The Battle Is Begun

People know when they’re in a war. They are surrounded by marching soldiers, falling bombs, buildings destroyed, people killed! Those not dead live in chaos, displaced and grieving. Civil War General, William Sherman, said, “War is hell!” When we look around us, we’d have to agree.

What we  fail to see is that there is a war that goes on 24/7, even in times of peace. The goal of this war is not for property; it’s not about payback for past wrongs; it’s not even about race. This war has one primary objective — to destroy you.


That destruction may not be physical, though the enemy has and does go to extremes. Your enemy wants to control your spirit. Your enemy wants you to conform to its patterns, practices and priorities.

The  individual battles of this war must be fought … and they must be fought by you.


For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

St. Paul lived in violent times. The Romans had conquered most of the known world. They ruled with an iron hand. We’re told in Luke of “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices” (Luke 13:1). Scripture doesn’t say what the Galileans had done to upset Pilate, the Roman governor. Whatever it was, Pilate didn’t hesitate to have them murdered. He slaughtered the people and the lambs they were bringing to the Temple, “mingling” their blood. It was Pilate who later, even knowing he was innocent, allowed Jesus’ enemies to crucify him.

There was a group of men in Judea who had organized to fight the Romans. These were the Zealots. They urged a rebellion against Rome. Their call to oppose the Romans ended when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Romans killed between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people at that time.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians around 60 AD. Jerusalem had not yet fallen. That meant that Christians faced a double threat! They had to stand against not only the Romans, but also the Jewish authorities. These “holy people” wanted to hunt down Jesus’ followers and arrest them. After a trial, like Jesus’, they would imprison or kill the Christians.

Paul explains that the Christian’s real enemy was not “flesh and blood.” It wasn’t the Romans or the religious authorities. The real enemy of God’s people — your enemy! — is “evil forces in heavenly places,” “cosmic powers of darkness.” You are in a cosmic struggle. That means it is a constant and ongoing battle. It will only end when Jesus returns in glory. Then he will proclaim his victory over all evil authorities.

Success won’t be in the physical defeat of the enemy, like the Zealots sought. Your battle is to stand firm against the true enemy. You need to realize their lies … reject their values … refuse to conform to their ways and values. Jesus was crucified for his resistance; but the victory is his. Stand firm, and that is your victory too!

  • What does it mean to you to “stand firm”?
  • Do you have the ability to overcome “cosmic powers and forces of evil”? Who does?
  • How is Jesus’ victory over darkness, your victory?

Leave a Reply