Summary: Paul tells us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness. We are involved in a spiritual warfare.
Paul says our conflict is not with flesh and blood, but with powers of darkness (v. 12).
1. Our source of strength in waging this warfare - v. 10
Too many Christians today have enough faith to make them “decent” but not enough to make them “dynamic.” The reason is that we depend on our ingenuity rather than the Spirit’s inspiration.
Paul says since we are involved in a spiritual warfare, our strength must come from a spiritual source. As long as we trust in the strength and might of men, we won’t see the power and might of God!
Spiritual warfare that requires spiritual resources and spiritual strength! That’s why we must realize that the strength we need to wage this warfare will come only from the Lord. He is our source of strength.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV)
“Wait” means “to trust, hope, or have confidence in.” The phrase, “those who wait” speaks of continual action. This person is one who trusts the Lord in everything. Originally, the Hebrew word meant “to twist, bind.” It speaks of the twisting process used in making rope, which is a tool that is strong and capable of holding a heavy weight. Waiting on, or trusting in the Lord strengthens us in three ways:
A. Improved perspective - “wings like eagles”
B. Informed priorities - “run and not be weary”
C. Incredible perseverance - “walk and not faint”
2. The enemy we face in waging this warfare - vs. 11-12
Our enemy is the devil and his demons. Because he is a created being, he is not omnipresent. So, he works through a well-defined organization. In verse 12, Paul tells us of Satan’s organization:
A. Rulers - Generals (Daniel 10:12-13 - Prince of Persia)
B. Authorities - Commissioned Officers
C. Powers of this dark world - Propaganda Agents
D. Spiritual forces of evil - Rank & File Demons
“Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”- 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)
Men don’t believe in the devil now, as their fathers used to do,
They have opened the gates of widest creeds, to let his majesty through,
And never a sign of his cloven hoof, or dart from his fiery bow,
Is seen in all the earth today, for the people have voted it so.
But who is mixing the deadly draught, that poisons heart and brain,
And loads the bier of each passing year, with ten hundred thousand slain?
Who blights the bloom of the earth today, with the fiery breath of hell?
If the devil isn’t and never was,
Won’t somebody rise and tell?
Who dogs the steps of the toiling saint, digs a pit for his feet,
And sows the tares in the field of time, wherever God sows wheat?
The skeptic says that the devil’s dead, and of course, what he says is true!
But who is doing the awful work that the devil alone can do?
If there isn’t a devil, whence all the sin, and jarring and hideous sounds
That are heard in senate and mart and home, to earth’s remotest bounds?
It may be true what the scoffer says, that the devil is dead and gone,
But sensible folks would like to know,
WHO CARRIES HIS BUSINESS ON?
We must “give the Devil his due.” He and his demons are real and are our enemy in this warfare.
3. What our strategy is in waging this warfare - v. 13
The word translated “stand” means “to defend the ground already taken.” It speaks of waging war from a position of victory. How was this victory won? How was this ground taken? By the cross of Christ!
In secular warfare, tactical victory (taking hills, cities, etc.) makes strategic victory (the overall victory-winning the war) possible. In spiritual warfare the opposite is true. It is the strategic victory (the overall victory won by Christ by the cross) that makes our tactical victories (individual, daily victories) possible.