Spirit-filled Christians willingly and capably thrive in the fray of spiritual warfare.

There is no question in Paul’s mind that evil spiritual forces exist as the enemies of all souls. A truly saved soul, united and governed by the Spirit of Christ, is prepared to confidently endure spiritual conflict.

A Description of our Spiritual Warfare (verses 10-13)

Paul begins the passage with an exhortation. A Christ-saturated believer will naturally influence every part of their environment for the Lord. As a result, that light will invite attack from fallen spiritual forces who want to do anything they can to thwart God’s purposes. These forces know that they’re ultimately doomed, and just like us, they don’t know how much time they have – so they are intent in their opposition. Paul’s exhortation is this: You can be strong in the Lord, because our souls have been resurrected from sin and death (Eph. 1:18-22).

Next comes a note for our protection. We can stand firm against evil’s methods when we know what they are. The devil’s very name tells us that he is an accuser. He reproaches us with our sin in our own minds and before God’s throne – but Jesus intercedes his righteousness on our behalf (Romans 8:34).

In a short list, Paul gives an explanation of our foe. There are 4 levels of fallen spirits:

  • Rulers are the commanding officers under Satan. They are given rule over entire nations (Daniel 10:13).
  • Powers form the “cabinet” under each ruler.
  • World forces are governors over different spheres of human culture – philosophical, religious, academic, social, political, etc.
  • The last level includes all other “forces of wickedness.” This is still the strongest word for sin in the New Testament. Satan does not let one spirit under his rule remain inactive.

It is appropriate to have respect for the power and organization of our foe, but never reverence. Our Lord is stronger. We have insight into their comprehensive efforts in order to resist them.

The petition for the believer is to resist. We must stand firm on the whole Word of God but never be found standing still. We must keep moving in the direction of our Great Commission.

The Provision for our Spiritual Warfare (verses 14-17)

Our spiritual armor is outlined according to each piece’s purpose and use. We preserve truth to ensure the continuation of our Gospel witness. We guard our hearts by knowing Jesus and living His righteousness. Our feet are prepared to travel with the Gospel in the environment of the church. Our testimonies are protected by our knowledge of Scripture. Keep your head by allowing God, not earthly philosophy, to inform your intellect. Progress is made with the only offensive weapon – the Word of God.

The Execution of our Spiritual Warfare (verses 18-20)

Spiritual battles are fought by praying, watching, and witnessing. A praying Christian will persevere. Watching Christians are alert and aware, purposeful and protective, always ready to speak the Gospel and give a witness for their hope.

Application Points

  • Are your feet prepared to take the Gospel into the culture? The church is the environment where you can equip yourself. What is one opportunity you can take to become better equipped?

  • How well do you know Scripture? Do you memorize it? Knowing God’s Word is key to resisting temptation. Start with memorizing one verse to resist a particular sin you are prone to.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Revelation 2:13 – Satan’s throne.
  • Mark 5:1-20 – The man possessed by a legion of demons.
  • Proverbs 4:24, Matthew 15:18-19 – Guard your heart.
  • 1 Peter 4:8, Matthew 4:1-11, Psalm 119:9 – Scripture nullifies the influence of temptations.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:4 – Satan seeks to deceive the mind.
  • Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 2:15, John 17:17, Jeremiah 15:16, Psalm 119:105 – The power of God’s Word.
  • 1 John 4:4 – Jesus is greater than any fallen spiritual force.
Quotes to Ponder:

Our enemies are never people. We must see beyond people. Satan may use people to persecute us, lie to us, cheat us, hurt us, or even kill us—but our real enemy lurks in the shadows of the unseen world, moving people as pawns on the chessboard of time. As long as we see people as enemies and wrestle against them, we will spend our strength in vain. Certainly we see wicked people, hear the evil things that they say, and feel hurts they inflict upon us. People are involved, but they are never the real problem. This is not an ordinary battle. We are in a greater arena than the one that we can see.

When it comes to truth, sincerity is not enough: we must be right. The truth of God’s Word ensures the propagation of a spiritual race and a new spiritual reality in Christ. Truth is passed from generation to generation. Children come from the loins, and our little ones must be given the Word of God, taught how to live the Word of God, and then go reproduce their hearts in others.

A Hymn to Encourage: “Soldiers of Christ, Arise”

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies
Through his eternal Son.
Strong in the Lord of Hosts,
And in his mighty pow’r,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts
Is more than conqueror.

Stand then in his great might,
With all his strength endued;
But take, to arm you for the fight,
The panoply of God.
That having all things done,
And all your conflicts past,
Ye may o’ercome through Christ alone,
And stand entire at last.

Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul;
Take ev’ry virtue, ev’ry grace,
And fortify the whole.
From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle and fight and pray;
Tread all the pow’rs of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day.