Over the last few days at groupbiblestudy.com, we have been thinking about Paul’s words in his letter to the Ephesian church about the Christian's struggle with four categories of supernatural evil forces. Today we come to the fourth category. Here again, is the text:
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).
4) The Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Realms. These evil spirits can be compared to your basic foot soldiers. These are demons of varying lower ranks that oppose and obstruct men and women from searching and finding the truth in this world. These demons target not only non-Christians but also hinder the spiritual growth of God’s people after they commit their lives to Christ. Every man or woman of God may have been assigned a demonic spirit looking for ways to weaken and destroy the testimony and faith of the believer. The principal weapon of these forces of evil is to sow destructive thoughts in the seedbed of people's minds. Negative evil thoughts, if we allow them to, can germinate and grow and become attitudes and habits designed to enslave people and bring them into bondage to Satan. The higher the level of influence you have in the Kingdom of God, the higher the rank and cleverness of the evil spirit assigned to you. The enemy also assesses your potential to damage his kingdom. If he thinks you are a threat to the realm of darkness, he will oppose you and try to stop you from becoming a challenge. Be strong in the power of God’s might, not your own—pray through every opposition to your growth in Christ. Be diligent in the things of God.
Some attacks may be more than thoughts and go deeper into oppression. You cannot stop the birds of the air flying about your head, but you can prevent them from making a nest in your hair. If we buy into dark thoughts and mull over them, they can become feelings, such as depression, discouragement, frustration, bitterness, and resentment, among many other things. As you grow older and more mature in Christ and can cast down such thoughts, you may find that the enemy changes his strategy of attack. In my early days as a Christian, the enemy would plant a thought, such as "You don't really believe in God, do you?" As I got older and more mature in my walk with Christ, that thought would no longer come to me, for the enemy knew he was wasting his time sowing that seed thought. I had come to a firm, logical, Bible-centered belief in God. I had thoroughly researched and weighed the evidence and come to reliable conclusions on which to base my faith.
A Disarmed Enemy
You may not be aware of being in a battle, but let me assure you if you are a disciple of Christ, you are in a fight whether you like it or not (2 Timothy 3:12). Some Bible expositors believe that Revelation 12:4 indicates that Satan has won over to his side a third of the stars of heaven. The belief is that the stars mentioned are supernatural beings now called demons. I don't know if that is the proper interpretation of that passage, but I do believe there are a multitude of spiritual forces of evil that inhabit the unseen realm. They are structured in such a way to do the maximum damage they can to the Kingdom of God. We need not fear these demons and evil spirits that are against us because Christ has triumphed over them by the cross, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).
The Word of God is clear about the power that lies within those who are born-again of the Spirit. The Scripture says, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Who is in us? If you are a believer, Christ Jesus took up residence in our hearts when we received the gift of eternal life. It is He who said: “I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19). The apostle Peter assures us that Christ has conquered all the power of the enemy and sat down alongside the Father in the throne room, and enemy powers are under His feet:
Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him (1 Peter 3:22 emphasis mine).
We have nothing to fear from our defeated foe, for he was disarmed 2000 years ago. He may still be a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), but he lost his teeth and claws at the cross of Christ. Keith Thomas
This meditation is a shortened version of the more in-depth study: Know Your Enemy