“Be careful — watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.” 1 Peter 5:8 (LB)
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies–the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.” – Ephesians 6:11-13 (LB)
“I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds.” — 2 Corinthians 10:4 (LB)
Some people are very skeptical when it comes to talk about the devil. Such concepts of evil are viewed by many in our sophisticated, educated world as a remnant of more ignorant days long past. Belief in unseen spiritual forces of darkness is commonly relegated to the realm of the superstitious and silly.
It is interesting and extemely important to note that the Bible treats this topic very differently. It treats it seriously. The reality of an invisible but real world of darkness populated by destructive spiritual foes is presented to us in God’s Word as fact, not fiction or fantasy.
In Scripture, God repeatedly reminds us that, as believers in Jesus Christ, there are certain things we need to know about the reality of spiritual battle. Warning after warning is issued to us about the enemies of darkness we face. We would be wise to pay attention.
What does the Bible teach us about dealing with these evil forces?
The Bible teaches us that:
1. We face a very real spiritual enemy.
We cannot prepare to fight these dark battles until and unless we accept this as true.
According to the Bible, there are actual, real forces of evil, directed by a head serpent, Satan, that must be contended with by believers.
2. There are real spiritual attacks.
The devil and his foes are not sitting back idly or passively. They are on the prowl. They are on the attack. They study their prey and strategically assault. Their attacks are subtle and personal. They deceptively seek to trap their targets, intentionally and patiently playing on their individual appetites and weaknesses.
3. There are real spiritual casualties in this war.
The goal of our spiritual adversaries is to wound, kill and destroy people and relationships.
These evil forces of darkness are not satisfied until they wreak havoc on individual lives, families and friendships, and rob physical or emotional health from people. They are ruthless and determined.
Take a sober and careful look at the highway of life. You will discover that it is strewn with the casualties of this war. The devil would be thrilled to capture and count us in that number.
4. There are real spiritual weapons given to us by God.
These weapons really work against our spiritual enemies. We are not defenseless. God has provided us with mighty spiritual weapons. These weapons are capable of completely stopping the missles of darkness propelled in our direction.
God has also provided us with the offensive firepower of His Word. He has duly authorized believers to put a stop to the activities of these evil forces by enforcing the decisive, eternal victory won through the death, burial, shed blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5. There is a real mistake we must avoid if this war is to be won
It is the mistake of engaging the wrong battles. We must remember who our real enemy is.
People are not our enemies! It takes a lot of maturity to finally figure this out.
Making our fights about people is our default, sinful, immature human tendency. All too often we fight with each other over hurts, misunderstandings, judgments, misjudgments, and all kinds of petty things. When we spend time and energies contending with each other, Satan sits back and smiles at his success in spiritually sidetracking and sabatoging us.
Only when we stop fighting with each other and focus our mutual efforts on fighting the real enemy will solid, lasting victory be ours. This takes a mature commitment — a decision to walk in love, grace and forgiveness with one another as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
Spiritual battles are real! They are also winnable! Heed God’s warning! Know the real enemy! Use the right weapons! Live in the love of God! And then, stand firm in the authority of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross and declare victory!