Our Spiritual War Part 1
Ephesians 6:10-13, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
You may not know this about me, but I am a Lord of the Rings nerd. In the Hobbit, King Thorin gives Bilbo a shirt of mithril (dwarvish silver) rings. It was described by Bilbo as being “light as a feather and hard as dragon scales” (see I really am a nerd I am writing this from memory). Bilbo gives his mithril shirt to Frodo before he goes on his adventure to destroy the one ring and save Middle-Earth. On his journey the mithril shirt saves Frodo’s life by deflecting the spear of a cave troll that should have killed him. What would have happened if Frodo had not been wearing the mithril shirt (i.e. his armor)? Nothing, Frodo is a fictional character, however, when we attempt to face our enemy without the full armor of God that we have been given, we will find ourselves utterly unprepared for battle. We will take these first few verses by way of introduction and then look at the pieces of armor in subsequent posts. So let’s dive in…
This passage starts off with the exhortation to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. This means that we are to be empowered or enabled by God’s strength and ability. We will never fight our spiritual battle in our own strength and ability, we can only do so in the power that God gives us through His Holy Spirit. We are then told to put on the whole armor of God. The word “whole” means panoply, and refers to all that is needed or nothing missing. In other words, God has provided for us, in this whole armor of God, everything we need to fight the spiritual war that we are part of. When we wear the whole armor of God, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, we will be able to stand (continue, hold up, stanch-to stop a flow) which means we will not be moved by the attacks of the enemy. We will also be able to withstand (stand against, oppose) which means we will be able fight back.
This passage moves on to remind us that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Our war is a spiritual war not a physical one. 2 Corinthians 10:3 reiterates this point, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” All of the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts, who have rebelled against God, are our enemies. We must differentiate this, so we know who our fight IS against and who our fight IS NOT against. This is important for us to remember. Our fight is not against the lost. We cannot hold the lost to the same standard as the Christian world, and our fight is not against them, we are supposed to be for the lost, sharing the love of Jesus with them so they can be saved and no longer lost. Our fight is not against other churches or denominations. Maybe their music is different than ours or they are more traditional or less traditional than us, but we are all followers of Christ and should be working together. We certainly should not be fighting within our own church, we are brothers and sisters and even though issues may arise, we deal with them biblically and lovingly to avoid division or we give our enemy a foothold within the church. I am not saying we don’t speak out against social issues and work to end injustice, nor am I saying we should have fellowship with churches who teach heresy, or that our own home church will never have problems. The point I am trying to make is that we need to remember who our real enemy is, and it is not the person who sits next to you on Sunday, or the one who sits in the booth across from yours at Denny’s.
While we are exhorted to take up the whole armor of God and stand in God’s might, and we will spend the next couple of posts examining that, it is vital that we consider two mistakes we can make concerning our enemy in this war. Our first mistake is to overestimate our enemy. Satan is a defeated enemy, and he knows it. Jesus won our victory on the cross and there is nothing our enemy can do to change it. He can harass, annoy, and bother us, but as followers of Christ, he has no power in our lives. The second mistake we make is pretending we don’t have an enemy. While he is a defeated enemy, he can still tempt us and distract us from the things of God, and if we don’t believe that he can have this type of influence then it will be all the easier for us to fall into it. How do we handle our enemy? Besides putting on the whole armor of God, we need to handle things the way the Bible teaches. In Jude 9 Michael the Archangel prayed for the Lord to rebuke Satan. Although Michael is a powerful being, he still asked for God to do the rebuking, and I think this is sound advice for us. When you are feeling harassed or annoyed by the attacks of your enemy ask for the Lord to rebuke him. Second, James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Step 1 submit to God, which means you give everything of yourself over to Him. Step 2 resist the devil, which we can only do when we are surrendered to God and empowered by His Holy Spirit. When we follow steps 1 and 2, the devil will flee from you. He has to because we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37).
I know this is a lot to take in for part 1 of a blog series but I hope it blessed you and gives you some insight into the war every Christian is part of, and that you start thinking about the armor that God has given us to fight this war. God bless you!
Image Borrowed From – The Armory Bible Game (who borrowed it from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring movie)