For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, (insert a name) but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
I have been in Ephesians the last few weeks. This verse has been coming to mind as my life battles this season: holidays, over-hill, singleness, life problems, relationships, careening toward retirement. During my study of the “fear nots” I discovered what frightens me (mankind) the most is relationships-people! This verse says our fear fight in not with PEOPLE! It is with something we cannot see. It is an angelic battle for the souls of man. We are caught between heaven and hell–literally–from first to final breath. Chip Ingram of Living on the Edge said “with every trial Heaven and Hell both have an agenda. Satan’s agenda is our destruction and death; God’s agenda is abundant life.” (This is a rough paraphrase out of his study on Nehemiah, Facing Adversity. I highly recommend you listen to this series.)
As I have pondered anew the story of the birth of the Savior, I am struck with sudden awareness: our Savior was also caught in this spiritual battle JUST AS WE ARE from the moment of His immaculate conception. Once He left His heavenly home, He was marked as enemy #1. If we look closely at His story we can feel the battle raging around His sweet life.
An angel approaches Mary to “bring good tidings of great joy.”
His sweet mama, is now branded and at risk of stoning, (demonic activity to stir discord and hate) but an angel of God intervenes and told Joseph, “fear not to take Mary as his wife.”
On the night He was to open the womb of His mama, not one soul would open their doors and give this young woman shelter, food, and a clean bed. Hell was trying to prevent His safe arrival.
Many angels appeared to some shepherds and said, “fear not for unto you a child is born, unto you a Son is given,” and they sang His praises. The reason–He was born safely and was nestled in His mother’s arms!
Herod (Satan in the flesh) issues a decree for a mini holocaust of 2 year olds in Bethlehem!!! Who but Satan himself would do that?
An angel sent by God warns Joseph and off to Egypt they flee to safety. But what of the broken hearts of all the other families? There were many casualties of this battle.
Jesus, our sweet Jesus, was battled over His whole life. He was tempted like as we are in all things. (Hebrews 4:15) Do you see the battle of the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” amongst mankind? Our struggle is REALLY not with people. It is with an unseen enemy. Jesus came to offer each of us His grace: He chooses to see us as He created us to be not as we are. He came to provide the power to live victoriously despite the sometime vicious attacks by giving us the very armor of God. He came because He wanted to redeem His creation. He came to prove we can live holy lives, at peace with God and man.
Let There Be Peace on Earth by Harlem Boys Choir
Our world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket. The nightly news is enough to discourage the most courageous, optimistic heart. Christmas is a season when we all want our lives to look like a Norman Rockwell painting and to feel like the Waltons and when we can’t find it, our preconceived expectations ruin the holidays, ruin relationships, ruin lives, and rob us of the joy and abundant life He came to bring.
Our struggle is not with the people around us! Our struggle is with an unseen enemy that we each at one time or another have allowed to use our lives to impact another negatively. We unknowingly participate in a heavenly struggle for supreme power and control. We allow the enemy of our souls to use God’s holy objects (man’s actions, words, deeds) for very unholy purposes.
Maybe instead of beating ourselves and others up this coming year we could take the time to recognize where our attitudes, our actions, and our aspirations may originate. If we would do this, the heavenly battle would be more of a skirmish than a juggernaut.
The battle in the heavenlies is real. These heavenly hosts are warriors! It is brutal even for the angels. The good news is we KNOW who prevails! King Jesus and His holy angels!
“Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace, Goodwill Toward Men.” (Luke 2:14)
Treading with angel armies