“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.” Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
When you enter the ring of conflict, are you tempted to run, jump out of the ring and avoid the conflict altogether? For years, I thought conflict was a bad thing, something to be avoided. Through the years, though, I discovered that conflict is really a good thing. In fact, God uses conflicts to take our relationships to a whole new level of connection, deeper than we even thought imaginable. Yes, conflict is messy. Conflict is painful and feels awkward, but it can produce connection if we learn how to fight fair and discover what is ultimately going on in the conflict. While God wants to use the conflict to create deeper connection, we have an unseen enemy who seeks just the opposite. The Bible says there is a cosmic conflict going on behind the scenes. That battle has been going on since creation.
In Ephesians 6, the Bible tells us that the real battle is a cosmic conflict between God and Satan, between good and evil. In verse 12, the Bible says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood ….” That means that your mate is not your enemy! Then who is? Our real struggle the Bible says is “… against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Awareness of this cosmic conflict is half the battle! Satan’s desire is to turn our conflicts into chaos, confusion and disconnection so that he can ultimately destroy our relationships and our lives. When you begin to understand this cosmic conflict, there are two extremes to avoid. One is to blame the devil for everything. That’s an unhealthy view that escapes personal responsibility. Another extreme is to be oblivious of Satan’s schemes. That’s why awareness is half the battle.
We need to be aware of the real enemy so that we can stand against his schemes. Have you ever been in a conflict with your mate and, during a heated argument, you both began to wonder, “What is really going on here?” Satan cleverly disguises himself to pit us against one another and use our conflicts or our differences for disconnection. Our conflicts will either lead to connection or chaos. When we are aware of the real enemy and his battle plan, we can use our conflicts for deeper connection. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, the Bible says,
“I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.”
This week, we are going to examine the devils battle plan and how we can protect ourselves from Satan’s schemes as we study this passage in Ephesians 6. Take some time now and begin to meditate on Ephesians 6:10-18. Ask God to give you wisdom in applying these truths in your conflicts so that He can create deeper connection in your relationships.