Ephesians 6:12 states in the New Living Translation; “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Whether when reading this you hear Paul, God Himself, or just the authority that the Bible carries, we have here a verse of incredible weight that when properly grasped and absorbed should change our entire understanding of life and the world we live in.
The first issue is to see that people who seem to us to be major combatants of life, whether it is at work, or even in the home, the basic personality we are up against is not the literal physical human being that is causing the trouble, but the spiritual powers that inspire the other opponent, combatant, or enemy. Western society think that it is only “ignorant Africans” who see the world in this light. The Bible teaches clearly that it is “ignorant westerners” that dilute the very statements of the scripture in this dimension. It may be true that the magical and occult activities in the huge continent of Africa show the very negative side of the world view that sees the spiritual world as more directive and influential than the plain physical world, and the bible indeed condemns occult practices and witchcraft and necromancy in the strongest possible denunciations. But once we step into the light of Christ we see that the concept of the spiritual strongly influencing, and at times dominating the physical as a plain straightforward fact.
Genesis 1 teaches us clearly, whether or not the reader is a creationist, that the eternal spiritual world was in existence first. God is Spirit. Logically therefore, out of the spirit cosmos, the invisible cosmos came the physical, visible temporal world. What we see is temporal. What is invisible is eternal.
The second issue is that we are in a fight. Paul was writing to Christians when he put quill to parchment and wrote the letter we refer to as “Ephesians.” One of the plain straightforward reasons why many Christians, and western Christianity in general is so weak, is the fact that many do not believe we are in a fight, a battle, a wrestling debacle – a bloody war even. Every Christian is supposed to be a deadly “weapon of mass destruction of evil.”
The kind of weapon we are intended by Christ to be is the absolute opposite from any weapon the world has ever seen. The dangerous Christian loves people – even the evil ones. The dangerous Christian fights the spiritual powers of wickedness and not the human beings that those powers are manipulating. The dangerous Christian is the most violent force against all things wicked that cloud over the world like a death shroud. To be Christ-like is to be considered by the devil as “deadly dangerous.” A Christian with a serene spirit, a peaceful frame of mind and a non-physical violent demeanour, who prays and speaks God’s words into situations that at their worst threaten peoples destinies and even their lives, is the most violent, fearful, terrible force that the devil and his demons can conceive of. This is the only manner in which the Christian is a monstrous fighter of incredible force and violence.
Thirdly the battle is against four kinds of invisible entities. 1. Evilrulers. 2. Evilauthorities. 3. Mighty powers and 4. Evilspirits in heavenly places. The strong Christian who is the battle axe in the hand of God has a love that becomes the protection against the hatred of the enemy. When we are strong in our faithfulness we are protected against the unfaithfulness of the evil one.
I heard my mentor one day say that if anybody ever fires a dart or an arrow of evil at you, it is Christlike to keep the arrow in your possession as a point of prayer, and to be absolutely certain we do not send the arrow back to the human being that fired it, but to fight it in prayer by attacking the invisible forces behind it. That sounds like Godly wisdom to me. His biblical reason was the verse in Psalm 23 that declares that God has prepared a table before you in the presence of your enemies, the ones who are shooting the arrows. I want the meal that God has prepared for me. If my enemy has to be present, my shooting him in the same way he chose to shoot me would mean that their is no enemy to be present, therefore my table will not be laid by God Himself.
It is the purpose of God that all Christians fight and battle against the spiritual entities that cause crisis, tension and threaten collapse in our businesses, our work, our spiritual life, our homes and our marriages and parenting. It is these entities that we need to be battling against, never people. When you start to speak against you assumed “human enemy,” that is really your neighbour, you are fighting the wrong battle – one is in the wrong war.
To take all this a step further, when we follow in the Master’s footsteps and go the way of the cross, we will even see every attack as an actual blessing. If it sounds Chinese to the reader just get to grips with the Bible and the life of Christ in particular. Christ engaged with every temptation, every act of persecution against Him, every trial he endured as a means to learn, develope and to learn obedience, from which standpoint one enjoys the manifestation of the love of God. Afflictions are truly meant for our spiritual benefit.
Sadly, many Christians only come before God when crisis or tragedy occurs.
Bless your (human) enemies. Pray for those who despitefully use you. But fight against ill motive, wrong intention, hateful feelings, and the plotting of evil in your heart as if your life depended on it, and the life of all you love.