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The Unseen War

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

A lot of us have heard this verse, but I think that many of us don’t really take it very seriously. After all, it is so much easier to focus on the things that we can see and feel. Yet, there is a very real war going on in the world and all human beings are affected by it. This war is a literal battle for the soul of each and every one of us.

You might be wondering who is waging this war and why. The Bible gives us the answer. It is a war between God our Creator and satan who was also created by God. Let’s take a look at what happened. First let’s look at the beginnings of satan. I’ll let the Bible tell you in its own words: 

You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every precious stone adorned you; ruby, topaz, emerald, chrysolite, onyx, jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and beryl. Gold work of tambourines and of pipes was in you. They were prepared in the day that you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers. Then I set you up on the holy mountain of God. You have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire. Ezekiel 28:13-14

As we can see, this satan was very beautiful and also probably able to make excellent music or maybe he was even God’s chief musician. He was also in a very prominent place in God’s creation. But this was obviously not enough. Because God also tells us this:

You said in your heart, “I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will sit on the mountain of assembly in the far north! I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will make myself like the Most High!” Isaiah 14:13-14

Satan became so prideful that he wanted to be equal with God. This, of course, is impossible, but satan believed this very first lie. It’s ironic that the first being he ever lied to was himself. Here’s what Jesus says about his lies:

He was a murderer from the beginning and doesn’t stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44b 

So now we know how this war started. When satan rebelled against God, he was cast down from his place and now desires to deceive every single person into believing his very first lie. Unfortunately, Eve (the first woman) fell for the deception: 

The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t really die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God... Genesis 3:4-5

If you’ll notice, it is the same lie over and over and is still deceiving people to this very day. When people believe the lie that they can be their own god and have complete authority over their own lives, they are in actuality choosing to worship satan. The unseen war that is raging all around us is the fight for whom we will worship.

But the battle doesn’t end there. Even when we choose for God, satan is still after us. He does not want us to draw others to God. He wants God’s people defeated and ineffective. 

Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Withstand him… 1 Peter 5:8-9a

God calls satan our "adversary," i.e. one who is against us. In fact, that is the literal meaning of the word satan.

This is why understanding this unseen war is vital to having a fruitful and successful Christian life. But how do we withstand satan? Well, there’s no need to worry because God has provided us with everything we need to stand firm in this battle. 

The first and foremost thing we must do is understand that the war has already been won by Jesus Christ.

Having stripped the principalities and the powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it [the cross]. Colossians 2:15

Since it is Christ who has already won, all we need to do is abide in Him to be safe and victorious. But how do we abide in Christ? We accomplish this by standing firm in our faith. God equips us with weapons to do this. Here is a list of them: 

Stand therefore having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace, above all taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:14-16

Let’s take a look at each of them individually to better understand how these weapons aid us in abiding in Christ. They help because they are actually Christ Himself!

TruthJesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  Jesus is truth. What else is truth? Sanctify them in Your truth. Your Word is truth. John 17:17 We can abide in Jesus through His word, the Bible.

RighteousnessThe LORD is our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 33:16b NASB) We have to always remember that the only righteousness that we have comes from our Savior Jesus Christ who has allowed us to inherit His righteousness. 

Peace “For a Child is born to us. A son is given to us; and the government will be on His shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) True peace only comes from Jesus Christ. It’s cool that it is on our feet so that we can stand in peace no matter what. We can also take it wherever we go and bring it to others who need it badly.

Shield of Faith – The reason that I included shield with faith is because of what God tells us. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4b NIV) This helps us to understand that our faith is in God who will never fail us. His promises are real and they will put out any flaming arrows that the devil throws at us. 

Salvation – Do you know what the literal meaning of the name Jesus is? It means God of our salvation. Since salvation is a helmet, we are to put Jesus on our minds continually!

Word of God – This one is pretty self-explanatory. But there is one more thing to be pointed out. He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called “The Word of God”. (Revelation 19:13) The Word of God is another name for Jesus. The need for reading the Bible is emphasized one more time because it is all about Jesus. He is the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

When we realize that Jesus Christ is all we need to fight back against the schemes of the devil, it becomes so much easier to stand firm. Abiding in Christ is focusing on Him and His Word. It’s that simple. When struggles come our way, we can stop trying to face them in our own strength and give them to Christ.

Let’s therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and may find grace for help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16


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