Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12
There is a battle going on for our hearts and souls. Sometimes we feel it and know what’s going on as it plays out. Other times we don’t realize that we are fighting a real war until after we’ve just been defeated in some way. The fight is in the heavenly realms, a place we can’t see. Heaven, Hell, God, angels and demons reside in this spiritual world. Our spirit interacts somehow with this spiritual world, like when we pray and quote Scripture and speak the name of Jesus.
Know this: Satan is after us. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus told Peter, “Satan demands to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” Satan wants to pulverize our faith, but Jesus fights for us. Satan uses people, but our battle isn’t against people, though at face value that’s what it seems like. There are spiritual forces of evil that are at work in this world and are at work against us. They demand to have us.
In Revelation 12:10 it says that Satan accuses us before God day and night. He looks for our weaknesses and pounces on them. He is a roaring lion wanting to devour us, as 1 Peter 5:8 warns. We can either underestimate our opponent, Satan, or we can overestimate his powers and abilities.
Let’s start with what happens when we underestimate Satan’s power and influence. Peter the disciple brashly declared, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death,” in Luke 22:33. And then, not much later, he denied Jesus three times. Perhaps he overestimated his own moxy, or he underestimated what Jesus said about Satan wanting to sift him like wheat. At any rate, he denied Jesus and learned that he wasn’t as strong as he thought he was and that Satan was stronger than he thought he was.
Self confidence is good to have, but it’s not enough to withstand sifting from evil forces. The good news for Peter and for us is that even when we fall, is that Jesus intercedes for us, He fights for us, and it is He who keeps us from falling eternally, according to Jude 24.
We can’t overestimate Satan and underestimate God. Some people give the devil more power than he has, allowing him to control them by fear, much like a bully does. 1 John 4:4 triumphantly states, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world.” Colossians 2:15 announces that Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them at the cross.” Jesus is stronger and He is on our side!
Stand in Jesus and what He has done for us, and for the protection and strength that comes from Him. Our flesh and self confidence may fail us, but Jesus never fails. He gives us spiritual weapons and spiritual armor. Make it your goal to learn how to use them.