How often do you think about the spiritual warfare that we face in our lives each day? When you think spiritual warfare, how do you picture it? Do you think about angels and demons battling it out and Satan in the mix trying jack things up? The subject of warfare is on my mind often. I’ve really come to grasp the reality of this through my own life experiences where I’ve been able to recognize the reality of it and through others around me.
I was with Amber on Sunday in our meeting and study with our church small group. We are doing a study of Ephesians and talk of warfare came up. I began to talk in terms of the spiritual realm and the warfare that goes on in that aspect. I referred to Daniel 10 when Daniel had prayed and began fasting for 3 weeks. A angel finally comes and tells Daniel that God heard him the very day he prayed, but it took him 3 weeks to because the prince of the Persian was keeping him back and he had to call on Michael, one of the chief princes in Heaven’s armies to help him. It’s a reminder that just as this warfare was going on before, as we in Scripture, just as Jesus had to resist Satan in the wilderness, warfare still goes on today in many ways.
I thought about this more later I really began to realize just how much warfare we face and where it all comes from. I began to think that, in reality, we are faced with, everyday, fighting a war on three fronts. It’s a battle for every part of our being that we face. One front is clear and that is the enemy, Satan and his armies. We are faced with him everyday or those fallen with him. We are warned repeatedly about it. As John 10:10 shows, Jesus stated that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Peter tells believers to be on alert because our “adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This is a given and we know this. If Satan himself is not coming after us to take us out, his armies are in some fashion.
As a part of the assault we face, there are two other fronts we have to battle in that the enemy uses. The next is against this world and those around us. Because we are a fallen race, we are faced with daily battles with people around us. There is so much in this world that is designed, much of it by the enemy, but it is designed to draw us away from things of God. To draw us away from Jesus and the grace offered through Him. This world can take you out in such a big way. I’ve seen it for years and even fell victim to it. To find yourself in a way that you begin to do things that others expect of you. This could be choosing a path in college and a career. Allowing the problems of others to effect you in some way. Simply seeing so much despair in the world and losing those we love in ways that we don’t understand causing us to question life and our faith in many ways.
The third front is within ourselves. The battle with the false-self. This is something we don’t think about enough, but all to often we are faced with ourselves. The decisions we make day to day. Choosing to fall to sin and temptation. Choosing to live life behind a fig leaf and not coming from hiding to face the false-self and renounce it. There is a glory in each one of us, that God created in each of us. It has been veiled since the fall and we are faced each day with whether to let that glory shine through or to hide. We are restored in Christ, should we choose to follow Him and just as Paul said, we should be “renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
This is a daily battle within ourselves to seek Christ’s restoration everyday, putting on the whole armor of God to fight each battle. Spoiler alert!!! Christ has won the war, but until his return and the coming of the Kingdom, we continue to face these battles on all sides everyday. I know it can sound all mystical and strange to some to think of spiritual warfare, but it is very real and it comes at us from every angle.
Don’t neglect this important part of our reality. I know I have written about it many times, but only because it is on my heart a lot and it is so real, yet many refuse to believe it or are just completely oblivious to it all. Remember, you are created in God’s image and the closer you draw to Him, the harder the battles will become. William Gurnall stated, “It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons.” They will come at you head-on, they will attack through those around you, or come at you from within your false-self. As John Eldredge wrote in Waking the Dead, “The is the heart of our Enemy. He is determined to hinder and harm and ruin God’s image bearers.”
The war is real, the ongoing battle is real. The enemy will do everything he can to take us out. To steal and kill and destroy us. What will you do to stand against the enemy from within you and within this world? Don’t deny it exists, recognize it, and stand firm in the faith and in the strength of the Lord’s might.