So do not be surprised when the attacks come. Illness, suffering, rejection, misunderstanding, abuse, mockery, despair, wanting to give up… and my particular current bugbear, that horrid creeping apathy like a heavy blanket that gets in the way of actually getting anything done!
Name the attack, by all means, but name the enemy too. ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the powers of this dark world, the spiritual forces of evil’ (Ephesians 6:12)
What to do? Prevention is best, if you can, and that means making sure we spend enough time in our Lord’s company and reading His Word. The harder the attack and the heavier the workload, the more time we need with Him – not just the morning quiet time but coffee time with Jesus, an aperitif of prayer before our midday meal, another duck of the head to check in and re-connect before we get stuck in to work in the afternoon… two or three minutes only, maybe, but each keeps us firmly attached to our Divine Sherpa as we struggle up the mountain!
And of course it helps if we are properly kitted out – in the full armour of God (Ephesians 6:13-17): the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shield of faith… and that sword – the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
Yes, we need pens and paper, printer ink and laptops – all the essential equipment of the writer – but if we are to fulfil our commission - ‘so that when the day of evil [of trial] comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand’ (Ephesians 6:13), the Christian writer needs to be rooted in Christ and kitted out properly.
Paul ends his section of his letter to the Ephesians with a couple of comments about prayer. This is something ACW members are brilliant at. What a weapon against the evil one! Let’s keep having the humility to ask for prayer when we need it (as Paul does- Ephesians 6:19) and making time to keep praying for one another – that we may go on fearlessly, as we should!