“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.” Ephesians 6:12
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10
I’m not one to see a demon behind every bush. A lot of our problems are due to sin in us, sin in others, living in a fallen world full of death, disease, and disaster, and factors we can’t fully understand.
But sometimes, the enemy is involved.
I forget about him a lot. He’s often the last thing I consider. I’ll try to slug it out, pray it out, talk it out, think it out, and only then, when the hits keep coming, do I remember, “Oh yeah. There’s someone who is actively waging war against me. He wants to steal from me, kill me, and utterly destroy me.”
That is Satan’s objective, after all (John 10:10). He hates God and wants to hurt us to hurt him.
Just as God has a universal and a unique plan for each person, Satan does too. He wants to annihilate believers, but in the absence of being able to do that, he’ll settle for various schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11) – tailor suited to render us ineffectual.
We know from Scripture that Satan’s fate is sealed. God wins, and he loses. We don’t fight for victory; we fight from victory. And the devil only operates within the power God has allotted to him.
Still, there is a battle, and we’re foolish to think that we can step out in God’s purposes without encountering resistance from the other side.
When things get irrationally hard, it may be time to step back and ask “Is the enemy actively at work in this, and if so, how?”
Of course, we should always wear our armor (Ephesians 6: 10-18) and stay alert (1 Peter 5:8), like good soldiers in the midst of a warzone.
Books like The Screwtape Letters and This Present Darkness can help us remember that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12) but against the invisible opposition.