In conclusion be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armour so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. (JBP)
C. S. Lewis once said that when it comes to the devil, we can make one of two opposite errors. We can dismiss him as some harmless superstition and thus be ignorant of his schemes. Or we can focus on him and thus become absorbed in his schemes and being inadvertently captured in his web of lies.
Paul reminds us that our real enemy is the evil one, that rebellious spiritual being whose obsession is to dehumanise us through lies and deceit. He may work through other people, through earthly structures, through demonic influences. But his methods are often subtle and so we need to be on our guard. Not paranoiac, but watchful; not alarmed but alert.
While we must never give undue attention to the evil one, blaming him for every stubbed toe or every minor car accident, neither must we ignore what he is up to when things go repeatedly wrong in our lives. He is out to undermine our faith and will use any and every means of doing so.
Since he is a spiritual adversary, he must be resisted with spiritual means. Prayer, scripture reflection, fellowship, worship and any other spiritual discipline at hand. He is a powerful enemy, not to be underestimated. Yet he is a defeated enemy, not to be feared.
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