Daily Verse – Struggle.

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 NIVUK

In this verse the Apostle Paul is teaching, and reminding, believers that our world and lives are more complicated than we think.

Before becoming believers we were purely physical beings and existed in a world of physical situations and challenges.

Now, as believers, we have had the spiritual connection, which Adam and Eve originally possessed, put back into place through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

This spiritual ‘refit’ brings us to a new life but a life which also has it’s own unique set of circumstances.

When I read through this verse this morning I got stuck on the ‘struggle’.

The Greek word used is palé and occurs only in this verse in the whole of the New Testament.

Translated mostly as ‘struggle’ it derives from the word ‘pallo’ which means wrestling or to wrestle.

Often our struggles are very much like a wrestling match. We are in the grip of an issue or problem and we are trying to pull away or overpower the ‘thing’.

I am reminded again of the story of Jacob wrestling the Angel of the Lord, mentioned in yesterday’s Daily Verse.

Jacob saw and understood our lives/world is much more complicated than we often care to consider.

We can struggle creatively as well.

Creativity is a mental and physical experience.

Even creatives who are not believers will refer to their practice as often being a spiritual process.

Recognising and making connection with the spiritual can still mean we struggle or wrestle – with doubts, with processes, with realising that physical form of the mental idea.

If we wrestle like Jacob we will become stronger in our spiritual lives and creative practices.

Daily Verse – Inwardly Renewed

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16 NIVUK

In this verse the Apostle Paul draws attention to the difference between our physical and spiritual presence.

Outwardly we are ‘wasting away’ – we are wearing down or out, our bodies follow the natural process of aging and weaken.

One of the key characteristics I appreciate about Paul is that he is direct and straight with his audience and us.

He doesn’t pull any punches in his assessment of us but, likewise, he then takes us to the other end of the scale, and both can be difficult to digest or come to terms with.

Inwardly – esó – that which is within, the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, is being renewed – anakainoó.

This is the only occurrence of anakainoó in the New Testament, and probably the best way to understand it is with the word ‘renovate’.

Whilst the exterior of us maybe be getting a little more aged and weather worn, inside – the spiritual connection with God – is being renovated – improved, updated, tidied up – day by day!

When times are tough, or our circumstances wear us down, remember that God is always with us and whilst we maybe focused on the outward situation, we are being renovated – adapted, changed, improved – on the inside to match the difficulty.