If you’ve been around Christian circles for awhile you’ve probably heard the “spiritual warfare” conversation. Maybe you’ve even thrown your theories into the fray. I know I certainly have. And right now, with the world in the mess we’re experiencing around us, the conversation has only grown more heated. Today, I’m not certain my POV on our battle has always been the right one. In fact, my point of view on the “spiritual warfare” conversation has grown up a bit lately.
The Message Bible has the right idea. Today we are battling a massively corrupt culture, surrounded by warped philosophies and firm barriers erected against the truth of God’s Word.
“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”2 Corinthians 10:3-6
So, what exactly is our battle?
Greek scholar, J.B. Phillips puts it this way in his translation of 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds.“
Our battle is not about that nail we drove over on our way to the store; which caused a flat tire, which wrecked our schedule and brought on a wretched mood, which initiated a pity-party for the rest of the day. NO! That battle was, more than likely, NOT the devil! That battle was, more than likely, caused by driving over a random nail. But instead of taking those loose thoughts and emotions into account, recognizing that a flat tire is part of our normal human life, or considering the possibility of a schedule change being a blessing from God in disguise, we blame the devil and misfire the weapons of our warfare!
Think about this: nowhere in scripture do we find God telling us “Hey, go and fight this battle yourself. You’re on your own.”
“Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Fear not, and be not dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s. ‘” _2 Chronicles 20:14-16 (RSV)
Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerub′babel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerub′babel you shall become a plain; and he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” _Zechariah 4:6-9 (RSV)
He said, “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Eli′sha prayed, and said, “O Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Eli′sha. _2 Kings 6:16-18 (RSV)
All your brilliant wisdom and clever insight will be of no help at all if the Lord is against you. You can do your best to prepare for the battle, but ultimate victory comes from the Lord God. _Proverbs 21:30-31 (TPT)
Victory, in most if our daily battles, comes when we recognize the circumstances of our normal human life. Winning spiritual battles comes when we identify the enemy, resist his attacks, and then take the initiative against him.
Our nation has known many wars, but Vietnam was an especially frustrating campaign. Thick jungle terrain made the enemy hard to find and guerrilla warfare made him hard to fight. Many Vietnamese who peacefully worked the rice paddies by day donned the black garb of the Viet Cong soldier by night and invaded unsuspecting U.S. forces camped nearby. American public opinion was strongly anti-war and morale among our troops was often low. Spiritual warfare has similar parallels. Subtly and deceitfully, satan disguises himself as an angel of light and “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). His emissaries disguise themselves as apostles of Christ and servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:13-15). It takes wisdom and spiritual discernment to identify them and defend yourself against their attacks.
Many living in our world today are defenseless, however, because they scoff at the supernatural and deny the reality of God and/or spiritual warfare. Most unbelievers think of the demonic as being a fine genre for movie plots and book sales, but assume only the superstitious and credulous take him seriously. Unfortunately, many Christians have succumbed to their point of view and forsaken the battle.
Ephesians 6:10-24 reminds believers that spiritual warfare is real and that God has given us all the resources we need, not only to defend ourselves, but also to take the initiative and win the victory over the forces of darkness.
Jesus won Our battle!
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. _Revelation 1:17-18 (RSV)
We Have Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, _Ephesians 1:3 (RSV)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. _2 Peter 1:3-4 (RSV)
We Can Stand on His Finished Work
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. _Ephesians 6:11-13 (RSV)
Don’t Forget Your Armor
Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance,Ephesians 6:14-18
- Truth – Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life
- Righteousness – 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Peace – Luke 1:79
- Faith – Romans 10:17
- Salvation – Acts 2:21
- The Word Of God – Hebrews 4:12
- The Spirit Of Christ – John 14:16
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.James 1:5