Events that brought out WWII started in 1933 when Students of the University of Berlin burned thousands of books by Jewish authors; followed by Germany annexing country after country over the next 6 years. Britain, France, Australia and other countries didn’t stand up against Hitler until 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. And the USA didn’t get involved until after Japan hit Pearl Harbor in 1941. An estimate on the number of lives lost was 58,000,000.
We know that there is a mighty power within us but until we accept that we are at war we will not understand life. We will misinterpret 90% of what happens around us and to us. Would you want to go to battle and not have any idea of what you were fighting against? Ephesians 6:12 describes what we are to fight against.
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 heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)
Our first responsibility is to be aware that there is an invisible world. That is exactly what Paul goes over in verse 12. For our struggle is not to be against flesh and blood means that there must more around us than just the physical realm we live in but also a spiritual realm that affects our physical realm.
The Hebrews would repeat a word to make an emphasis and the more times it is repeated the more important it is. Rick Renner references how Paul used the word against 4 times in connection with what we are up against. “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 heavenly realms.” Rick Renner gives some detail of how the enemy works in that invisible world in the Greek in his book ‘Dressed to Kill’:
The word ‘against’ that is used four times in this verse is taken from the Greek word pros. The word pros always depicts a forward position or a face-to-face encounter. In fact, this very word is used in John 1:1 to describe the preincarnate relationship between the Father and Jesus. It says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” The word ‘with’ is taken from the word pros.
This means that at some point in our Christian experience, we will come into direct contact with evil forces. Ephesians 6:12 could be translated:
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but face to face with principalities, eyeball to eyeball with powers, head-on with rulers of the darkness of the world and shoulder to shoulder with spiritual wickedness in high places.”
So what are we up against in this invisible war?
- Principalities is taken from the word archas used to depict individuals who hold the highest and loftiest of rank and authority.
- Power is taken from the word exousia which means they have received delegated authority from Satan to do whatever they want to do, wherever they desire to do it.
- Rulers of the darkness of the world, is taken from the word kosmokrateros which depicts raw power that has been harnessed and put into some kind of order. It is a military term that has to do with discipline, organization, and commitment.
- Spiritual wickedness in high places, the word wickedness is taken from the word poneros and is used to depict something that is bad, vile, malevolent, vicious, impious, or malignant.
How often do we look at our own circumstances completely unaware that there is so much more going on than what we see with our eyes? It is as though we are looking through blinders, oblivious to the fact that our enemy, Satan, often has a hand in the things happening to and around us. There is an invisible world that will affect us whether we accept it or not.
Our second responsibility is being aware of the battle. Our enemy is highly trained and most attacks will occur in our minds. Behind much of what we see on the surface is an enemy that wants to destroy us. If the enemy can take control of one small area of your mind, it opens doors so he can begin to expand. By poisoning our mind with unbelief and lying strongholds, the enemy can manipulate our mind, emotions, and our body.
- When was the last time you considered that some struggle or relational conflict had its roots in satanic opposition?
- Using the Word of God as your common sense when was the last time something happened in your life that you couldn’t explain?
- When thing arise do you assume it is just chance or human nature or do you consider the possibility of spiritual conflict?
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
If we allow sinful strongholds to secretly remain in our lives we give Satan what he needs to defeat us. We must do what we can to shut every door to our souls. The mind is the strategic center where that battle is won or lost in spiritual warfare!
Our third responsibility is being aware that we have a formidable foe, but not to fear him. Our enemy is very real, very coordinated, very strategic, very organized, and very committed. The devil is like a roaring lion who roams about seeking whom he can destroy (1 Peter 5:8).
He also knows what we can be and fears us. Have you ever received a word from God that gave you the exact direction you needed? Suddenly – BOOM! It seemed like all hell broke loose! The bigger the battle we go through the deeper Satan’s fear is, of what we can become. If he can get us to give up on or not even know what God created us to be, he wins. We must always approach spiritual warfare as victors and not victims. Satan is not a force we are trying to defeat; he is already defeated.
. . . that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11b KJV)
The wiles of the devil means that the devil is like a traveler who travels on one road, headed in one direction and has one destination. He knows where he wants to go, he has chosen his destination, and he has mastered the best way of getting there. Once he arrives he has one main goal he wants to accomplish. He wants to wreak havoc and bring destruction. His destination is our minds.
- Have you seen any trends of opposition in your life – areas where God want you to grow or serve and in which numerous obstacles come up?
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
But we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices and are told to bring in to captivity every thought to the obedience of God. The Greek word for ‘bringing into captivity’ pictured a soldier who captured an enemy and now leads him with the point of a sharpened spear on the flesh of his back. The enemies knew if he tried to move or get away the soldier would shove a spear through his torso and kill him. Therefore, this captive doesn’t dare move but remains silent, submissive, and non-resistant. Like the Roman soldier this is how we can take captive the thoughts of the enemy.
Our fourth responsibility is to rely on God’s strength not ours. Verse 10 says to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. The hardest part for some of us is relying on God’s grace not our human strength. And if you try and face the enemy on your own you would be overpowered in an instant. The enemy will do what he can deceive us into doubting God and His goodness. But God tells us:
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and have it in abundance. (John 10:10 The 1599 Geneva Bible)
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on Serpents, and Scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. (Luke 10:19 The 1599 Geneva Bible)
Be sober, and watch: for your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren which are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9 The 1599 Geneva Bible)
We need to remember God places limitations on Satan. Spiritual warfare is not winning the war but is enforcing the victory Jesus has already accomplished. Determine to see yourself as a soldier in the army of God. Don’t allow anything in your life that would hinder your fight.
We started this discussion with the start of WWII now let us finishing with the end of WWII. The Japanese surrendered in 1945 but multiple islands didn’t know of the surrender so continued to fight and many more lives were lost. It is the same for us in spiritual warfare, Jesus has won the victory but unless we believe the truth Satan can still win the battles we allow him to.
Lord, I don’t want to ever give the devil access to my mind. I ask for forgiveness for the times I’ve permitted wrong thinking to go on inside me when I knew it was wrong. Now I understand that these are the areas through which the devil seeks to find entrance into my life. Starting today, I am asking You to help me locate each “open door” in my mind; then help me seal those doors shut by the power of Your Spirit and Your Word. I pray this in Jesus Name.
Lord, help me start seeing myself as a mighty soldier in the army of God. You have provided every weapon I need to prevail against the enemies that come against my life, my family, my business, my friends, and my church. I want to stand tall and firm against the wicked plots the devil tries to exert against people’s lives whom I love and need. Holy Spirit, give me the power and strength I need to successfully resist every attack and to drive all dark forces form my life and from the lives of those close to me! I declare this by faith in Jesus Name.