“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” Ephesians 6.12
In the christian fiction the Circle Series books by Ted Dekker, the spiritual is seen. The angels and demons (given different names in the book) are present. The followers of Elyon (God) worship him and are drown in the red waters (baptism) to wash away the scabs (physical manifestation of sin) from their bodies. What typically is invisible is visible. What is unseen is seen. In this book the physical become spiritual as people either live a sacrificial life for Elyon or a selfish love for themselves. (https://www.goodreads.com/series/42507-the-circle).
I begin this section because we are beginning to talk about the spiritual battle we all face yet many of us fail to notice. We often believe our illnesses, depressive state, and general weariness is only physical. We believe our temptation to sin, to live for the flesh and to think unholy thoughts is only because of our own sinfulness and depravity. And yet, there is another element at work here. The battle for the souls of men and women is not just against what we see, but it is against the unseen world, the unseen spiritual realm.
After Jesus was baptised he was sent out into the desert by the Spirit and there he was tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights. The first confession that “Jesus is Lord” comes in the gospels but not from a religious leader, a faithful Jew, or innocent child — it is proclaimed by a demon. The number one problem of faithfulness in this world can’t all be blamed on our own weak flesh — we are fighting an enemy who loves to kills, steal and destroy.
And so Paul says, “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.” Whereas this should make us aware, it should not scare us. It’s not like the God we follow has been defeated. Jesus overcame sin, death, the devil, and our own brokenness. He conquered evil upon a cross and now through the blood of Christ, we have redemption.
Yet its important to remember that we are in a battle. We are in THE battle for the souls of humanity. Our daily lives are interrupted by demonic forces (most subtle) nudging us to leave God, to make our own decisions, to run into sin. But we are not alone, we have a Helper, the Holy Spirit. We have the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of God the Father living in us. We have the armor of God and angelic protections around us. And we have the Word of God to strengthen us. We are in this fight and we have the tools not just to overcome but to thrive.
However, do not be unaware. The devil is like a roaring lion looking for whom to devour but Jesus is the Lion from the Tribe of Judah, our strong tower, our mighty Shepherd, our loving God. He is with you. Acknowledge him. Lean into him. Pray to him. Call upon the name of the Lord for everyone who does will be saved. Which means, you will find victory both today and in the days to come.
“O Lord God, I know I am in thick of the battle. I’ve never been more centralized in your plan to renew and restore the church. I am seeing great fruitfulness from multiple ministries, all making disciples and growing your Kingdom. Your Spirit is alive and well. And still the flaming arrows of the enemy come my way. Rescue us God! Save us from defeat! Help us know the truth of your Word and to live according to your Spirit. I place my trust in you. I love your name. I seek your face. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen