The basic truth of the Bible and practical Christian life
A book about meaning of life - by Arvid Aasen
Chapter - 8
Spiritual struggle, the devil, and demons
Why does Ephesians 6:12 say; «For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.» We Christians are set free, it is all by grace ... What do we as Christians have to do with spiritual struggle?
As long as we are still living here on this earth, in the earthly body God has given us, we must defend ourselves against the devil's cunning attacks. Jesus said in John 10:10a «The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.» In Revelation 12 and Isaiah 14, a war in heaven is described including how the devil was cast out of heaven when he tried to make himself like God. The first two people, Adam and Eve, painfully experienced the devil's cunning attack, when he said that they would become like God if they ate of the fruit on the tree for the knowledge of good and evil. They listened to the devil, disguised as a serpent and that led humans into a constant spiritual struggle and separation from God.
As Christians, we stand against the dark forces of the devil, it is after all, the forces of darkness we are saved from. The only problem is that we are not always aware that we are in a spiritual battle because the devil wants us away from the understanding of who God is, of who we are in Christ, and what is in store for us for this earthly life. The meaning of life is to live with the true Love that is God. Life continues in heaven with God when our earthly body dies. Our soul lives forever. The devil knows this, and he is jealous, because he himself was cast out of heaven where God is so he does what he can to destroy it for you and me so that we don't get to live together with God.
Many Christians can confirm that the spiritual struggles become stronger and stronger the more they are clear and firmer in their faith. It has its "natural" explanation; In a war, no warriors shoot at dead horses, they are already dead, but they shoot at the living horses that are running. Christians who read the Bible, pray, and share the gospel with others can be compared to the living horses.
The fallen angels and demons mentioned in the Bible will do anything to stop active Christians. The struggles can manifest itself interpersonally, but the real battle is in the heavenly realms. That is why Ephesians 6:12 says; «For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.» further in verses 13 and 17 it is said: «Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand… - And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.»
I grew up in a fairly sheltered home with no great spiritual struggles, at least I did not experience those struggles myself. In adulthood and in church work, I didn’t think that I experienced these struggles either, but without knowing what spiritual struggle really was, I have found that this is something all of us believers are in - a constant spiritual struggle. We were greatly surprised when we began to understand what spiritual struggle was and how it manifested itself. Although most of this struggle is the "sedative" the devil uses to get us away from God's word, prayer, and belief in who God is, the struggles become clearer and harder the closer we are to God.
As new immigrants to France, a Christian prayer lady came to visit us. The first thing she said when she came through the door of our home was; «Do not say a word! I don't know you and before you say anything, I want to share what I feel God has chosen you to do here in France.» She picked up four closely written A4 pages where she had made notes for several years, and she began to read. She said, among other things, that God had shown her in her spirit a family from the north moving to France. Without knowing us or knowing anything more about us other than that we were from Norway and that we had come as missionaries, she described in detail what God had called us to. These descriptions she gave matched the ones I had written down in detail just a few weeks prior when I experienced God speaking to me and described the mission He had led us into. This is one of the ways the prophetic gift operates, where God gives dreams and vision and then confirms it using outsiders. That way we can dare to move forward in faith in what God leads us into, but this was a sidetrack to what I wanted to say here.
We experienced this lady as sent from God and we experienced that what she said was an important confirmation that we were on the right path. She had now put herself in a vulnerable spiritual position, which she painfully experienced the day after. She and her daughter were at their home. The daughter sat at the kitchen table doing homework while she was in her bedroom. The daughter needed help from her mother and therefore called out to her, but she did not answer. As the daughter entered the bedroom, she found her mother beaten, lying in a pool of blood on the floor. Her two front teeth were gone, one was torn out by the root and the other cracked straight off. The daughter called the ambulance, and the mother was taken to the hospital to the emergency room. But what had happened? The house was quiet, and the rooms shared a wall (the bedroom and the kitchen were next to each other), so the daughter should have been able to hear someone hurting her mother in the bedroom. In addition, the only way into the mother's bedroom was through the kitchen where the daughter sat and did her homework, but no one had passed her as she had not seen anyone go by. It turned out that her husband, who was a member of an occult sect, had gathered his friends and they had their ritual in this home the same day she visited us. Although her husband was at work when this happened, it was demons who harmed her. We met this lady a week later, where she confirmed to us this story and her two front teeth were still gone, so she lisped when she spoke.
In the beginning, when we began to experience such spiritual realities, we could hardly believe what we saw or experienced. But we soon learned that asking God for the protection of Jesus' blood and the angelic guard around us every day was a necessity. The invisible world is as real as the visible world.
Colossians 1:16 «For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.»
Hebrews 11: 3 «By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.»
Since this belongs to the real world, we need to understand how to live in it and stay close to God. Christian life is like swimming upstream in a river, if one stops swimming for a short time, the current leads us quickly down the river and it takes a lot of effort to fight back up. Fortunately, we have cry out to God for help, but if one does not understand the spiritual dimension and the lie they are being served, it is not certain that they will understand that they must ask God for help and salvation.
The fellowship with God in prayer is therefore important all day long. The apostle Paul understood this and it is not without reason that he says in 1 Corinthians 14: 18-19 «I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.» I have said many times «Paul, I give you competition.» Paul no longer lives here on earth, and we cannot pray to him, but I experience that what he points to in relation to speaking in tongues works. Yes, I am filled with the Holy Spirit, and I speak in other tongues. I actively use this tool in prayer. If I'm on the Paris Metro, I can sit and pray in tongues inside me. When I drive alone, I often pray aloud in tongues, or when I walk or sit down, I often pray in tongues. In the periods when I use this actively, I also see God's power being confirmed more and more. We are a living temple of the Holy Spirit; we live in a spiritual world, and we must dare to relate to this.