Read Ephesians 6
Focus on verse 12
The nation of America continues to be somewhat divided over how exactly to define and identify those who seek to do harm to her people. One of the most notable defining moments which changed the way the enemy is perceived was on September 11, 2001 when three thousand American civilians were killed in the first major terrorist attack on American soil. Since that day the face of the war on terror continues to change. It seems the places in the world where we once felt safe are no longer as secure as they once were.
In today’s reading the Apostle Paul describes to the Ephesian believers the nature of an enemy that seeks to destroy them.
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.(v. 12)
I am thankful to live in a nation in which the government takes the threat of our physical enemies seriously and puts in place laws and policies to minimize that threat. There is, however, a threat the government has little control over. It is the enemy that Paul describes. It is the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places that deceive and influence the minds and hearts of people. It is, in fact, these spiritual forces of evil that cause some people to become a threat to other people.
This spiritual enemy is not defeated by the use of physical force, since it is not a physical enemy. Our spiritual enemy can, however, be defeated, but we must fight the battle with spiritual weapons. Paul describes both the defensive armor and the offensive weaponry that we must use to battle these spiritual forces of evil in this chapter. (vs. 13-20)
Our spiritual enemy is a very real enemy, and poses a greater danger than our physical enemies for two reasons. First, it is this spiritual enemy that is at the root of the deception that motivates our physical enemies to seek to harm us, and second, our physical enemy can only harm our body, while this spiritual enemy is after our souls. The consequence of losing the spiritual battle has eternal ramifications, while the physical battle has only temporary consequences.