Eph 6:12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
According to my recent search, we have covered the topic of spiritual warfare many times here, but tucked away in a very old post — you had to click a button to read the full piece — I discovered a collection of scriptures on the topic, and thought they were deserving of being presented here. These are from a sermon I did many years ago in Toronto, and I think I was in my NLT phase at that time! Many of the copied texts are consecutive verses in the same passage.
1) We are in a war.
2Ti 3:12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
2) We are fighting on enemy territory.
1Pe 2:11 Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls.
Jhn 15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
3) We are not to use the enemy’s weapons
2Cr 10:3 We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods.
(We don’t fight the way the world fights.)
2Cr 10:4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.
2Cr 10:5 With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.
4) We may lose some skirmishes but eventually we win the war
a) We can do this! Previously attained perfection is not required.
Rom 7:21 It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
Not the verse you were expecting? And this was Paul! But using the language of the Olympic games, he “pressed on toward the prize” and wrote:
2Cr 12:6 I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it. I don’t want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and my message,
2Cr 12:7 even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.
2Cr 12:8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
2Cr 12:9 Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.
2Cr 12:10 Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So he’s saying, ‘don’t look for inner strength, but know there is strength in weakness.’ We can do this, but on his strength, not our strength.
b) We are the “occupying army” that God has to work with on this enemy territory. Yes, it makes no human sense!
Similarly, victory will come through his logic and reasoning, not our logic and reasoning.
1Cr 1:25 This “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.
1Cr 1:26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you.
1Cr 1:27 Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
1Cr 1:28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important,
1Cr 1:29 so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
c) But we are “people in process,” people being changed into something new.
2Cr 5:14 Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live.
2Cr 5:15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.
2Cr 5:16 So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now!
2Cr 5:17 What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
So we enter into the battle not weighed down by who we were yesterday, but knowing who God is making us into today.
d) The result is that we are to take on the holiness of a holy God.
His picture of what we are collectively becoming is beautiful and radiant.
Eph 5:26b-27 (Message) – Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.
e) But it begins with us as individuals:
What the church is becoming collectively begins with you and me, and our choosing to strive for holiness and righteousness.
Rom 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.