In our daily meditations over the last few days, we have been looking closely at the unseen world around us and those that inhabit that spiritual plane. Paul the apostle writes that in that realm that intersects with Earth are at least four different categories of spiritual beings that are at war against God’s creation and kingdom:
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For 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 6:10-12).
Paul the Apostle was careful that the Church is aware against whom we are fighting. He tells us of four categories of evil beings. First of all, though, he says that we are to stand against the devil’s schemes or methods (v. 11). Using the analogy of American football, the coach stands beside the field with his playbook. Through his hierarchy of evil, Satan is continually trying different plays against you, although we should not call them "plays." There is nothing playful about his strategies and schemes. He observes your weaknesses and strategizes how he may overcome you. Each of us has areas of weakness where he might find an opening, similar to a lion prowling around: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Let me give you an example:
There is a fable that Satan's agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every effort had met with failure, so Satan, angered with his subordinates' incompetence, became personally involved in the case. He said, "the reason you have failed in that your methods are too crude for one such as this. Watch this." He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered in his ear, "your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria." Instantly the holy man's face showed that Satan had been successful: a great scowl formed over his mouth, and his eyes tightened up. "Envy," said Satan, "is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness."
Do not underestimate the knowledge that Satan and his evil angels and demons have gained over thousands of years as they have watched people go about their daily lives. He knows how the human mind thinks. Remember, Satan is not limited to the earthly life of seventy or so years; he has been at this from the Garden of Eden.
The word translated into English as struggle (v. 12) is the Greek word palē, which means to wrestle swaying back and forth. It carries the thought of two individuals in hand-to-hand combat, each trying different maneuvers to pin the other into submission. Paul says that our struggle or wrestling is not against flesh and blood. In other words, people are never our enemy. The enemy will use people against us when given an opportunity, but the Christian will not retaliate against that person. It is not flesh and blood that we fight against; the fight is against unseen spiritual forces in the heavenly realms. Being aware of these things is essential for us to understand. See opposition for what it is. The REAL battle is with the enemy of our souls. The Lord will give you the strategy to overcome evil with good. Ask God for His plan.
John the Apostle wrote:
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).
I take John to mean that Satan has so structured his evil forces that countries, regions, towns, villages [the whole world], and yes, even people, have some level of enemy personality at work to control what goes on under each enemy sphere of influence. In referencing the whole world under the control of Satan, John the Apostle is talking about the world system set up by Satan against God. Those who are walking with Christ are out from his authority and control (Colossians 1:13). The only way he can influence us is in the area of our minds if we will allow him. We will take a closer look tomorrow at the Greek words used by Paul to describe the four categories of evil spoken in Ephesians 6:12, or you can click the link below to read the in-depth study today.
This meditation is a shortened version of the study: Know Your Enemy.
 Edited by Michael Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Published in 1982 by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Mich. Page 121.