Overcoming Evil Forces – Ephesians 6:12 for Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare is a reality that every believer must face. The apostle Paul warns us in Ephesians 6:12 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” This verse pulls back the curtain on an invisible war between good and evil that is taking place in the spiritual realm. To engage in effective spiritual warfare, we must understand what Ephesians 6:12 teaches about the forces arrayed against us and how God equips us to stand firm against the powers of darkness.

Paul’s exhortation reveals three vital truths: evil is real, the battle is serious, and victory is possible. As soldiers of Christ, we are called to put on His full armor and resolutely resist the devil and his demonic cronies. Only then can we walk in the freedom and authority that is ours as children of light.

Understanding the Reality and Purpose of Spiritual Battles

The first key in grasping spiritual warfare is recognizing that the battle between good and evil is not imaginary but painfully real. Demonic forces are constantly scheming to keep people trapped in darkness and ignorance of God’s truth. Ephesians 6:12 confirms this struggle is not against flesh and blood but wicked spirits that wield influence in the unseen realm.

God could instantly annihilate these enemies, but He allows them to operate to fulfill His sovereign purposes. Spiritual warfare has a purifying effect on believers as we learn to rely fully on God, renew our minds with scripture, live righteously, and grow in authority over the powers of darkness. Our struggle is meant to strengthen and refine us for God’s glory.

The Origin and Fall of Satan

To comprehend today’s spiritual battles, we must look back to Satan’s original rebellion. Ezekiel 28 indicates he was an anointed cherub in heaven before pride caused his fall. His failed coup attempt got him evicted from heaven, but Satan continues to oppose God’s kingdom and rule.

The Purpose Behind Spiritual Warfare

This cosmic struggle is meant to test and grow believers’ faith while exposing the futility of Satan’s efforts to usurp God’s reign. As we resist the devil, we gain victory and strengthen the cause of God’s kingdom.

Recognizing the Threat of Evil Spiritual Forces

The first key in understanding spiritual warfare is identifying what we battle against. Ephesians 6:12 indicates that our enemies are not human but demonic forces that scheme to keep the world trapped in sin and darkness. These include:

Demonic Powers and Rulers

There is a hierarchy of demonic spirits organized under Satan, the ruler of demons (Matthew 12:24). Demons vary in strength, with some wielding greater authority and influence like territorial spirits over regions (Daniel 10:13). However, Christ has supremacy over every principality and power (Colossians 2:15).

The Schemes of the Devil

Satan is crafty and aims to deceive people and lead them away from God’s truth through lies, fear, and confusion (2 Corinthians 11:3, 2 Timothy 1:7). But we can resist the devil by submitting to God and renouncing deception (James 4:7, Acts 3:19).

Examples of Spiritual Battles Against Evil

The Bible contains many examples of spiritual warfare waged against demonic forces – Moses vs. Pharaoh’s magicians (Exodus 7), Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18), Jesus vs. evil spirits (Luke 4:33-36). Paul emphasizes the reality of this cosmic conflict in Ephesians 6:12.

Equipping Believers for Victory

The second vital principle from Ephesians 6:12 is that God provides His people with spiritual armor and weapons to combat the forces of darkness. These include:

The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Paul details the armor God gives us: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of gospel peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Each piece equips us to stand against specific evil schemes.

Applying the Armor in Spiritual Battles

We actively utilize God’s armor not just by wearing it but through committed prayer, speaking Scriptures out loud, renewing our minds with truth, and living righteously by the power of the Holy Spirit. This equips us to combat demonic lies, attacks, and temptations.

Standing Firm in God’s Strength

Spiritual victory is possible only through God’s strength. We must humble ourselves before Him, resist the devil, and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us (James 4:6-7, Zechariah 4:6). Our triumph is in the Lord’s power.

Overcoming Fear and Walking in Authority

A third crucial lesson from Ephesians 6:12 is that believers have no reason to fear demonic powers. Though spirits of fear aim to terrify and paralyze us, God has given us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). We can boldly command Satan to flee in Jesus’ name (James 4:7). Here are keys to living in victory:

Trusting God’s Protection and Power

God is our rock and refuge who protects us under His wings (Psalm 91:1-4). He is all-powerful and His angels guard those who fear Him (Psalm 103:20-21). We are secure in Christ.

Using Scripture and God’s Word

God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit. Quoting scriptures aloud helps ward off demonic oppression (Ephesians 6:17). Testifying to what Christ has done bolsters our faith.

Resisting Evil by Faith in Jesus

We overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Affirming Christ’s victory and our position in Him is key to exercising authority in spiritual warfare.

Practical Steps for Engaging in Spiritual Battles

While spiritual warfare is unseen, believers must actively fight against evil forces seeking to gain ground. Here are practical ways to engage based on Ephesians 6:12:

Put on the Full Armor of God Daily

Start each day by intentionally clothing yourself in God’s armor through prayer. Ask Him to strengthen you where you are vulnerable to attack.

Fill Your Mind with Scripture

Combat demonic lies and gain wisdom for battle by immersing your mind in the truth of God’s Word. Quote scriptures aloud to renew your thinking.

Guard Your Heart and Resist Temptation

Close doors to the enemy through repentance of sin and renouncing entanglements with evil. Carefully filter what you see and hear.

Combine fasting with fervent prayer for deliverance from demonic oppression. Boldly exercise the authority of Christ.

The battle may be invisible, but it is very real. Walking in the light while dressed in God’s armor allows us to resist demons and fearlessly advance His kingdom. Christ has already won the war – we simply need to stand firm and walk in the victory He has given, pressing onward in faith.