by Tony Evans on Youversion
The essence of the war we’re talking about is spiritual. Because this warfare is first and foremost spiritual and not physical, the degree to which you and I will be successful is the degree to which we are prepared to understand and fight this battle on a spiritual level. While waged in the invisible, spiritual realm, spiritual warfare is manifested in the visible, physical realm. In other words, spiritual warfare is a battle between invisible, angelic forces that affect you and me. You and I can’t see the cause of the war, but we see the effects—the kinds of problems I mentioned above—all the time, day in and day out.
It’s hard enough to fight an enemy you can see. It’s much harder to fight someone you can’t see. Everything you do in the visible, physical realm is caused, provoked, or at least influenced by something in the invisible, spiritual realm. Your five senses are not the limit of reality, and until we address the spiritual root of a problem, we will never fix the physical effects of that problem.
Not only are your physical senses limited, but they often provide little help in spiritual warfare. This means that if you are going to wage a successful spiritual battle, you need a “sixth sense”—a keen awareness of the spiritual realm. In order to understand spiritual warfare, we have to address it through the lens of the spirit, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Location of the Battle
Where in the universe is this great battle called spiritual warfare being fought? Paul tells us it is “in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12), which means the spiritual realm. In the Bible, the word heaven describes three levels of existence (see 2 Cor. 12:2). The first heaven is the atmosphere that surrounds the earth, the environment in which we live. The second heaven is what we commonly refer to as outer space, the stellar heavens where the stars and planets exist. This is also a realm in which angels operate, because in the Bible angels are often called stars (Job 38:7). When you see the stars at night, they should remind you of spiritual beings called angels and the reality of the warfare we are engaged in. The third heaven is the throne room of God, the place we normally think of when we hear the word heaven. It is about this heaven that the Bible has the most to say. In fact, the third heaven is an incredibly busy place because it is the control center of the universe.
In the book of Ephesians alone, we find numerous references to heavenly places in addition to that in 6:12. Understanding these passages helps us know how to tap into the heavenly places and thus wage victorious spiritual warfare.
Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” This verse tells us that God resides in the heavenly places, and so do all of our spiritual blessings. This is important because if you are engaged in a spiritual battle and need help to win, the help you need is with God the Father, who is in the heavenly places. But if you don’t know how to access heavenly places, you won’t know how to access the heavenly help you need to win the battle in earthly places.
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 6:12
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.2 Corinthians 12:2
while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?Job 38:7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.Ephesians 1:3