Paul reaches the conclusion of his letter to the Ephesians after exhorting them to live godly lives, to depend upon each other in the body of Christ and to live lives submitted to one another filled with love and grace. He tells them that the battle of living for Christ involves both the physical world we live in and the spiritual world we cannot see. His advice is to put on God’s armor.
Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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.“
Later in the chapter Paul fully explains each piece of armor and why we desperately need them for our battles. Here he reminds us that spiritual battles are being waged in the heavens of which we are unaware, and yet we have to come up against them in our daily lives. One of my favorite Old Testament stories shows the forces of evil that surround us and how Satan would love to destroy our faith and witness is found in 2 Kings 6:15-17. Elisha, the prophet of God, was telling the king of Israel the battle secrets of the king of Syria that God was revealing to him. The king of Syria was very upset and sent horsemen to come and seize him. Elisha’s servant looked out of the house they were staying in and ran to tell Elisha that they were surrounded. Amazingly, Elisha was not afraid and asked God to reveal what he saw to his servant to explain why he was unafraid. He then asked God to confuse the enemy and He did with blindness.
15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. 19 And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
What I love about this story is that the servant was unaware of the ring of fiery angels that were ready to do battle on Elisha’s behalf. We too have power of the Holy Spirit that indwells us and gives us power to thwart sin and Satan’s plans. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world,” 1 John 4:4. Paul is telling us to be ready to do battle in a serious fashion using His power and might. We are on the winning side because Jesus is greater than anyone or anything physical or spiritual that we may encounter in life!
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are able to battle against unseen forces through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to be ready and willing to walk with the Lord and be empowered by Him each day.