EPHESIANS 6:10-12: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Someone has wisely said – “Before going into battle…know your enemy!” This is true for nations, and it is also true the for the believer. We need to know and identify the real enemy in life. So many times we get distracted and entangled in battles that are misdirected. This always leads to frustration, and ultimately more collateral damage. If we are going to walk victoriously in Jesus Christ – we must know who are enemy is!
In order to know who our enemy is – we must first establish who he is not! Paul is quite clear in these verses, as he is in other writings. Our enemy is not “flesh and blood”. What does this mean? Very simply – we are not called to engage in a battle of any kind against another person, including ourselves. The Christian is not called to take up arms and convince the world through brute force. We are not called to overcome our struggles in life by battling against our neighbor or even those who speak evil of us, persecute us, or despitefully use us. They are not the enemy. We have only two enemies in life, and they are two sides of the same coin. They are sin and the devil!
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he writes – “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. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV)
Jesus clarified our enemy when he said – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)
The enemy defined is Satan and all of his demonic hosts that try to captivate and darken hearts through deceptive lies that stand against the knowledge of God and endeavor to kill, steal, and destroy all of God’s purposes in our lives through bondage to sin, fear, and doubt.
This is a spiritual warfare. It is not physical. It takes a physical toll, but it is not won through physical effort. It is won through the Spirit of God, the power of the Blood of Jesus, and God’s Word! The “wrestling” that takes place in our lives is not in arguing with other people, it is in confronting the lies of the enemy in our hearts and minds with the knowledge of Christ – and taking them captive! We do this not through a shouting match with the devil or his demons. We do this by hiding the Word of God in our hearts, and renewing our minds with His Truth.
Revelation 12:11 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Toward the end of the tribulation Satan is physically confined to earth, and he knows his days are numbered. Filled with rage, he begins to pour out his wrath upon the saints. How do they overcome him? “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11 ESV) They overcame the enemy by the precious blood of the lamb (Jesus sacrifice – Heaven’s currency), and the word of their testimony. What was their testimony? It was the Word of God – JESUS IS LORD!
Martin Luther, in his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, understood this important truth. He had spent years trying to overcome the enemy and his sin through human effort. He would beat himself with cords until he bled, trying to atone for his sin and overcome Satan’s power. He did this until one day he learned the power of the blood of Jesus, salvation by grace through faith, and the power of one name – the name of JESUS! He writes in this great hymn – “One little word shall fell him”! That “little word” was – JESUS! Martin Luther knew that his victory was found only in Jesus Christ! He overcame the power of the enemy and the power of his sin – by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of his testimony!
Lord, open my spiritual eyes to see and understand my enemy. Help me resist wrestling with “flesh and blood”. Help me to put on the whole armor of God, to hide Your Word in my heart, to renew my mind with Your Truth, and to take every deceiving word that rises against the knowledge of God – captive in the name of Jesus Christ! Help me to overcome the schemes of the devil and the power of sin by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS TRUTH! JESUS IS MY VICTORY! In Jesus Name!