Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Eph. 6:10-13)
As I write this the Russian military is drawing up forces surrounding the borders of Ukraine. NATO and the United States, as well as various other European nations, are strategizing on the magnitude, intention, tactics and potential escalation of the perceived threat. Our perceived danger is minimal – the perceived danger of the Ukrainians is acute. The difference is our proximity to the lines of battle. If Putin had troops stationed twenty minutes from your house with an eye on subduing you and your family, your sense of urgency would be decidedly different than it is today. Well I have news. There is someone leading a kingdom who intends you great harm and whose forces are far closer than the next town, the next street or the next door.
For Paul – writing as urged by the Holy Spirit – the reality is simple.
First, a satanic strategy to destroy you has been implemented. There is a plan, and it will take place. Although it will give the illusion as primarily occurring in your circumstances, it is actually spiritual.
Second, this strategy is being executed by two different armies of the same kingdom operating in concert with each other – real spiritual entities operating in the visible darkness of a fallen world, and a spiritual hierarchy operating in the unseen one. Together they seek to execute the plans of darkness they have received, ultimately, from Satan.
Third, the only solution to this unavoidable, deceptively explainable and profoundly dark attack on your life is to find strength in God and, specifically, in “His mighty power.” When – not if – the day of evil comes, your reliance upon the authority of God will prove entirely sufficient to defeat a highly intentional, extremely organized and hierarchal strategy to destroy you. The problem is not human. Neither is the strength to defeat it. Imagine if the United States sent kazoos to Ukraine instead of anti-tank missiles. Kazoos may be a solution for some problems – how to irritate people, for example. But they are not a solution for Russian tanks. Now many of the solutions you have in your life are good solutions for problems. I can assure you that unless it is faith in God it is the wrong solution for a spiritual crisis. All you will do is pour energy into the deception – that the problem is flesh and blood. Ironically, by giving your best solutions to what are actually spiritual issues all you do is further entrench the enemy into the disguise of context. Fighting Satan with your solutions is like seeing a fire and deciding, you know what this fire needs? Gasoline.
Fourth, Paul emphasizes standing – not retreating, standing. A classic failure of war is when armies are defeated from breakage in the lines of formation. The discipline to hold – or not hold – the line has decided many battles. In human war there is such a thing as a strategic retreat. Not in a spiritual war. When satanic efforts to destroy you and your family are underway, assuming the deceptive guise of circumstances on earth while actually rebelling against the will of heaven, the only answer is faith in the fact that the Creator of the universe cannot and will not be defeated by His foes.
Everyone is talking about war and whether it will happen. We need to speak not about its possibility but its reality. Imagine if congress the day after Pearl Harbor had said gee, do you think the Japanese are thinking about war? You are going to have to fight, like it or not. And God has given you through Him the strength and power to stand firm even if Satan himself devices a strategy to destroy you or your family. Hold to that – “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). We are promised both that there will be a direct, organized and highly intentional satanic plan to destroy your life and that submission in faith to God will – not might, will – demand demonic retreat. When we stand our ground they cannot stand theirs.
Look beyond the facts of your life into faith. The war is real. Our excuses and explanations do no good. God’s power is the singular fact of reality that determines our success or failure in standing firm in our kingdom calling.