The War Behind Our Woe

by Hal Lindsey
The ongoing assault on police is just one front in the ongoing war between raging chaos and peaceful civility.  On another front stands Islamic terror.  But a bigger threat comes from “values-terrorists” — people out to undercut the notions of right and wrong that make civilization possible.  These are three areas of conflict among thousands in an ongoing war that is bigger and older than most people can imagine.
In his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote, “Enemy-occupied territory — that is what this world is.”
The enemy he spoke of is neither a nation, human being, nor political persuasion.  It is the devil himself.  C. S. Lewis, the brilliant Oxford don, believed whole-heartedly in a universe within and without our universe — a set of spiritual dimensions.  The Bible describes this spirit realm as a place where entities exist, think, plan, and, in mysterious but real ways, influence human lives.
As we go deeper into the last days, we see a growing paradox concerning Satan.  A smaller percentage of people in western nations believe in him than at any time in the last thousand years.  And yet, his power, chutzpah, rebellious ways, and even his evil are celebrated as heroic throughout popular culture.  With fewer and fewer taboos, the craving for forbidden fruit drives humanity lower and lower until finally it begins to praise this abominable embodiment of evil — Satan.
The Bible shows him intensifying his activities in the end times.  One day, through the Antichrist, Satan will demand the worship he has long craved from every person on earth.  Until then, he walks a tightrope — pleased to work stealthily behind the scenes, but more pleased to be praised and celebrated.
I don’t talk about him because I enjoy the topic.  I talk about him because we will never understand the world around us if we don’t understand his role in it.  And don’t kid yourself.  His role is huge!
Jesus called him, “the ruler of this world.” (John 16:11 NASB)  With such a “ruler,” it’s no wonder that just a few verses later Jesus would say to His followers, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33 NIV)
The Church was born into a world of trouble.  But thankfully, there’s more to John 16:33 than the part I quoted above.  The entire verse says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”
We are in the middle of a spiritual combat zone.  Battles rage around us.  But Jesus tells us to “take heart” because He’s already won the war.  And when you’ve already won, the power of the opponent becomes inconsequential.  Early Christians squarely faced the raging anger of Rome, the greatest empire in the history of the world… and they thrived!
Today, the earth reels from a planet-wide rise in vitriol.  The rage that has long boiled beneath the surface seems to be emerging more often and with greater ferocity.  And it is global — touching every inhabited part of the globe.
As Christians, we must recognize the spiritual component in these events.  Every outbreak of human wickedness bears the fingerprints of a monster from the deep — the “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV)
That’s why 2 Corinthians 10:3 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” (NKJV)
Ephesians 6:11-12 says, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (NASB)
I’m not giving anyone a pass here.  “The devil made me do it” is never a valid excuse.  We all make choices and all choices have consequences.  I am saying that while society must hold every person responsible for his or her crimes, we Christians need to be aware of the spiritual component.  We must not forget the identity of our real enemy.
We face difficult times.  Many have fallen into despair.  Remarkably, in such times, the work of Christ bears its greatest fruit.  But it must be His work.  Human strength is useless against the attacks of Satan.  We fall into frustration and pain when we rely on our own vigor, intelligence, or goodness.  We win by allowing the Lord to give us His strength.
Ephesians 6:10 commands that we “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” (NASB)
Think about those words.  We have the privilege of receiving “the strength of His might!” Even though “His might” is a power infinitely beyond our ability to imagine, He gives us glimpses at it.  Look at the cosmos with its hundreds of billions of galaxies, each containing an average of hundred billion stars, and each star more amazing than we can know.  We can’t fully grasp “His might,” but we see enough to recognize it as a place where we can rest in complete security.
The original text of Ephesians 6:10 is even stronger.  The command comes in the passive voice.  That means we receive the action described by the verb.  It is actually saying that we are to be “constantly allowing ourselves to be strengthened by the Lord.”
He won the war.  He does the strengthening.  He gets the glory!
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