When I was around 16 years old, I had invited a kid I barely knew over to hang out for the day. My parents were gone, but had the foresight to have a family friend stay with us. We were in my room playing video games when his eyes rolled into the back of his head and they came back down looking different. He looked at me and said, “Fight me!” I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I knew if we got into an altercation, I wasn’t going to make it. I responded in a whisper that I wouldn’t fight him. He got angry and began repeatedly asking me to fight him. Our family friend sensed something, opened the door, noticed I was upset and got me out of the room. I began praying for about 15 minutes while I was locked in the bathroom. When I came back out, he had changed back to normal.
Spiritual battles present themselves in the physical realm all the time. In 1 Samuel 17, Goliath was dressed for battle and called out to the Israelites to come fight him. They were terrified. How could anyone beat such a man? Saul offered money, his daughter, no taxes and more, but no one was willing to fight Goliath until David came around. He recognized it as a spiritual battle immediately. They tried to dress him up in Saul’s armor, give him a sword and instructions, but David knew better. In verses 45 and 47 David called out to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted…And that this entire assembly may know that the LORD does not save with the sword or with the spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will hand you over to us” (AMP). David won the physical battle because he had won the spiritual battle first.
In your life, there may appear to be people who are attacking you, your character, your work, your calling or something else. Understand that it is more than likely a spiritual attack to produce fear, anger or doubt in you. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.” If you fight a spiritual battle in the physical, you will lose the battle that matters. Spend time in prayer, put on the full armor of God and fight on your knees praying against the spirit that is guiding the other person. The enemy will use whomever he can to immobilize you and to keep you from living the life God created you to live. Stay strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Ephesians 6:10-18 is a favorite passage of Scripture for many believers. These are Paul’s final words to the church in Ephesus, but they for us today as much as it was for them back then. He starts of his closing remarks by saying, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Vs 10)” He us reminding believers that we won’t win fighting battles in our own strength. Our strength is limited and runs out, but God’s strength is perfect and limitless. We use the strength of the Lord when we pray to Him about our problems instead of using words of hurt and anger against others whom we perceive are attacking us.
He next tells us to put on God’s armor so that we will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil (vs 11). The devil is constantly looking for ways to steal your joy, kill your testimony and destroy your walk with God. Paul understood this and told us to put on defensive gear. He knew that we would be attacked so we need to put on God’s armor that will help us to stand when we are attacked by the enemy. It’s not a matter of if the enemy will attack you, it’s when and how often.
I love this next portion. He reminds us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against evil rulers, authorities of the unseen world, mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (vs 12). One of the biggest strategies of the devil is to confuse us about who our enemy is. He uses other people to attack us and our beliefs so that we will attack them instead of him. He takes a spiritual battle and causes it to be played out in the physical realm because he knows we will fight in our physical strength. We always lose fighting a spiritual battle in the physical because it uses our strength instead of God’s.
Paul then tells us to put on every piece of God’s armor so that we can resist the enemy in the time of evil and then tells us what they do (vs 13). He says we are to stand our ground with the Belt of Truth and the Body Armor of God’s Righteousness (vs 14). To be fully prepared, we need to put on the peace that comes from the Good News in the form of shoes (vs 15). Next he tells us about the shield of faith that protects us from the fiery arrows the enemy shoots at us (vs 16). Our heads are protected by the Helmet of Salvation and our weapon to advance is the Word of God (vs 17). Truth always defeats the enemy. Jesus used the truth of God’s Word to defeat Satan and we can too.
The final thing Paul tells us in this passage is probably the most important. In verse 18, he says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” If we are going to win a spiritual battle, we must use our words to pray to God instead of using them to attack people. Our power and defense come from prayer. Spending time with God is the only way we can survive the attacks of the enemy. We should be praying for ourselves as well as believers everywhere. We are always under attack in this world and this passage tells us how to win the war.