This is the second of a three-part series on Spiritual Wrestling and the Armor of God. Yesterday, we discussed the importance of not being ignorant of the devil’s devices. Today, we will look at spiritual wrestling.
For we do not wrestle with 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.
Paul could have used any of a number of terms here instead of wrestling. He had perfect command of the Greek language and could have picked a word such as fight or contend or oppose. Why did Paul choose wrestle? Quite simply, it denotes actual contact combat. One can, fight without contact; one can contend or oppose without contact, but have you ever seen anyone try to wrestle without contact? It is impossible! Our conflict with Satan and demons is on a contact basis. They are always coming against us in a tangible way, buffeting us in the flesh.
2 Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
Revealed in Ephesians 6:12 are four levels of demon power:
- Principalities: Lower level demons that we most commonly deal with on a personal, daily level.
- Powers: Also lower level demons in Satan’s chain of command. (The term “lower level” does not denote insignificance, only rank).
- Rulers of Darkness: Demons that rule over territories, and have lower level demons under their command.
- Wicked Spirits in Heavenly Places: This of course being the second heaven, the atmosphere above (see Ephesians 2:2). This is where Satan’s government is carried out. In this place are the highest rank of demons, including Satan himself and his fallen arch-angels. They rule over entire nations, such as the Prince of Persia in Daniel’s day. Their job is to master-mind and to see that evil prevails against the church (a losing cause, by the way) and covers the earth.
Listen to the words of Gabriel, the Arch Angel, when addressing Daniel regarding his prayer and the spiritual battle that played out in the spirit realm:
12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
Satan did not want this revelation concerning the end times to get to Daniel and opposed the messenger of God, Gabriel. Assistance had to be obtained from Michael, the warring Arch Angel, to break through. It is important to remember that there will be no significant breakthrough from God in your life that will not be contended by the enemy. But let it be clear that God heard Daniel on the first day and sent the answer. It is upon us to stand and not to give place to the devil with double-mindedness and unbelief.
This wrestling match which Paul spoke of was an effective allegory because the people understood what a Greek wrestling match was composed of. A winner was declared when one of the wrestlers successfully pinned the neck area of his opponent. The loser was made to endure a terrible and painful blinding by the gauging out of the eves. All that lose this spiritual wrestling match also endure a blinding, a loss of spiritual discernment.
As Christians however, we have one thing in our favor in this wrestling match: God wrote the rule book (the Bible), and is the referee. As long as a Christian keeps getting back up and refuses to quit, the devil will not be the victor. In baseball it’s three strikes and you’re out, but with God, as long as you’re swinging, He will keep you in the batter’s box until you get a hit!
In the last lesson, we will examine the armor of God.