For we are the new wine skins of the new wine of the new Covenant as Levi was contrasted at his calling.
I would not say where the greatest manifestation occurs, but it does happen often where the Holy Spirit is present in a community of believers. We must take time to be Holy, whether we are members of a sprawling metropolitan congregation or a tiny rural one or not one at all. That happens through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of all, reaching out to infect others with the love that GOD had for the world that he sent his only begotten son that we might believe and feed on Him.
But how does this happen? The answer is prayer without ceasing. It is possible and practical in today's world to pray without ceasing. It is a state of mind and consciousness about how you and GOD interface. The Lollard's were an excellent example as they were always “lolling” a prayer. We, too, may loll if we have our hearts, souls and minds tuned to GOD and follow the directions for prayerful spiritual tuning.
We are equipped for spiritual protection in warfare if need be and for our own personal focus in the joy and presence of the Lord in our lives. We are offered all the equipment needed for complete domination. Let's metaphorically dress ourselves: we are covered from head to toe in the armor of light that glorifies of the Greatness of God.
Our soul has been washed in the Blood of the Lamb which is the helmet of salvation, for our mightiest foes are invisible, not visible like men. This is fraught with meaning in that we as Christians spend much time fighting with each other who worship One God, as the Prophet Abraham did, and not about the dark forces that oppose us.
We girt our loins with quality of truth and wear the breastplate of the quality of righteousness, as these are two more powerful military metaphors which arm us against the forces of darkness. Light reflects darkness, absorbs everything into a black hole of a bottomless pit set up and designed to trap anyone who has self deception in an eternal tailspin, for GOD is not mocked. To have our loins girt with the quality of truth implies we wear a belt that helps us be prepared to give and move in the quality of truth of Jesus Christ that is firmly established in GOD's Word. This gives more range of motion to the quality of our spirituality. The breastplate of righteousness (attached to the girdle) is a free gift of God given to all at the crucifixion of Jesus and is worn in our combat against the foes of darkness, not man. We have to realize that apart from GOD we may do nothing; that is why righteousness and truth are connected. I believe that wearing this breastplate connected to the girdle allows us to make decisions in our lives and lifestyles that what we believe in our hearts that we may love unfeigned.
We are to shod ourselves with the preparation gospel of peace.
We are shod with the sure foundation of Jesus Christ.
And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base. Zechariah 5:11 KJV and here it designs a firm and solid knowledge of the Gospel, as it publishes peace by Jesus Christ, which yields a sure foundation for the Christian soldier to set his foot upon, and stand fast on. (Gill's Exposition)
We are to above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. The type of military metaphor here is the type of shield that stood in front of the soldier and covered him completely. St. Paul likens this to faith in GOD being submissive to His will. (Elliot)
This shield protects us from these metaphorical arrows that would cause violent temptations. These fiery darts of temptations faith is said to quench, when, by the help of grace obtained of Christ, it overcomes them. (Poole)
Here we go with the Greek education: Homer used the word shield as a door. Many metaphors and ancient tales have been spun about doorways. However, as we strive to be more spiritual in our daily lives that blocking shield represents a hermitage in which we can formulate ideas in which Thomas Merton said, "Though there are certainly more ways than one of preserving the freedom of the sons of God, the way to which I was called....”
Clearly the "powers" and the "elements," which in Paul's day dominated men's minds through pagan religion or through religious legalism, today dominate us in the confusion and the ambiguity of the Babel of tongues that we call mass-society. Certainly I do not condemn everything in the mass-media. But how does one stop to separate the truth from the half-truth, the event form the pseudo-event, reality from the manufactured image? It is in this confusion of images and myths, superstitions and ideologies that the "powers of the air" govern our thinking - even our thinking about religion! Where there is no critical perspective, no detached observation, or time to ask the pertinent questions, how can one avoid being deluded and confused?
Thomas Merton. Faith and Violence: Christian Teaching and Christian Practice. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968: p. 150.
September 28, 2016