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 the heavenly realms.
Today I spoke with a physician who commented on the invisible enemy of Covid-19. True, we can’t see a virus, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, does it? So, the same should be said about recognizing the source of our own struggle. In today’s verse, Paul reminds us that our struggle is with the enemy of our souls. And still, we tend to focus on individuals or our circumstances, but how many times is our battle a spiritual one we ignore?
“It’s dangerous to underestimate the power of spiritual evil and to overestimate our ability to withstand it.” – John Piper
From the beginning, when the serpent outmaneuvered Adam and Eve in the garden, our enemy has been at work, doing his best to undermine the work of God – both in the big picture and in our everyday lives. The trouble is, too often we speak of Satan as a metaphor or the dark side of the Force and so we do two things mentioned by Piper above: We underestimate the evil we face and we overestimate our own ability to overcome him.
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith”(1 Peter 5:8).
Peter tells us to resist, but notice he also tells us how. We stand firm in the faith. And John reminds us that we “have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
As I mentioned in the opening lines above, recognizing the problem is a positive start. I’m thinking of some specific situations today where I have been blind. I’ve often mistaken the source of the conflict. How about you?