Seeing the Warfare
A devotional by Jessica Brodie
Have you ever been to one of those 4D interactive theaters, the kind where instead of watching a screen and hearing the sound, you get those special glasses that transform the images into an illusion of three-dimensional solidity? Synchronized special effects also occur in the theater, like vibration, mist, wind, and more. It’s a multi-sensory cinematic experience.
But here’s the thing: When you take your special glasses off, the screen is blurry. You can’t see anything. You have a vague sense of what is on the screen, but it’s not clear.
Then, when you put the glasses back on, everything is right again.
This reminds me so much of the spiritual warfare going on all around us every single day, and how many of us can’t really see it—or don’t understand it’s there at all.
A few weeks ago on my blog, I shared about some of the troubles going on in my life lately: car issues, needing to replace our washing machine and refrigerator, a widening hole in my deck, six months spent living in our guest room because our pipes froze and flooded our bedroom, my daughter’s ongoing struggles with debilitating anxiety, and loved ones battling cancer including my nine-year-old niece, Kendall.
I could be tempted to think these are simply “tough times.” But my eyes are now trained to see it for what it is, and I absolutely know beyond the shadow of a doubt that much of this is spiritual warfare. It’s the evil one causing cracks in my life to get my focus off God and the work God intends for me. And because I know what’s going on, I also know how to counter it. I know to stay in prayer and God’s word constantly. I know to keep faith and hope, and I know that God will always triumph over evil.
With my eyes open, I can see so much.
I couldn’t always see this. I grew up in churches that didn’t talk about the enemy (the devil, the evil one) very often, let alone spiritual warfare. But as an adult, my faith has deepened. I have distinctly chosen to follow Jesus Christ, not just in my belief but in the way I live my life. I have committed every area in my life to him, and because of that, I do certain things that help me draw and remain close to him—prayer, worship, daily Bible reading, surrounding myself with other Christians, etc.
I am well aware that good and evil exist in the world, and that there is a vicious battle going on for this world. On one side is God and God’s heavenly armies, fighting to shine his light into the darkness. On the other is the enemy, the devil, using his demons and others to sow seeds of distraction and discord and evil.
Make no mistake: The devil is real. In 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV), we’re told, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
The Gospels tell us Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). Satan entered Judas Iscariot the night of the Last Supper (John 13:27), and Judas went and betrayed Jesus to those seeking to arrest and kill him.
In 1 John 5:19, we’re told “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”
But we are not of the world. As the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:20-21, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
There is a mighty spiritual battle going on, all around us. Some of us cannot yet see it, but some of us can. And it is indeed real.
But there is hope. As Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Because God loves us who are his children—those of us who follow Christ and who believe and repent of their sins—he helps us fight the battle.
In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us about one of those helpful tools: the armor of God, provided by the Lord to help protect us.
As the apostle Paul writes, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13).
This armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet readied with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:14-17).
God provides this armor of God for our protection. He loves us, and he knows how difficult this world can be.
Jesus talked about that in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The battle is real. We don’t need special 3D glasses to see it. As we grow in our spiritual journey with Jesus and draw closer to the Lord, these “special glasses” of faith gradually begin to replace our regular vision, and we start to see the daily battle clearly.
But take heart: God wins at the last. The One who created time knows how it all ends: with God in control. Some of the people on this earth who are not aware of the spiritual battle might find themselves becoming casualties of war, snapped up in their unsuspecting state by forces of evil who want to steer them away from the Lord.
Don’t be led astray.
In closing, remember this promise from God in James 4:8 (NIV): “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Let’s Pray: Lord, help us see the spiritual battles going on in our lives and use the tools You give us to counter them and draw a cloak of protection around us and our loved ones. Help us stay strong and keep our focus on You in the storms of life. In Jesus’ s Name I pray. Amen.
Song of Reflection: "Whom Shall I Fear (God Of Angel Armies)" by Chris Tomlin. Listen to it here.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden.
She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com.
Jessica has a weekly YouTube devotional and podcast. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.