Conflict. Most of us avoid it when we can.
There are times when it is unavoidable, when you are attacked, seemingly without provocation. There are other times when you might have to do the attacking, perhaps to right a wrong.
How do you deal with the people with whom you have conflict? How do you deal with people who treat you unfairly, who are mean for no reason, who take away your rights or force you to do what you don’t want to do?
If we’re honest, most of us would consider those people our enemies. We might think of ways to get even, or try to figure out how we can “hit them where it hurts.”
Yet Ephesians 6:12 proposes a different outlook: “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
If we are to take God’s word as completely true – and I sincerely hope that you do – then this verse makes it clear that people are not our enemies! Our real enemies are unseen, spiritual forces at work in the world around us. Those people, whom we are viewing as our enemies, are really just being influenced and used by the spiritual forces that seek our destruction.
So when you’re attacked by someone, when someone hurts you, just remember that he or she is not the real enemy. We’re not called to hate them, but to love and pray for them (Luke 6:27.)
That is so hard to do! Ephesians 6:10b-11 gives some help with this: “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil.” The verses that follow give us an idea of what that armor looks like: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the Bible, and prayer.
A SWAT team would never think of going into action without fully arming themselves with weapons, body armor, and shields, yet as believers, we so often go through life unequipped and unarmed. We’re fighting supernatural forces, something much stronger than the flesh and blood criminals that a SWAT team faces, and we show up to battle armed with sticks and wearing shorts and flip-flops.
It’s time to gear up! Arm yourself with the weapons the Lord provides, lean on His great strength, follow Him as the ultimate spiritual SWAT commander, and fight the real enemy – the spiritual forces – while revealing Him to the people around you.