When We Fight
Have you ever wondered what spiritual warfare looks like? Is it armed angels fighting against armed demons in ongoing cosmic clash? Does it look like a $100 million blockbuster? Or is it more subtle?
The Bible makes it clear that spiritual warfare takes place all around us. Daniel wrote in chapter 10:10-21 of angelic struggles between Michael, the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece and an unnamed being. Peter reminds us to “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Peter 5:8, HCSB). In Ephesians 6:12, Paul teaches we do not battle against flesh and blood [humanity]. The true battle is against rulers, authorities, powers in this world’s darkness, and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.
If spiritual warfare is a reality in which we find ourselves, we must know how to win when we fight. How to we stand against a devil who wants to devour us, and demons who want to harass and antagonize us? Are we left to figure it out on our own? To fight it out on our own? Gratefully, the answer is no.
God Has Provided Weapons
The Holy Spirit, who is stronger than Satan. When we were saved the Holy Spirit came to reside in us. Each and every believer is indwelled by the One sent by Jesus Himself. As we read in 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (HCSB). Daily we are indwelled by God Himself. Moment by moment the power of the Holy Spirit is available to help us overcome temptation. We never face a demonic force who is strong enough to overcome Him. Our victory over evil is centered in Christ’s victory on the cross. We do not gain victory; we enter into the victory He has already won.
God’s Word strengthens us against temptation. The psalmist addressed this truth many times in the 119th psalm, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word” (v. 9), “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You” (v. 11), “Teach me good judgment and discernment, for I rely on Your commands” (v. 66). As we immerse ourselves in God’s word, our thinking is changed and our hearts are strengthened. Our minds take on the mind of Christ, who knew no sin. We are drawn to be like Him and reject the temptations that would turn us aside.
The family of faith. God never called His followers to be “Lone Ranger” Christians, living in a state of solitude. God’s plan has always been that we live in community; that we lean upon each other for strength. Paul wrote to the Galatians about the importance of watching out for each other. In that epistle, chapter 6, verses 1 and 2, we read, “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
We do not fight alone. We will never fight alone as long as we fully depend on the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and our family of faith.