Spiritual Warfare Is a Contact Sport

Can you imagine wrestling an opponent but never making contact with them? Obviously, in the sport of wrestling, you are very close to your opponent. Likewise, when it comes to spiritual warfare, we are in close contact with our opponent. Though it is not a friendly wresting match, it is a fight that is very serious. Paul writes, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God so that you might be able to stand against the trickery of the Devil. Because our wrestling is not with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies” (Eph. 6:10-12).  

Paul points out that we are to equip ourselves with God’s might and God’s protection. The reason is that our opponents are spiritual and wicked. If we wrestle with spiritual forces, then we are in close proximity with them. You cannot wrestle someone from a distance.

Have you ever seen sunlight beaming through a window and noticed all the dust particles floating in the air? You may think the sunlight drew the particles together, but actually the light simply is revealing what is in the air. Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). He shines light in this dark world. When Jesus came into this dark world, He revealed the demonic world around us. The gospel narratives reveal the many times demonic forces encountered Christ (Matt. 8:28, 29; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:33-36). Jesus, as the Light of the World, simply reveals the evil in our spiritual environment. If Jesus simply reveals the powers of darkness around us, then shouldn’t we arm our minds with the truth that the powers of darkness are about us? This is in accordance with what Paul wrote in Ephesians.

Following are a couple of things to note in Paul’s passage in Ephesians 6:12:

  • All Christians, not some, wrestle or struggle with the satanic host.
  • The satanic host is organized and it is evil
  • The satanic host works with Satan to carry out his schemes (Eph. 6:11).

In a future study I would like to elaborate on the occult and Satan’s more blatant attacks, but for now I will point out the more subtle ways of the enemy. The defense Paul alludes to gives us clues of how Satan, with his angels, attacks. Satan attacks with lies, so we need to protect ourselves with truth (Eph. 6:14). He attacks with sin, so we need to protect ourselves with righteous living (Eph. 6:14). We need to diminish his evil by expanding God’s kingdom (Eph. 6:15). Satan attacks our faith, so we need to protect ourselves with faith (Eph. 6:16). We need to keep in mind that we are saved and belong to God (Eph. 6:17). We need to be armed with the truth of the Bible and ward off Satan’s attack with the Word just as Jesus did (Matt. 4:1-11).  Finally, we need to maintain an active prayer life to keep ourselves plugged into God’s fellowship and power (v. 18). By applying the imperatives that Paul gives (Eph. 6:13-18), we can win in the wrestling match with the Evil One.