We are in a spiritual warfare.
St. Paul writes, “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) St. Peter confirms this by saying “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”(I Pt.5:8) Don’t ever discount these warnings. The devil is a real enemy seeking to destroy all that God created for good.
Much of the evil we see around us in the world is due to the lying influence of Satan and his demonic spirits. I know we don’t like to think this way, and most of the “modern enlightened” world discounts the reality of the devil and his influence. Nonetheless, it is very real, and the source of much of what we see taking place. Think seriously about this before you dismiss it out of hand.
From before creation, when Lucifer, the glorious archangel, heard the plan of God to create mankind, his pride led him to rebel and do everything possible to destroy this new work of God. After all, mankind was to be created in the very image of God, and would ultimately be higher than the angels. He could not let that happen. He has been in opposition to God ever since.
A defeated foe:
God will complete all that He intended for mankind. He provided redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. At the cross and the empty tomb Satan’s power over death was defeated. However, until Christ’s return, God allows him to test His people, even as He did with Job. Yet, always within the limits God sets. We are tempted by the ways of the world, by our own sinful flesh, and by the influence of the devil. I use the word “influence” because he cannot make us do anything. But he uses lies, half truths, and beautiful images to influence us to sin. He also has influence in all the various rulerships of this world. Paul taught that we are not unaware of his schemes.(II Corinthians 2:11) Though I’m afraid most people are.
We are not to fear the devil. We only have the right fear of our Lord. We have the assurance that “greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world.”(I John 4:4) but we must understand and have the proper regard for the forces that oppose us.
Some church denominations have sanitized or removed hymns from their worship that speak about warfare, like “Onward Christian Soldiers” or “Soldiers of Christ, arise”. Yet, Christians are in a real spiritual battle, and, as being prepared for any battle, we must have the right equipment. The equipment God has given us is sufficient for our needs. Paul wrote, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”(II Corinthians 10:4) In Ephesians 6 Paul pictures a Roman soldier in the various part of his armor likening them to the spiritual armor we are given. Those six pieces are worth our continuing study.
There are two particular aspects of our equipment that need emphasizing. First, we govern our own lives in the righteousness of Christ, and with perseverance. Jesus has paid the penalty for all or our sins. In Him we wear the white robe of Christ’s righteousness. Now we are called to live in that righteousness. We govern our own lives so that our witness reflects the love and truths of our Saviour. (See II Corinthians 6:3-10) We can’t show the world that there is a better way of life if that way is not seen in us.
Second, and the reason for this blog, is a call to prayer. Prayer is a powerful weapon against the wiles of the devil. I seek to post on this site prayers that I invite you to pray with me. These are prayers, not for our personal needs, but for opposing the strongholds of the devil. Whether it is the persecution of our brothers and sisters in various lands, the senseless killings in our country, or even the foolishness and lack of wisdom in many of our political leaders, these are areas we need to attack with our earnest and persistent prayers.
Our Lord’s return:
We are in this battle until our Father again sends His Son among us as He promised. He alone will bring the right conclusion to all the trials we face. Part of our continuing prayer is to implore our gracious Father to send Him quickly. We, the Church, are the Bride of Christ, and our rightful place is with the Bridegroom. Until He comes let us be about our work as diligent servants and soldiers of the Cross.
May our Lord bless you daily with a depth of His grace and strength.