Spiritual Warfare

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Ephesians 6:10-13

Our struggle is . . . against . . . the spiritual forces of evil. (v. 12)

Among the many warning posters displayed during the Second World War in England was one that said, “Don’t You Know There’s a War On?” With the nightly air raids in the early years, this was not a serious question, but when things got a little better later on it was possible to forget.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that for us Christians there is also a war on! It was said of Oliver Cromwell that “he knew he had embarked on a warfare from which there was no discharge this side of the grave”—and it was not just against political tyranny. Paul puts it very plainly: “our struggle is . . . against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (v. 12).

While it is not easy to understand exactly what Paul meant by these various evil powers; the picture is clear, and threatening. Whether through cunning subtlety or frontal onslaught, the forces of evil aim to beat us down. Jesus said “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), so we must be constantly on our guard.

Just as important, we must be properly equipped with spiritual armor for the spiritual battle. Charles Wesley’s great hymn “Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armor on” is a fine commentary on these verses.


Our Father, deliver us from evil.