Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6: 10-18:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that our “struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” I wonder how often we have read over this passage from the book of Ephesians and not fully realized exactly what Paul is referring to. As believers, we must be equipped to do battle with the supernatural, dark forces of evil that exists in the heavenly realms.

I don’t know about you, but this battle against the spiritual forces of evil seems overwhelming to me. How can we resist or stand against the dark forces of the evil one? How am I, a mere mortal, able to stand against the forces of evil? Paul tells us in the first verse of today’s reading how we are able to do this when we writes, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” It is only by the incredible power of God that we are given the ability to take our “stand against the devil’s schemes.” We are powerless in our own might but with God’s power we can obtain the necessary “armor” to stand our ground against the desires of the evil one.

It’s interesting how the evil one will try to stand in the way of a believer. I had originally tried to write this post over a month ago and each time I came back to it, I was prevented from writing it. Things would occur that made me stop what I was writing or would cause me to lose my concentration and quit. Some people would say that those things just naturally happened, that it had no connection to the spiritual forces of darkness. I would strongly disagree with that assessment. The evil one will do anything to prevent God’s people from carrying out their duties of proclaiming the kingdom. And the evil one comes on especially strong when we publicly oppose him and his evil schemes.

In the book of Daniel, we are given a glimpse of the powerful nature of these spiritual forces of evil. Daniel 10:12-13: Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. The NIV study Bible notes that this was apparently a demon exercising influence over the Persian realm in the interests of Satan. His resistance was finally overcome by the archangel Michael, “the great prince who protects” the people of God (Daniel 12:1). [1]

In his book, Destined for the Throne, Paul Billheimer writes about the battle of spiritual warfare that is being waged in our daily lives. Bellheimer writes that the primary way to overcome this spiritual battle is through prayer. Sadly he writes that we are just “too busy to pray.” On this topic of prayer he also writes, “No angel was ever invited to share this high privilege (prayer). No archangel was ever invited into the throne room of the universe. Only redeemed humanity. And many of us are too busy – watching television, following sports, hunting and fishing, bathing and boating, engaging in farming or business. We are so busy with the cares and pleasure of this life, trying to keep up with trends in new cars, new homes, new appliances, new furniture, that we do not have time to pray. If you can buy the new car, the new home, the new furniture, the new gadgets, hold down two jobs, and so on, for the glory of God – well and good. But if we didn’t have to have such a high standard of living would we not have more time to pray?” [2]

The Apostle Paul reminds us to “put on the full armor of God” so that we will be able to stand up against and resist the evil forces that exist solely to separate us from God and his plan for redeeming mankind. The Apostle Paul also reminds us to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

James 4: 7-8a: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.



[1]Zondervan NIV study Bible, p. 1335

[2] Destined for the Throne, Paul E. Billheimer, p. 52-53

 

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