“For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
We see so little of what’s going on. I sang a song in church the other day with the astonishing lyric, “Open up my eyes to the things unseen,” and it reminded me, quite forcefully of this truth. We stumble in a fog, or, as Paul puts it, in a “present darkness” that inhibits vision.
Why is that? “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4). And we, as believers, sometimes only see “through a glass, darkly” (1 Cor 13).
Consequently, we react against the immediate problem facing us. It’s like stumbling through a dark room to find a light switch, hitting your shin on a coffee table, and then lashing out to kick it, in irritated response! The coffee table didn’t do anything, the darkness did! So our “struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh”-or even wood!- but against a whole system, a “god of this age” that has created the situation.
How often do we expend our energy doing battle against immediate consequence rather than underlying cause? The darkness has turned a useful piece of furniture into a cause of pain! And the darkness turns people who might do us good, into competitors, rivals, opponents…. Enemies.
Don’t do battle against them, for God’s sake! They are in the same position as you, blindly flailing about in their own darkness.
Reach for the light.