‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ — Ephesians 6:10
The Christian life is described as wrestling or struggling against an invisible spiritual enemy. Our enemy is:
- Tricky (‘wiles of the devil’) – Wiles are crafty schemes designed to trip us up and bring us down. The word is further developed in Ephesians 4:14, where we read about those who with cunning craftiness ‘lie in wait to deceive.’ This means that our enemies are constantly looking to subtly ambush us and take us down.
- Spiritual (‘not against flesh and blood’) – As much as we like to think that other people are the enemy; they are not. Our enemy is ‘spiritual’. Our enemy is ‘the devil’ and His forces. Satan wants us to think that flesh and blood people are our enemies, but they aren’t. This is very important to understand. Because our enemy is spiritual, our weapons are also spiritual. That’s why 2 Corinthians 11:4 says, ‘the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.’
- Organised (‘principalities…powers…rulers of the darkness of this world…spiritual wickedness in high places’) – Satan has put together an entire system of fallen angels (demons) who have rank and a certain order to their destructiveness. We are not facing a weak, chaotic, disorganised enemy. We are facing one of great power and systematic destruction. This ought to wake us up to the fact that we cannot win in our own power, and haphazard approaches to victory will not work.
- Worldly (‘darkness of this world’) – Satan is described in 2 Corinthians 4:4 as the ‘god of this world’. He is the head of an entire world system that is organised against God. He uses worldly values and worldly things to keep people in darkness and to bring believers down. We must be on guard against unbiblical thinking that wars against love for God (see 1 John 2:15-17).
- Wicked and proud (‘wickedness in high places…fiery darts of the wicked’) – Our enemy is wicked. His wickedness was first seen in his pride when he wanted to be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:12-15). And he continues to set himself up in high places. Furthermore, he seeks to fill us with pride as well. This is probably one of his greatest and most successful ploys that leads to all sorts of sin. Let us realise that pride is one of the most wicked, Satanic attitudes that we can have.
So, how do we defeat such an enemy? How do we stand against the subtle ambushes of an invisible enemy? How can we not succumb to such a highly organised army? How do we guard against love for this world and deceptive pride?
The primary answer is Ephesians 6:10. Just as Ephesians tells us that our identity is in Christ, so our strength and power is in the Lord as well. The Lord gives those who put on His armour strength and the power of His might.
The details of that armour is another study, but, first and foremost, we must humbly realise that we cannot win in our own strength. As the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, ‘they journey is too great for thee’ (1 Kings 19:7), so the battle is too great for us.
But if we trust in the Lord’s strength and come in His power, we can face fierce giants like David did in the power of Christ and emerge victorious. We can stand against the all-out assaults of Satan, if we continue to put on the armour God’s provides and trust in Him.
So, don’t despair! Don’t give up. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! He can help us to withstand in the evil day.