Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood…but against the rulers…the authorities…the powers of dark…and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. So, the battles we have with others and the actions we let consume us should not be where our energy and focus go. We should set our minds on things above, on the spiritual battle raging between good and evil in the heavenly realms.
This is not an easy feat. It is much easier to hold a grudge toward someone who has hurt you or to spread gossip about the coworker you find annoying. Unfortunately, it is even easier to cause strife and discord within the body of believers. Maybe the Pastor did not respond the way you “expected” so you become bitter and try to cause dissention in the congregation. When these things occur, we need to look again at what God is telling us in Ephesians 6:12. Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood it is against the spiritual forces of evil, i.e., Satan and his minions.
One of Satan’s goals is to cause confusion and chaos in the life of a believer, so they spin their wheels over miniscule, worldly issues. This keeps the believer ineffective for God’s purpose for their life. Satan loves to keep our focus on ourselves and on issues with others because he knows that if our attention were truly on God we would be dangerous. How can we protect ourselves against Satan’s feeble attacks? We must act.
James 4:7-8 clearly tells us the actions we must take to defeat Satan. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded”. Did you catch the verbs in those phrases? Verbs are action words and these two verses command us to perform quite a few. Submit, resist, flee, come near, etc.… When we initiate the action, God honors us by responding. We first submit to his authority. Then we resist the devil and the devil MUST flee! And when we come near to God He responds by drawing near to us as well.
Salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone. His death on the cross is what allows us access to God the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is a gift we have done nothing to deserve. But, our continued responsibility is to act (James 4:7-8) to fight the battle waging in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Draw near to God and to His strength and He will draw near to you.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of Your salvation. Thank You for calling me to battle for Your kingdom’s glory. I choose to submit to Your authority and to draw near to You so as I resist the devil in Your Name he will have to flee. Use me today to further Your kingdom. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.”
Kami R. Lobner