“For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
— EPHESIANS 6:12 (NRSV)
This is a critical message for reflection, both deep and ongoing. We have one real reason why we should love every single person on earth, and be true, and not speak against people for the things the say or do against us. (We are all made in the image of God – we are all loved by God.) When we work against people or people work against us – it is actually the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers, and the spiritual forces of darkness that indwell and work in them and us.
By our free will, engaged to the satisfaction of working for ourselves, we invoke the powers of darkness in our lives. When our guardian angels would otherwise protect us in the infinite power of the Holy Spirit, it is we who depart from that protection – by our free will, as we engage with dark spirits that make us filthy in a second.
It is the spirit of darkness that finds the weak niche in us and exploits us with an attack of flattering attraction; we are courted, seduced, and then (self) condemned! We don’t see it until it’s too late. Departing the presence of the angels of light is something we do routinely, yet the moment we turn back to God – displaying obedience for the will of God – because God always wants us to return – is the moment we find protection from the angels is restored to us.
A key thing to remember is God has designed the salvation life as a relational life – burgeoning with opportunity and experiences to show grace, mercy, compassion, love.
The moment we start to berate people – whether openly or secretly – is the moment we fight flesh and blood and leave the real enemy to his own devices.
We have to be on our guard. The enemies of darkness prowl, but the enemies of light are there to admonish and rebuke us in truth. Whenever we criticise or are criticised and the truth isn’t honoured, we are fighting the wrong enemy.
This is our warning: fight not the person, but their method and the issue. Go to great pains to respect all people. We can argue convincingly and still continue friendships and associations. But only when we love the other person, beyond the issue, by exercising continual forgiveness and grace do we fight the real enemy and glorify the purposes of God.
It’s not people who are against us, ever, but it’s the evil powers and spiritual forces of darkness that are the real enemy. Christians should not fight people, but the invisible forces of darkness. The fight is against an unseen enemy. We ought to love those who appear to be enemies.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.