Spiritual warfare is never what is happening to us, it is what is happening in us. Two people can go through the same thing, and one is devastated, another one just shakes it off. Why? One knows how to fight and win the spiritual battle of the mind, the other one did not. Many Americans, including Christians, are not winning their battles. This is not a random statement. The statistics bear this out. American makes up five percent of the world population, yet we use over 85 percent of the prescribed, psychiatric drugs in the world.
Five percent of the world uses 85 percent of the psychotropic drugs.
In 2017, more Americans died of drug overdoses than any other period in American history. The misuse of opioids is ravaging our country. It is more than a chemical problem. If our issues were chemical imbalances in our brains, then based on the prescriptions being written, we should be getting better. What does this mean? We live in a nation under siege, and we are losing the battle of the mind. As a country, we are not getting better. Why? We are not fighting the devil spiritually. We are in a war, and we are losing because this fight is spiritual.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:10-13).
The imagery Paul uses here is powerful, precise. We will spend a large part of this study going over these verses. For now, however, let’s look at this passage from a high level.
First, we see God’s will for us in the battle is to be active in our walk with Him. He doesn’t ask us to be strong in our own power. In the Kingdom of God, He calls us and then equips us to do His will by giving us the power we need. The more time we spend with God, the more we will be filled with His strength and power.
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint (Is. 40:31).
Next, we see who we are not fighting. We are not wrestling or fighting people. We are to love people, not fight them. As long as we are fighting people, we are making things worse for them. God wants us to fight the devil and love people.
Then, we see who we are fighting: the devil and the levels of demonic activity he has set up in this world. Some of the powers we fight are national, some are regional, some are local. They are real, and they are powerful, but they are defeated foes. Every Christian alive today has authority over the devil and these powers. Even the weakest Christian has jurisdiction over the principalities and powers and rulers of dearness. We just have to learn to withstand and fight.
Last, we see how we are to fight. We fight the devil by wrestling him in the full armor of God. The word “wrestle” is the Greek word “pale,” which is word picture of a hand to hand combat. The battle we are in is real and physical. In Roman culture, the physical body and its strength were worshipped. In every Roman province, there was a Palestrae built for the express purpose of holding wrestling and boxing matches. These events were for the most skilled of athletes and were not for the faint of heart. The winner was the person that lived through the fight—losers were those that died in the ring.
When God talks of spiritual battles, He is deadly serious about it. We are in a life and death battle for hearts and minds. We can’t overcome the devil by ignoring him, only by recognizing him, standing against him, wrestling him in the full armor of God.