Sound the Battle Cry!
It was A.W. Tozer that, as he observed the early years of our nation’s history, noted “a wide gulf between our modern attitudes and those of our fathers.” He stated, “In the early days…men conceived the world to be a battleground. Our fathers believed in sin and the devil and hell as constituting one force, and they believed in God and righteousness and heaven as the other.” Sadly, however, as he observed the attitudes of modern professing Christians, he noted that “the idea that this world is a playground instead of battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians.”
In Ephesians 6, we are reminded that every Christian is in a battle. This battle is not a physical conflict against “flesh and blood” (v. 12) but is spiritual in nature. We don’t call for a crusade; rather, we “wrestle…against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (v. 12). In the physical realm, the Christian is to strive to “live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). The Christian’s enemy is not against people. It is against spiritual powers that cause men to oppose God. These spiritual powers are threefold: the world, the flesh, and Satan. The world system that we are fighting against is fueled by “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 Jn. 2:16). It is truly “society apart from God.” The world is our external enemy that Satan uses to attack us. The flesh is our old Adamic nature in which “dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). The Adamic nature still hangs onto the Christian while in this body of flesh and opposes all that is spiritual in life of the Christian. The flesh is our internal enemy that Satan uses to cripple us. The Devil is the leader. He is the “accuser of the brethren”, the “adversary”, and the enemy of God. The believer battles these three things every day.
But God has not left us to suffer defeat. Rather, He has promised us victory! 1 John 5:4 says, “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” God has given us special equipment necessary to fight the battle before us. He has made available to us “the whole armour of God.” God has given us all we need to win. By faith, we are called to put on the armor that God has provided (Eph. 6:14-17). It is available upon salvation, but there must be a daily appropriation of God’s battle gear. To leave any part of your spiritual life unguarded is to put you in danger of a crippling blow from the enemy. It is vitally important that one take seriously their duty to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day” (Eph. 6:13).