A Real, Invisible War
I love war movies. I can’t explain it, but they instill courage, like reading The Little Engine Who Could by Watty Piper. One of my favorite war movies is We Were Soldiers (2002). Based on a true story, the movie portrays pinned down American forces who have unknowingly landed on top of a base camp of veteran North Vietnamese soldiers. Outnumbered 400 to 4000, they endured ambushes and certain slaughter once dawn arrived. Instead, reinforcements came in the morning, and their courage rose. The enemy amassed against them fled their stronghold.
Those movies remind me that we are in a real war against a real, though invisible, enemy. We know that the enemy and the war are real because the Bible tells us that it is. In Daniel’s writings we glimpse angel warriors. In the gospels, Jesus confronted spirit beings. Later, Jesus’s disciples Peter and John gave instructions for overcoming the enemy. Throughout the ages, church leaders have written about spiritual warfare, men like Martin Luther, St. Augustine, and A.W. Tozer.
What the War Is (and isn’t)
- It is a cosmic and ancient battle between God and His enemy, Satan, a created angel who rebelled against God’s authority. He commands other angels who followed him in his rebellion. He is against all of God’s plans and purposes, which may involve us when we submit to God and carry out His will.
- It is a wrestling with unseen powers while we live on this earth–according to Paul in Ephesians. The battle is more like chess and less like Call of Duty.
- It isn’t focused on you and I every day. He can’t be our excuse: “The Devil made me say it or do it.” Let’s be clear, we are responsible for every careless word and action. The enemy is not “out to get me.” It’s God that he has in his crosshairs.
- It isn’t behind everything bad thing that happens to us or every disaster that happens in the world. We live in a fallen world that groans in expectation of being restored to perfection again. We will endure the natural consequences of living in a fallen world in physical bodies that are prone to illness and death.
4 Signs You are Facing a Spiritual Battle
- Persistent thoughts that aren’t true. Our enemy works to infiltrate our thoughts and feelings with his own lies. The world bombards us with its false messages.
- Constant thoughts about murder, hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, or self-harm.
- A lack of peace and joy. We may feel that we are living under a cloud of doubt or confusion that has no explainable reason.
- Persistent and non-specific feelings of guilt or continuous condemning and accusing thoughts.
In this 3-part series, I’ll address the victory that is available to every one who believes and follows Jesus. But, we can rest knowing that He fights for us, and He has already won the war. Reinforcements are on the way!
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.Colossians 2:7 NLT