Dwight Fletcher | This means war - Part 1
The current political rhetoric between the eastern and western parts of the world can leave us feeling nervous about the prospect of war. Yet, you and I are already in the middle of a war to which no conflict in history can compare.
The Bible tells us that this war is being waged all around us in the spiritual realm. So, the Apostle Paul encourages us: "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God's armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT).
You see, this spiritual war affects every area of your life. To help you fight, I want to give you a basic understanding of this battle.
One significant truth is that there is an unseen world. Our culture and systems have trained us to believe in only the things that we can physically see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. But, Ephesians 6:12 (NLT) says, "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."
Beyond this world of our physical senses is the unseen world. Our greatest enemy comes from there, but our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is also there. He has given those who believe in Him, power and authority in that world.
In this unseen world, there is an ongoing battle. The Bible gives us glimpses of this battle. In one biblical example, Daniel had been fasting and praying for an answer from God but the answer was delayed. Eventually an angel came to him and explained the delay in terms of this spiritual war:
He said, "Don't be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven... But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia." - Daniel 10:12-13 (NLT).
There is much in this passage that we do not understand, but what is very obvious is that there are satanic forces and heavenly forces. And it reveals that we are right in the middle of the whole thing. But "If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31 (NIV).
STARTED TO DESPAIR
In another instance, Elisha and his servant were confronted with the army of Aram that had surrounded the city in which they were staying. The servant saw the chariots of the enemy and began to despair. "Then Elisha prayed, 'O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!' The Lord opened the young man's eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire." - 2 Kings 6:17 (NLT).
Another truth to note is, that this unseen battle affects our physical lives. Demonic beings affect the World as expressed in 1 John 5:19 (NLT) "...The world around us is under the control of the evil one." When we give in to the world system we automatically become an ally of Satan.
They can impact our societies, our families and our very lives. They also affect entire nations through things like the persecution of Christians and the promotion of abortion and sexual immorality.
In Judges 9:23 (NLT) we see that a spirit "stirred up trouble between Abimelech and the leading citizens of Shechem", causing interpersonal conflict. These evil spirits ultimately affect our ability to respond properly to God. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT) that, "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe ... . They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."
Maybe you are reading this today and you are not in a relationship with Christ, or perhaps you have trouble even understanding what is written. Or maybe you once felt close to God and have been straying away. It might just be that you are engaged in a spiritual war that you are not even aware of and Satan is blinding your mind to the truth. Christians are in a battle but you are under constant oppression. Break free! Pray - "God give me sight so I can see Your truth."
Next week, we will continue by looking at strategies that you can use to fight this battle from a place of victory.