There was once a boxer who was being pummeled in the ring by his opponent. Blow after blow by his adversary left him with a bloody nose, swollen eyes, and an enormous amount of pain.
The battered boxer’s trainer, trying to encourage his man between rounds, kept telling him, “You’re doing great, Fred. That bum is barely touching you.”
To which the boxer responded, “Then you better keep your eye on that referee, because somebody is killing me!
No amount of smooth talk could camouflage the reality of the bloody battle in which this fighter was engaged. Psychologically correct talk and personal encouragement could not mask the pain he was suffering.
In the same way, you and I are engaged in a real battle, one of cosmic proportions. We know we are facing a real opponent because this world bears the bloody, painful scars of this conflict: war among nations, shattered lives, broken homes, suicide, rape, abuse, and immorality of every kind.
My goal is to help you see that this battle in which you and I are engaged is first and foremost the Lord’s battle, not ours. Only when we see this will we be able to wage victorious spiritual warfare.
I have a declaration to make. You and I are at war! In fact, we are engaged right now in the mother of all battles. No war in history can compare with the battle you and I fighting. It can be either the cause of your greatest joy as a Christian, or of your deepest pain.
The war I am talking about is the spiritual warfare that you became a part of the day you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
This war affects every area of your life. There is no way you can avoid the conflict. There is no bunker of foxhole you can crawl into that will shield you from the effects of this battle between the forces of God and the forces of Satan.
A lot of Christians don’t even know they’re at war. But others can see the results of the battle in their lives, because they have become casualties of spiritual warfare. They are discouraged, depressed, downtrodden, and defeated. Others are marital and family casualties. Divorce, conflict, and abuse are some of the battle scars these believers bear.
Since we are at war, and since there is so much at stake both here on earth and in eternity, we’d better find out what spiritual warfare is about and how to fight the battle successfully.
THE ESSENCE OF THE BATTLE
Let me begin by stating the obvious. The essence of the war we are talking about is spiritual.
Spiritual warfare is that conflict being waged in the invisible, spiritual realm that is being manifest in the visible, physical realm.
In other words, spiritual warfare is a battle between invisible, angelic forces that affect you and me the cause of the war is something you and I can’t see. But the effects are very visible in the kind of problems I mentioned earlier in the day-to-day stuff you and I face all the time.
It’s hard enough to fight an enemy you can see. It’s much harder to fight someone you can’t see. In his classic statement on spiritual warfare, Paul wrote: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”(Eph 6:12).