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.
Have you ever hit a place in you Christian life that you feel like you are taking one step forward and two steps back? Would you say of yourself that nothing comes easy for you? When you do get a victory does something almost always come along to steal your joy?
In today’s selected scripture the Apostle Paul talks of a struggle that is common to the Christian experience. There is a resisting force at work in this world that stands in opposition to our attempts at Christian ministry and spiritual growth. This force works to hold you back, hinder your progress, and put you on the sidelines of the faith.
When you are serious about growing in Christ and serving Him, as you should be, you will inevitably encounter this force of opposition. At first glance you may see this force as the troublemakers in the church or a particularly bothersome coworker. As problems and difficulties grow it is only natural to look for someone or something to blame. Paul reminds us that in such times “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” If you are going to be able “to stand” and overcome this opposition it is important that you know who and what you are fighting.
In Ephesians 6:11, Paul identifies the head of this enemy force as the Devil. His evil legions are comprised of rulers… authorities… the powers of this dark world… and…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Paul wants you to understand that this battle cannot be won on a human level for this is a spiritual battle. More importantly, you should recognize that God has equipped you with everything you need for surviving and winning.
Satan’s objective is to thwart the work of Christ through you. He does not want you to grow spiritually and thus become a productive worker for the Lord. His work is devious, deceiving, and devouring. He can make your good work appear evil. He can make you, the good guy, look like the bad guy. When Christians are working together for a common purpose he will seek to disrupt, divide, and destroy. Paul warns us to be prepared to take a stand against “the devil’s schemes.”
Have you been wounded on the battlefield of faith? Have you been sidelined by hurt feelings, disappointment, discouragement, or disillusionment?
Unfortunately, the wounds of battle have taken many Christians out of the game. It causes some to stop their attempts at spiritual growth and others to pull out of Christian service. Is that you? Or, are you at the point where you are considering throwing in the towel? Just remember, when you give up…Satan wins. Paul exhorts us “to stand.” His instruction is to “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.”
God provides each of us with armor and weapons for fighting “the spiritual forces of evil.” Please take time to read the verses 14-18. Here we are told how to stand and fight. Our protective armor consists of “truth,” “righteousness,” “the gospel,” and “faith.” Our offensive weapon is the word of God (“sword of the Spirit”). In verse 18, Paul then admonishes us to “pray.” The battle can only be won with spiritual armor and spiritual weapons since this is spiritual warfare.
You don’t have to be sidelined. You don’t have to lose. God has given you all you need to stand, fight, and win. Lashing back at or trying to get even with people will do nothing to stop the struggle. In fact, such tactics will likely make things worse and you’ll be playing into the enemy’s hands. “Your struggle is not against flesh and blood.” Don’t fight the symptom….fight the cause. This is spiritual warfare.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Thorn of Trouble that Won’t Go Away
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.