Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places — Ephesians 6:11-12 (KJV)
Why Do the Nations Rage?
On November 8th, 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected 45th President of the United States. Since then, there has been a flurry of protests - some ugly, others dangerously violent. There was the post-election ‘protests,’ which turned into a riot in Portland, Oregon. Voting recounts, ‘Russian hacking,’ intimidating electors of the electoral college, all have been thrown to try and invalidate the election. Then on inauguration day, the protestors promised to stop the inauguration. They failed - but that did not stop them from vandalising parts of the capital city. Then there were the ‘protests’ after President Trump signed an executive order halting refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries deemed terrorist haunts by the outgoing Obama Administration. Or the ultra-violent riots at the University of California - Berkeley, trying to stop Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative, gay, British journalist, from speaking.
While protests are nothing new in the United States and are indeed a protected right (provided they are peaceful), why the frequency, stridency, and savagery? Most will agree that we have not seen anything like this. Dennis Prager calls this current turmoil the second American civil war.
This is not just limited to the United States. There is a low-level world war across North Africa and the western half of Asia, jihadists against other Muslims, minorities, and the West. Anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head in Europe and the West. Anti-Christian persecution is at the highest levels we have seen in several generations.
While experts seek to offer explanations for the increasingly turbulent times in which we live, here is one you rarely hear, yet it explains everything.
The second pillar of understanding the future: we live in a spiritual world and the solutions are equally spiritual.
The Real Enemy
It is easy to blame sinful people and ideologies for all our challenges. Indeed, people need to take responsibility for their actions and will be held accountable by God for them (Romans 14:12). Yet, the Bible speaks clearly of a hidden spiritual hand that controls events and nations. Satan is described by Jesus Christ Himself as the ‘prince’ of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) while Paul calls him the ‘god’ of this world (II Corinthians 4:4).
The New Testament Greek word for ‘world’ is kosmos, which in order, arrangement, and/or adornment; however, it also means the current state of human affairs which is at enmity and opposition to God. And who inspired this? The master rebel himself, Satan, and his host of demons. That’s why I John 5:19 (NKJV) says succinctly, ‘We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.’ Satan and demon powers, who had such dominance in human history, are in a panic because their time is short (Revelation 12:12), and want to cause as much trouble and turmoil as possible on their way down.
When we understand the spiritual nature of our world, we will quit getting mad at people, despite their furious opposition, and focus our spiritual attention on the real culprits. The invisible spiritual forces are slated for destruction, Satan included, while the earthly opponents are loved of God and are targets for the gospel of grace.
An elderly Daniel discovered, to his amazement, that his prayers were being hindered by the the ‘Prince of Persia.’ The great Messianic psalm, Psalm 2, speaks about the raging of the nations and people becoming active yet senseless. The reason? Because the King is coming back. Satan and demon powers know they are fighting a losing battle but still want to do their utmost to thwart the return of the Prince of Peace.
The Wise Response
How should we respond? Understand that the Biblical Christian life, the one that God approves, is not a ‘religious life,’ riddled with ‘do’s and don’ts, rules and regulations, with a dour face and judgmental heart. No, the life God endorses is a spiritual Christian life. It starts with being:
1) Born of the Spirit or born again: the new birth is when our spirit, the inner-person, is reborn. The Holy Spirit is the agent of change in this process;
2) Baptised in the Spirit - something mentioned in all four gospels and fulfilled in the Book of Acts (1:6, 8). This is a permanent immersion where the presence of God’s Spirit is with us and in us;
3) Filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4; Ephesians 5:18): The presence of the Holy Spirit is so overwhelming that there is an overflow of anointing, empowerment, gifts (I Corinthians 12) and fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), and
4) Walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16): This is a lifestyle of living a Spirit-filled, Spirit-anointed life. ‘Natural living’ is like living in the barnyard with the chickens: crowded, contentious, dirty, and no flight. ‘Spirit-filled living’ is like the eagle (Isaiah 40:31), it takes flight and hovers over the fray that holds others back.
The Solution is Equally Spiritual
With this Holy Spirit empowerment that comes from the born again, Spirit-filled lifestyle, we are in a great position to implement Ephesians 6, which exhorts us to put on the whole armour of God. Spiritual world means spiritual fight and God has provided us the weaponry we need to overcome and gain victory. Failure to understand the battle or implement the solution leaves us vulnerable to the wiles and desires of the devil.
The armoury God provides is impressive:
1. The belt of truth around our waist: keeps everything in place;
2. Breastplate of righteousness: protects the heart;
3. Gospel of peace on the feet: puts us on the road;
4. Shield of faith: quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;
5. Helmet of salvation: protects the mind;
6. Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God
The spiritual solution is to be ‘strong in the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:10), continue to stand (v. 11, 13, 14), withstand in the evil day (v. 13), pray all kinds of prayers in the Spirit (v. 18); watching with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Lesson for Life: If you want to understand the future, know that this is a spiritual world; the challenges and solution are equally spiritual.