We are all in an invisible, spiritual battle – a cosmic conflict that has eternal implications – in which souls of people of all over the planet are at stake. Yet, most of us as Christians don’t really know our enemy.
Our greatest foe, Satan, is on a mission to destroy God’s people and discredit the cause of Christ. But who is he? He is a fallen powerful angel who led a rebellion of a third of the angels of Heaven and now seeks to destroy all that is good and God ordained.
Created as one of the highest angelic beings (Ezekiel 28), Satan had more power, intelligence and beauty than anything or anyone in the universe except God. But Satan wasn’t satisfied with what he had and his downfall was pride. He wanted to be God. So he fell from Heaven and has been at enmity with God and God’s creation ever since.
Despite Satan’s real presence and existence, many Christians either don’t acknowledge that he exists or they give him way too much credit and blame him for everything that goes wrong in their life. Thedanger as we approach this is to think that everything has to do withSatan and demons or that nothing has to do with Satan and demons.
Instead, we need an accurate and balanced perspective of our enemy and a better understanding of his goals and tactics so that we can have victory over the spiritual battle he wages against us.
For although God has already won the war when Jesus broke the power of sin and disarmed Satan at the cross, the battle we fight against Satan and his demons still rages here on Earth. In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul tells us we’re in a spiritual battle and we have a very real enemy who has specific schemes and plans of attack against us.
“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.” (Eph. 6:11-12)
In this passage, Paul commands us to prepare ourselves in the strength of the Lord and to be aware of our struggle, which is “against the spiritual forces of evil.” He makes it very clear that this real struggle or wrestling match isn’t against physical, material adversaries but against a hierarchy of demonic forces doing battle in the spiritual realm.
Does this mean we need to fear Satan and his demonic forces? No, but it does mean we need to develop a healthy respect for them. We need to become acutely aware of Satan’s “methods” and “schemes” of attack on our lives, yet not be preoccupied by them.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Satan’s plan is to deceive us, tempt us, cause hardened hearts, break marriages, split churches, and bring about depression. And he’ll do this gradually by getting an unnoticeable foothold in our lives by triggering relational conflicts, weighing us down with fear and anxiety, and tempting us with escape mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol. We cannot be ignorant anymore of Satan’s schemes and evil strategies.
Although I want you all to know that Satan and his tactics are very real and dangerous, we don’t need to be discouraged or fearful either! We have a God who is greater than our enemy and He’s greater than all of the evil in the world. We don’t have to fear Satan because Christ has already destroyed Satan’s works on the cross. So as believers, we don’t fight “for” victory; we fight “from victory.”
This week we’re starting the series The Invisible War. This series will help prepare us to do spiritual battle with the enemy of our souls. We’ll explore in depth this invisible but very real war we’re fighting. And we’ll discover what God has to say about Satan’s goals and tactics, as well learn about the “spiritual armor” God offers us so we can be confident of our certain victory over the scheming enemy.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip