Through God’s providence, Andy Muxlow and I independently picked the same topic for the pastoral word. Since this is a topic that is on both of our minds and one that is profitable to consider, let’s again think carefully on the topic of spiritual warfare.
I am amazed how the celebration of Halloween in our society increases every year. In the grocery store, Halloween candy and costumes come out earlier in the month. Lawn decorations are more extensive and dramatic. All of a sudden we are surrounded by images of skeletons, vampires and zombies. Minimally, all of these images can desensitize us to a spiritual reality: there is an evil, spiritual realm that is real! Even in some of our evangelical circles, spiritual warfare is minimized or completely ignored as a reality. In this age of psychology, problems and solutions to those problems are dealt with only on a human level. But there is more to this world than what we can see. There is spiritual warfare; it is a battle against wrong thinking and behavior. Paul points out this reality in several passages (2 Cor. 6:7; 10:3-5; 1 Thess. 5:8). Perhaps the most familiar one is found in Ephesians 6:10-20. Consider verse 12:
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.
In light of this reality, we are to take action; we are to “take up the whole armor of God” (v. 13).Notice the realities behind the metaphors in this passage: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God. All these weapons are connected to the work of Christ and the word of God. These are the things that the Holy Spirit uses in our life for spiritual growth and the regeneration of unbelievers. Notice the emphasis on prayer in the paragraph in order “to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (vv. 18-19). Without these weapons and persistence in prayer, the gospel will not advance.
Do you think about spiritual warfare and our enemy? Are you grounded in the truth and gospel-living so that the Holy Spirit can use you? Take this time of year to make yourself more keenly aware of the spiritual battle and your need for preparation for the daily battle. Satan and his world’s system desperately and aggressively fights against us; we need to be aware and be ready.