Our struggle against the unseen

Ephesians 6:12 – 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.

Our Struggle… Our…Struggle. Daily. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. There is a struggle all around us. A war is being waged against us. For every believer, there are powers that are trying to bring us down. There are forces that are trying to take us away from God. The battle of our life is at hand. The battle to change our thoughts on God and who He is.

Paul makes it clear though, that the greatest struggle we will ever face, the battle of our life, is not against the things of flesh and blood. It isn’t the visible. There is no doubt that these forces use the visible to tempt us. The things of this world are used to bring us down, but they are just pawns in this game of life. They are the results of the seeds the evil one has planted in us. Sometimes, we don’t give those seeds water. We give those seeds of doubt, trial, temptation and sin to God before they ever take root.

Other times, more times than not in my life, I try to fight them on my own. I fight a losing battle with my own strength. The next thing I know is that this tiny seed of temptation, this simple thought, has sprouted and I don’t know how I got in the middle of the battle. And oh boy, is it a battle to get out. It can be a tiring, exhausting, gut-wrenching battle. At the end, we hurt. Even our flesh seems to hurt.

I will not lie that when days like this happen, I feel so far from God. I feel so distant and the guilt of it all has weighed me down so much. As Paul reminds me in this verse, those feelings which aren’t grounded in fact are used in this struggle. Let me deviate real quick.

There are many days when I let things of the flesh, like hunger or tiredness, get to me. I don’t show nor do I actually depend on God like I should in those moments. Instead, I let what my flesh wants control this life. I become independent of God and of Him being my source. Then because of those things, I let the temptations in because I am too weak to fight. I am too weak to surrender and let God fight. I know what I am supposed to do. I try to do what I should but in the end I still feel fragile and vulnerable. I don’t feel my Father nor do I run to Him.

But at the root of these fleshly attacks are the giant icebergs of my heart. My sick, wicked, sinful heart. Picture an iceberg if you will. You can see 10% of it on top of the surface of the water. Hence, all these fleshly struggles. But beneath the surface of the water lays 90% of the iceberg. Beneath the surface of this man, beneath the superficial struggles, lies the deep rooted sins of a man so depraved and wretched. There lies the sins of self (self-protection, self-pity, selfishness, self-promotion, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and self-admiration) and there lies the sins of the heart that tries to take us from the Presence. Tozer writes that we must not push off thoughts of the unseen world. WE must recognize the unseen. The good. And the evil. Instead of letting evil push us away from God with its temptations, I hope and pray for strength to push into God.

All around us are things trying to take us from God. All these things are deep rooted in sin. The sin of Adam. The sin that causes us to long for the Garden and the communion we once had with God as He strolled in the cool of the day through the Garden. Yet, Satan and his forces throw everything they can at us all so that we may bow at their feet. Because if we bow at their feet, we may say we know God but as Christ mentioned in Matthew 7:21-22, many claim to know God but He never knew them:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Don’t think for a second your battle is just with what you can see. The battle for your life is being waged daily. It is occurring in ways we can’t even see or recognize. This is a very dark world and the darkness that sin has over it can be too much. But remember the great joy that comes from this section of Scripture, God gives us His armor to fight and defend ourselves. He gives us a weapon to attack. Call on God and ask Him for help. Ask Him to reveal to you those icebergs in your life that go to the very root of your soul that causes us to fail. That causes us to not love, to not love God and love others. The icebergs that take us from worshipping our Heavenly Father to worshipping things of this world. We will never be satisfied in this world. It will just take us from truly worshipping God. This world and the powers of evil that use this world don’t want us to stand in awe of the only thing that is truly awe-inspiring. We trust this battle to Jesus. We trust our lives to Christ. Things happen we can’t see. Satan attacks in ways we never know and cannot see. But with the armor of God, we have a defense against wrong thinking. A defense against letting the seeds of sin sprout. A defense against our self-preservation. As God leads us to a vulnerable, intimate relationship with Him, our defenses will grow. In this world we will keep sinning, but what a great God we have. What a great God we have who gave us His Son so that we may be adopted to sonship. Life is hard. It is a battle, a struggle. But God is good. And He is here for you.

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