You may have heard it said, “The Christian life is not a playground; it’s a battleground.” For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) It is clear that our warfare is not against physical forces, but against evil invisible powers who have clearly defined levels of authority.
Evil forces strategically tempt us to oppose God’s will and His authority. For example, the other day I was driving home from work, minding my own business. Suddenly, I became aware of a thought that was opposing God’s will. It lingered until I prayed, commanding it to leave. The devil also works through people. How many times has someone deflated you with a cutting, critical remark? Demonic assaults come unprovoked, unannounced and are relentless!
I’m not saying all adversity is bad. God permits some to strengthen our faith. Yet, Satan uses it to entice us to do and think that which brings harm and destruction. Consider the epidemic of broken families and marriages. “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.” (James 4:1 MSG) Wicked spirits tempt us to give into selfish desires.
How are we to overcome and be victorious in the battle? God’s word tells us to “stand against” such attacks. It’s significant to know this verb’s meaning: to command bravery and great vigor, not passivity. (Ephesians 6:11)
Pray. Engaging in prayer is engaging in the battle. Aggressive prayer, using God’s Word as our weapon assails the enemy’s lies. “…prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out” (Ephesians 6:18 MSG). If you’re too weak to pray alone, get prayer from a trusted friend. “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
Expect enemy attacks and anticipate victory although the battle doesn’t “feel” good. Temptation to oppose God’s ways is not unique to you or to me. But God can be trusted to not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to endure and overcome. He will provide the way of escape. (2 Corinthians 10:13) If we are living under Jesus’ lordship, victory is ours. “He [Jesus] is for us, and He is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). But don’t be fooled. We must engage in the battle.
In doing so, let’s focus on Jesus. On the cross, Jesus demonstrated His power and authority over Satan and his demons. He totally frustrated them, wrecking their plan to destroy mankind when that power raised Jesus from the dead. Satan’s ability is now limited. God’s sovereign power and omniscience assures us nothing less than ultimate victory and abundant life. (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 2:8)