time of fear and tension. At times it seemed that war was imminent. We practice "duck and cover" drills in our schools in case of a nuclear attack. As if hiding under a desk would do any good! Living in terror, our system of government taught us their system of government was evil. These two systems
propagated hatred of each other. But, years later, after having met socially and worked with several Russians, I discovered we had been lied to; they had the same qualities I looked for in all my friends -- not the Satan with horns and tail we were led to believe.
Our struggles aren't with people. Most people desire the same things: shelter, food, love, and respect. But the systems created by man with all their flaws are the problem; systems founded on divisiveness, privilege, fear, hate, and greed -- in short, not godly things. These systems delight Satan because he doesn't need to do much. He can sit back and take delight in watching us tear ourselves apart.
There is good news; there is a power more potent than any ruler and authority on earth or hell; that is God. In faithfully following his commandments, we can overcome evil in all its forms by not only hearing and believing but, in doing (yes, I’m back to James 1), putting into practice the example of Jesus Christ. To love the Lord our God with our whole hearts and to love everyone as we love ourselves.
Precious God of peace, we give you thanks for your love. Your perfect love conquers all evil. We confess we do not always act from love but self-interest and fear. As we read and hear the world's news today, help us not become filled with fear but hope. Help us to respond to the powers of evil with your love. May we extend our open arms to all in this hurting world, and may we share our resources and the good news found in Jesus Christ. Amen.