In Paul’s famous passage in Ephesians 6:10-20 on the armor of God, he makes a big deal about letting us know who we’re really fighting when it comes to the battles of the Christian life.
So who are we up against? This is crucial. You’ve got to know your enemy to be able to fight them effectively. Paul tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (by which he means human beings) but rather “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Spiritual forces of evil, people. In other words, the devil and his demons. In our hyper naturalistic culture this kind of language seems pretty strange, but there’s no way to get around what Paul is saying here. If he’s right (and I believe he is), there are forces at work beyond that which is immediately visible to us. This has important implications.
It means that as we look at the world, the things we perceive as our enemies are not in an ultimate sense what we are fighting.
It means that ISIS is not ultimately our enemy. Politicians and presidents are not ultimately our enemies.
These are pawns only of greater, spiritual powers that desire violence and oppression not only for Christians, but for anyone they bring under their influence.
I say this because we give much attention to to the terrorists and the kings of this world, but if we only ever deal with the pawns, solving earthly problems with earthly means we will not make significant headway against the evil powers and principalities of the spiritual realm.
What Paul is saying here is that you have to take the battle past what you can see…and start fighting even the things you can’t see.
Stay tuned for more.