For 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 6:12, KJV). Ephesians 6:12 is a verse of Scripture that is commonly quoted by those who engage in “spiritual warfare.” The question is: what does it mean to wrestle, and what does that look like? What are the true weapons of the Christian, and how do they apply? Perhaps a clue may be that the phrase, “spiritual warfare,” is not in the Bible. That is to say, the word “spiritual” and the word “warfare” can be found, but they are not joined together. Perhaps the warfare is to stay spiritual, regardless of our circumstances. What does the word, “wrestle,” mean? In essence, it means just that, to struggle or to engage in hand-to-hand combat on an individual basis. However, we cannot approach the subject from a naturalistic approach. Our opening text plainly states, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Our fight is not against people, which is very important to remember. It goes beyond flesh and blood; nevertheless, the way we deal with people goes hand in hand with the way we wrestle.
In verses 13 through 18, we find the armor of God. Only two of the elements of the armor will be covered here: the first one being the Word of God found in verse 17, which also known as, “the sword of the Spirit.” This is the spoken word (RHEMA in the Greek) led by the Holy Spirit, which will always coincide with the written Word of God (LOGOS). This means that when we speak, we utter the words that come from the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Jesus employed the Word of God in Matthew 4:1-11, when he faced the devil in the wilderness (“It is written . . .”). This simple principle can be found in 1Peter 4:11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”(KJV). The Word of God is a complete arsenal in of itself. That is to say, we can find all the issues of life in the Word, which includes the applicable elements required for victory. Part of wielding the sword requires the second element of the armor, prayer: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18, KJV). In both elements, we see a common thread, the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will always lead us to pray according the will of the Father, which is the most effective way of praying. We have to submit to the Holy Spirit in order for Him to lead us.
In order to wrestle effectively, we need to walk in obedience to God. Jesus said that He did what He saw the Father do, and said what the said. He did not act independently of the Father; He obeyed Him. Without obedience to God, we have no standing or authority. A very interesting verse of Scripture is 2Corinthians 10:6, “And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (KJV). The word, “fulfilled,” can also be rendered as, “complete.” When we walk obediently unto the Lord, we are also walking in the Light, which in turn exposes the darkness. Keep in mind that darkness can never overcome light, nor can it stand in its presence. Ephesians 5:8-13 says, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light” (KJV). In simple terms, when Light comes, darkness flees.
Here is an illustration of how even the written Word of God alone will cause darkness to flee. While in the Air Force, I had worked a job called, “E.O.R.” (End of runway), which was where a last inspection of the airplanes took place before they launched. Since we had periods of waiting, we could read, study, and so on. On a particular day, a few people decided to look at some pornography, which was against regulations. I had my Bible, which I would study during those waiting periods. We were all sitting in a step van at that particular moment. As soon as I opened my Bible, the step van cleared out. I never said a single word to any of them about what they were doing; the Word of God did all the speaking. My focus was on the Word, not them. Later it got back to me that I was preaching to them, even though I did not say a word.