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. 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 (Ephesians 6:12, 13 NKJV).
Ephesians 6 tells us we are to wrestle and in our wrestling endeavors, we are to stand. Then when we finally come to the place of standing, we are to continue to stand. However, getting to the place of standing means we have had to do some wrestling along the way. To be successful in wrestling we not only continue to have a defensive stance – but we are to move forward in an offensive progression.
Ephesians 6:10 instructs us to “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Just how are we to be strong in the Lord when it comes to spiritual encounters with the enemy?
If you were to talk to military strategists of our Armed Forces, they would tell you that you must know your enemies’ strengths and weaknesses – know your enemy. Know what their weapons are and the ways they operate.
Even more important, you must be knowledgeable and well trained in your own weapons and protocols. Boot camp as well as military life is all about following orders and knowing the rank and order of things.
When it comes to the things of the spirit realm, we must understand who we are wrestling and their tactics of applying pressure against us.
Wrestling in the natural, as well as in the spirit, is a matter of pressure vs. pressure. Many people do not realize the stress they are experiencing may well be that of evil personalities pressing against them. They are oblivious to who is behind the pressure/stress being leveled against them. If they are not aware of a spiritual personality or an agenda to “displace” the person, they will end up being confused, feeling battered and discouraged.
What makes it confusing is many times the demands set against us come through people. When Paul wrote that we are not to wrestle with flesh and blood, but are to wrestle against spiritual forces, we need to make the effort to discern who we are actually wrestling against.
We can realize that people are influenced and sometimes even badgered by evil workers from satan’s band. The spirits in operation may not be seen with natural eyes, but there is a sense something is coercing people’s minds and emotions.
To wrestle means one is matching pressure for pressure with an opponent. One definition is vibrating, which gives us a picture of intensity. Another is to throw down more or less violently. Wrestling is a confrontation with a goal of throwing down and/or making one lose their position; or to lose their place of standing. This happens in the spiritual realm and then we see the effect in the natural realm.
What happens if we do not realize we are in a wrestling match? We will be pushed around in the spirit realm and then wonder why we feel that way in our everyday life. Satan wants to remove us from the place where we will be effective in serving God. He knows when we are confident in spiritual matters, it will consequently bring havoc to his evil operations in our lives, as well as in the lives of others.
Our wrestling conflicts have to do with faith as we step into and walk out what the Lord has spoken to us or desires for us. Undoubtedly, we are talking about being stable in spiritual issues. It means we understand, believe and apply what the Bible teaches us. In turn, our faith grows and that affects things in the natural world around us.
We do not have power to stand in the spiritual battle with normal means. That is why we want to learn to be strong in the Lord and gain experience and knowledge of His mighty power. Jesus won the victory. He already defeated satan along with all his evil underlings. The spiritual battle is based on faith — faith that Jesus overcame all the power and works of the devil.
We become unmovable in our stance by being grounded in the Word of God; in the power of the Blood of Jesus; and in the authority that is in His Name. The spirit realm operates by spiritual laws and principles and it is necessary for us to know how they work. Satan’s strategists will challenge us to see if we are truly anchored in the truths we profess. When you think of the vibrating aspect of wrestling, such shaking can go either way. We can be shaken in what we believe or we can shake loose hell’s hold on the good things God wants for us. It takes a fight of faith, as the Apostle Paul said of our walk (I Timothy 6:12).
Jesus obtained everything we need through His suffering, death and resurrection. We learn about God’s promises and benefits by reading the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths to us in the deepest way. Holy Spirit, anchor the truths of the Bible deep within us so we are not moved or shaken from them.
Jesus is our example in showing us the power of God’s Word against the onslaught of satan. When satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he referred to scripture, twisting and manipulating it to try to get Jesus to fall into his scheme. Instead Jesus quoted the Word in its context of truth. Satan had no defense. He knows about scriptures but there is no truth in him therefore he cannot bring truth. Jesus said the devil is the father of lies — that is all he can bring into any situation. He can bring some facts and adorn them with lies, thus employing his weapon of deception to try to carry out his plan.
“Sanctify (set apart for holy purposes) them through your truth, thy word is truth” (John 17:17, author’s explanation). If you want to stand in the truth, it is a good idea to see what the book of truth has to say. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17). He brings the truths of the Bible and makes them reality within our hearts and minds.
The message of God’s word is that Father God sent Jesus to lay down His life so humankind could be brought back to Him. God had a marvelous plan. When people accept the work of Jesus and ask Jesus to live inside them, it enables them to be reconciled to the Heavenly Father. He does not want them to keep their old corrupted spirit so He makes them completely new. The believer in Jesus Christ becomes a whole new creation. It now is able to meet the standards of His holy kingdom. The newly created species is the righteous extension and expression of His Son. II Corinthians 5:17 says believers become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
Now consider what the new species looks like to satan. In the spirit realm, those born-again believers look just like Jesus. Satan watches to see if they act like Jesus in the natural realm, or walk in the authority like Jesus did. Satan is well acquainted with his defeat, but he will challenge those who profess Christ to see just how secure they are in what they believe. The dynamics of wrestling then come into play. Faith presses back against unbelief and accusations.
Again, we have the Holy Spirit to help us, to strengthen us and to teach us what we need to know. He is our Helper and we can count on Him. Holy Spirit, we need you to help us understand about who we are in Jesus Christ.
Yes, knowing who we are in Jesus Christ is the rock-solid foundation where we can stand and overcome every onslaught of the enemy. Jesus said we do not need to be afraid because He has overcome the world. That speaks about everything that satan has ever done or is capable of doing.
We can learn who we are in Christ by learning what the Bible says about us. There are many scriptures which refer to our lives in Christ and the promises of our victory in Him. Such references are found when it refers to “in Him”, “through Christ”, “by Him” and others. We can speak these scriptures, not only for our understanding, but they also establish statements in the spirit realm that declare a truth that both the kingdoms of heaven and darkness recognize as carrying power.
A clash in the spirit realm is met with knowing what the Bible says about the believer and is acted upon by faith. We gain strength and confidence when what we know becomes established in faith. We ask the Holy Spirit to solidity within us truths about our authority and privileges as a child of the Living God. We then will be bold in applying God’s measure of pressure in our wrestling episodes.
James 4:7 boils it down into a very concise account. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he shall flee from you.” Learn all that the Lord has for you. Get His counsel. Press, resist, apply pressure to the enemy. He must obey.
Learn of your victorious Jesus, and stand strong.