Have you ever watched those ghost movies where the protagonist is in a room full of things flying here and there and, try as he might to fight it, he can’t because he can’t see what’s actually doing the throwing? Or suspense thrillers where you have the damsel constantly looking over her shoulder because she feels she’s being watched but she can’t see who it is that is lurking in the shadows? Or perhaps you’ve been down dark alleys or been in empty rooms where you just couldn’t shake off the feeling of there being an evil presence with you?

Well, if you’ve been there before, then today’s message is for you. Because today I’d like us to give thought to just what it is that is bugging us and where our fight really is.

Caveats first then. This is not a message on ghosts and gouls. Neither is it a message on the occult. But we are going to look at why, no matter what we try and do, no matter how we try and ‘play nice’, no matter how well we plan, no matter how many contingencies we put in place; things still go wrong.

They do, don’t they? It’s annoyingly predictable, irritatingly sure; and it’s perhaps the only thing you can really be sure of in this world – something is going to go wrong someday. So why is that? Well, this is why.

“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.” Ephesians 6:12

You know that annoying colleague you have in the office that can’t stop pestering you? Or that numbskull that keeps cutting you off in the coffee queue? Or that idiot of a driver that cannot stop hogging the road when you are in a rush? Yes, all those people, did you think that they were born that way? Did you think that when God made them, when He thought to,

“…make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

He also thought of putting in the ‘annoying’ module into the character composition? Hardly logical for Him to have done that, right? In fact, David reminds us,

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” Psalm 139:14

So how did they degenerate into the ‘beings’ that we see today? Indeed, how did you?

Look, for as much as other people annoy us, we ourselves are not perfect. In fact, sometimes, we even walk away from situations wondering just what on earth ‘possessed’ us to do such a thing, right? Well, when we think like that, we are spot on. For indeed,

“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.” Ephesians 6:12 [AMP]

Now, I do not for even a moment pretend to understand just how all this works. But though I honestly don’t think that demon possession is the reason behind our daily annoyances, we do realize that we ourselves can do inexplicably silly and irritating things. And that’s because there are other powers, non-physical spiritual powers, at work in the world around us. And these powers have a right old time pushing us around like pawns on a chess board when we let our guard down.

But why is that the case? Well, remember that Jesus reminded Peter,

“…Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Luke 22:31

And sin is his sieve and “sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you,” Genesis 4:7 [AMP]

But why does it happen to us? Aren’t we the beloved children of God?

That we most certainly are. And simply put, the reason why bad things seem to happen with increased frequency and intensity to those who walk closest to our Father is because, as Jesus puts it,

“If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.” John 15:19 [MSG]

It’s a bit like this. Say the child of a nation’s President goes and visits a country whose people hate his father. Is he going to get preferential treatment? Is he going to be treated well? I think we all agree that he’ll be fortunate to get out in one piece. But is he still the beloved child of the President? That bit will never change, will it? And so it is with us.

This world fell into the hands of Satan when Adam and Eve decided they wanted fruit for lunch. They looked all the good that God has given them and decided that they also wanted to experience what evil was. So they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And ever since then, evil was introduced into the world, all because man said they wanted to know what evil was as well.

Now, we are the children of God, made righteous by Christ’s sacrifice. We have no part with evil. We are the very antithesis of evil. So do you think evil will give us an easy time? In fact, the closer we are to God, the more we walk in His ways, the more we will get attacked by the forces that hate God. It’s really quite simple, if you think about it. So what should we do? Should we just give in and go with the evil flow?

You certainly could, but you decide; short term gain with an eternity of suffering, or short term suffering with an eternity of gain. I know which I’d rather choose. And if you are like me, and you choose the eternity of gain, then this is what we should do; nothing.

Well, not quite nothing, but just this.

“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 6:13

Now, there’s so much literature out there on what the Armor of God is, so I’m not going to delve into its details. But what is salient for us, what is important for us to remember are these.

“Tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist” Ephesians 6:14 [AMP]

You wear a belt around your waist so that your pants won’t fall. So in similar fashion, when you surround yourself with the truth that

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

Satan’s attempt at condemning you can’t pull your pants down.

“Put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart)” Ephesians 6:14 [AMP]

Guilt and condemnation do the most damage to the heart because it’s aim is to achieve depression.

But when you are constantly aware that because you have accepted the redeeming blood of Jesus, the blood

“…of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28

You have now become forever righteous in the sight of God,

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

And guilt is now to you of no effect. So then,

“Strap on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news].” Ephesians 6:15 [AMP]

And “Lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:16-17 [AMP]

We can’t have the faith to fight if we keep forgetting just how much our Father loves us. So fill your minds with all the promises that Jesus has given, promises of protection and provision, because He loves you, and you will be ready for the fight.

But the most important thing that I want us to realize is this. While we are told to ‘wear’, ‘put on’, ‘strap on’, ‘guard’, ‘carry’; we are never told to fight. This is because, when in a fight, all we are told to do is

“…be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].” Ephesians 6:10 [AMPC]

The strength we need, the empowerment we require, He provides. Indeed,

“Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies]…” Ephesians 6:11 [AMPC]

Even the protection that you need, He supplies. And all these are given,

“…that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 [AMPC]

That’s all we need to do, just stand.

The fact is, the trouble we face, they are not caused by man. Man may be the actors, man may be the ones executing the plans, man may even think that they are the masterminds behind it all; but we know better.

So instead of swinging your sword aimlessly into the air, fight spirit with spirit, unseen with unseen, and let the almighty unseen power of your Father in heaven manifest itself powerfully in your seen life.

“For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:11

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