When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 NIV
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. I Corinthians 15:20-26 NIV
October brings many gruesome and scary decorations into yards in America. In a way, it can be a reminder to us that the evil we see in the world is not simply from people making poor choices, but that humans are influenced by evil forces, authorities, powers – then they make poor choices and act on them – this causes much of the evil in our world.
As Christians striving to live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus, what can we do? Where can we gain encouragement in this struggle against the evil forces at work in our world today? First, we need to recognize that Jesus’ finished work on the cross and his resurrection has defeated death, Satan and his demons. Revelation 20:4 “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.” We know the ending – death and Satan will be destroyed forever. Second, though we have struggles in our everyday lives that can involve these evil forces, we have a power that is indescribably more powerful than anything Satan can produce.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV
In the next few verses of Ephesians 6 Paul gives details of exactly how we can stand firm in our daily struggle against the evil forces in our world. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Take note of how we can engage in this battle, the actions we can take – notice the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayers. Paul tells us in Colossians 2:15 that Jesus has triumphed over the evil forces in our world, the battle has been won, and we need to remember and live daily in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. C.S Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters is written from the point of view of a supervisor demon instructing a novice demon on how to influence Christians into being ineffective in their spiritual walk. It reveals the subtle ways evil forces can influence our thinking and therefore our lives. Spend some time this week reading and studying Ephesians 6:10-18, or reading The Screwtape Letters.