For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
In the last few weeks, I have received a few questions regarding the above verse so I think it’s time to explore what this verse means for our lives. What is this struggle that we face in life? And how do we fight against it?
1. Find Strength in God
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” ~Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)
This passage of Scripture is Paul’s final instruction to the church in Ephesus. The church in Ephesus was pretty messed up. They were doing all kinds of things that were ungodly. Paul knew that they would not be ready for the day of battle, if he did not prepare them because their minds were preoccupied by ungodly matters. So Paul let’s them know it’s time to take a stand in God’s strength. Our strength for the daily battles that ensue us come from the Lord alone, He is the one who has the power to fight all that we face. His power is sufficient to win every spiritual battle against the enemy. Remember what the Lord said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2. Take a Stand
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” ~Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)
God has given us the equipment to go into battle. He has not left us empty handed. It is important to start each day embracing the armor of God. We are soldiers for Christ, in an army that’s fighting a spiritual war. Just like a soldier would never go into battle without being fully protected from head to toe, so also we need to make sure we are protected for the battle that rages for our hearts and souls. The word that is used for “stand” in this passage is actually a military term meaning to hold on to one’s position. We are not to back down, not to give in, and not to let the enemy win.
We have been given the weapons of warfare to battle the schemes of the devil. We have to remember the purpose of our enemy. It was stated very clearly by Jesus when He was on this earth, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10, NIV).” Satan is ready to steal, kill, and destroy. His purpose is to make sure that you are miserable and ineffective for God. God wants to make sure that you have an abundant life, a life that is full in Him. That’s why God gives you the armor to fight in. Don’t enter the battlefield without your armor!
3. Identify the Struggle
“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 (NIV)
Where is this terrible struggle coming from? I have had this question presented to me and I think it’s easy to misunderstand this verse. First, identify that the struggle is not against our flesh and blood. Remember the day you gave yourself to Christ. The day you said yes to your Savior. Well, on that day you buried your flesh. Please read Romans 6 and 8 to identify the difference between living from your sinful nature and the work of the Spirit inside of you. We die to ourselves daily by doing what God has called us to do in His Word, “…to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21, NIV)”.
Please notice that the above passage is all in the present tense. The battle that takes place is daily. The writer is not talking about tomorrow, next week, or next year. He is talking about today, right now. What are we doing to get ready for the struggle we face today? The one that happens the moment we open our eyes in the morning.
Yes, Satan is waiting to devour us right away in the morning. The Bible says,
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Satan is always ready to attack. Are you always ready to defend yourself? In fact, do you know that the Greek word for struggle actually means “to wrestle”. Are you ready to take Satan on in a wrestling match? Will you pin your enemy down? I have to say I have never had a desire to wrestle a lion, nor have I ever come close to a wrestling match with one. But that’s what God is calling us to do. He is comparing Satan to a lion and we are called to wrestle him. Now we need the tools. Let’s explore those tools tomorrow. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this thought…
Something happens when we pray,
Powers of evil lose their sway,
We gain strength and fear gives way—
Therefore, let us pray.
Dear Father God, Please help us never forget that we fight against an enemy. May we be alert and ready for any attack the enemy may bring on us. May we fight the good fight and never surrender! May we always seek victory in You!
Pinning Down My Enemy,