"Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]." Ephesians 6:13
Cognitive Dissonance. I'd never heard of it until last week. It's a psychological term which is an assumption that an individual is seeking consistency between their reality and their expectations and they're confronted with information which is inconsistent with their beliefs. Imagine a person moving and building a house right by a dam. When they build it, they know that there's a chance of the dam breaking, but they don't believe it ever will. Now imagine a warning going out that the dam is about to burst. I'm told that people who live three miles away will be panicked. People two miles away will be freaked out. But people who live closest to the dam will not be concerned. That's cognitive dissonance. They can't line up their reality with what they've expected.
Paul was in prison. But from prison, he told us to get in the battle. It's not a battle against one another. Any general will tell you that the first thing you need to be able to identify in any battle is your enemy. Our battle is against the enemy of God...Satan and his demons. Ephesians tells us that we are to stand against the deceit and strategies of the enemy. That takes an awareness, an alertness and a willingness to get in the battle. Paul urges his friends to pray that he'll have boldness and courage from prison to preach the gospel! That's not a picture of someone experiencing cognitive dissonance. He's engaged and alert.
You've probably seen this on Facebook, but I thought it was appropriate to share here. We're told to gird up our loins for the battle. It's getting fully ready for action. It's the act of a warrior. We're to put on the whole armor of God (please take the time to read about each piece!) and take up our sword and shield. We're to engage the enemy! We're not to get so overwhelmed with the crisis that we become frozen in place. It's easy to get to the place in a crisis where you think, "What can I do? I can't change anything!" The battle can be intense and wearing. But it says when we've done all we can do...stand firm. Stand your ground! Don't give the enemy territory which belongs to you. Pray at all times, keep alert, and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, Paul says.
I can tell you from the battles I've been engaged in recently, that it's so easy to lose perspective. I think that's why people who live closest to the dam become unconcerned. They don't have others giving them a broader perspective or warning them. I don't know how I would have walked through some of the battles I've faced recently without friends who were praying, encouraging, and shouting when they saw the enemy coming towards me! They were engaged in the battle with me. When you read about the armor in Ephesians, there's nothing to cover the back. That's because it's expected that you'll have fellow warriors who will "have your back." We need one another. Which reminds me of this verse:
"Not forsaking neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
The day is approaching. Gear up! Put your armor on and be prepared to engage in the battle. If there's no battle in your life, cover a friends' back. Use the sword of the Spirit! Pray fervently for one another. Meet together and encourage and warn one another. I can tell you that we're going to face many battles...but God is going to win the war!
Stand firm, fellow warrior!