Spiritual warfare is a fact of life for followers of Jesus. We may differ about how we specifically engage in that warfare, but we all agree that we are in a spiritual battle. As we look ahead to the future of our district, we must keep this reality in mind and be equipped to engage the battle. It may well grow worse as time goes on. We can’t look at life and ministry only on the physical-material level.
We are living in this world but are not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven, and our Lord and King is Jesus, who defeated Satan the prince and power of this world at Calvary. It is normal, then, for the prince of this world to be at odds with us as followers of Jesus, but we do not need to fear the spiritual warfare. We are the children of God who are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, sealed and filled with the Holy Spirit. God says we are ‘more than conquerors through Him who loves us’ (Rom. 8:37) and ‘greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world’ (1 Jn. 4:4). We know that in Jesus Christ we are overcomers and we know the promises and power of our God. So how do we not let spiritual warfare take away our joy and peace or defeat us?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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 (Eph. 6:10-12).
This passage teaches us much about spiritual warfare and how to be overcomers, standing firm through Jesus Christ. Spiritual warfare is in the spirit realm. It is caused by Satan and his demons who are trying to sabotage the work of God and make the followers of Jesus Christ ineffective. Verse 12 talks about the devil’s schemes, his ways of sabotaging us and God’s work. Some of his schemes are: giving us false thoughts about who we are and what we can’t do in God’s strength; getting our eyes and thoughts off of the mighty power of God so we become fearful; thoughts of ‘what if’ which cause us to doubt; different types and levels of persecution to tempt and hinder us from being obedient to what God calls us to; and the list goes on. We need to realize that Satan is real and trying to destroy us, but through the power and tools given to us by God, our heavenly Father, we can stand and are overcomers through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To stand firm, we need to live in the strength of our Lord. We must trust God’s great power to do what He says He will. Remember: we have the same Holy Spirit living in us who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Live in His strength and His mighty power because in our strength we can do nothing to defeat Satan. That was done by the work of Jesus alone.
We need to intentionally put on the whole armor of God:
….with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17).
The armor of God helps us live out daily the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It enables us to live out our true identity in Jesus as we go through life and enables us to fulfill our calling as we live and move in God’s mighty strength under the authority and power of His Word. God’s armor not only protects us in the spiritual war but empowers us to be on the offensive so that the Gospel will be advanced through us.
As we faithfully follow Jesus in the years ahead, we will continue to be involved in a spiritual war. We will probably see more persecution and resistance from the Satan and the world. But we need not be alarmed or fearful. Instead, we should be driven to live more fully in our Father’s strength, protection, and mighty power. We need to become humbly dependent on Him and keep in step with the Holy Spirit so that the world will see the power and works of God in and through us. Remember, it is not about us, but about our Father and His glory.