The Invisible War
Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power.
Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens."There is a war going on. It is not a war that is like the wars which are currently going on between nations today (although such wars may be a part of the bigger war). It is a spiritual war. It is a war between Satan and his fallen celestial allies and Christ and His church.
For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.
It is an invisible war in that we fight against unseen forces. It is therefore a war which must be waged by faith, and not by sight. It is a war that we cannot fight in our own strength, but only in the strength which God Himself supplies.
During the Second World War, my father, and many other men received a letter in the mail, that began something like this:
'Greetings from the President of the United States.'
That letter, as you may know, was notification of having been drafted into the military.
The President’s 'greeting' was not an invitation, it was a summons. One did not dare to ignore this letter, without expecting serious consequences.
Paul’s instructions concerning the spiritual war are similar:
Every Christian has been drafted, not to fight a physical war, but to fight a spiritual war.
We are not encouraged to take up the 'full armor of God,' we are commanded to do so.
These verses are our marching orders, and we dare not ignore them, or fail to carry them out to the letter.
The war is not being waged to see which side will win. God has already won the war by the death of His Son on the cross of Calvary.
The war is a matter of trusting and obeying our Lord. As we do so now, in these evil days, we prepare ourselves for the great 'evil day' which is yet to come.
When our life comes to an end, I pray that we will be able, like Paul, to say, 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.' "
Robert Deffinbaugh, Dallas Theological Seminary, pastor, Community Bible Chapel, Richardson, Texas.