For we do not wrestle
flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the
cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places
Daniel faced tremendous political pressure
from the members of the king’s court.
Brought to Babylon at a young age, this Jewish exile earned the reputation of a man filled with
“light and understanding and excellent wisdom”
Daniel lived and worked among jealous people
who wanted to see him fail,
though he did nothing to deserve their ill-will.
He wasn’t looking for a battle;
the battle came looking for him.
Joseph faced a similar battle, not with outside political enemies,
but among his own family.
Though he was promised in a dream that he would one day be a ruler,
the dream was crushed when his brothers
sold him into slavery
Despite being an honorable man,
Joseph was mistreated
and falsely imprisoned.
His battle was a battle of betrayal and family strife.
Like Daniel, Joseph’s battle was won
trusted the Lord to fulfill his promises.
Battles come in many forms. In the Bible, we have accounts of personal crises like Joseph’s family conflict,
Hannah’s barrenness (1 Samuel 1), and Hezekiah’s illness (2 Kings 20).
We also have accounts of national catastrophe like
warfare, famine, and exile.
We face similar battles. We may experience seasons where enemies surround us, illness overtakes us, or conflict overwhelms us. In each of those cases, we can choose to fight the wrong battles, or like Daniel and Joseph,
we can rest knowing God is fighting for us.
The Wrong BattlesI can easily get caught up fighting the wrong battles, especially when dealing with young adults. Traveling overseas sometimes brings out the worst in students, and I was bracing myself for a difficult and confrontational conversation with one particularly disruptive student. When I finally met with her, I started our meeting with a simple question: “Is there anything going on?” Secretly, I was loading my guns to hit her with my expectations, when her response took me by surprise. “I am SO homesick!” she blurted. Her eyes filled with tears as she confessed how much she hated being away from home. Everyone told her that traveling would be fun, but she was miserable.
I had no idea. I interpreted her behavior one way, and I came ready for a fight. I discovered the battle was something else entirely.
The night that Jesus was betrayed, Peter fought the wrong battle too.
Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
So Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup
that the Father has given me?”
Peter thought the fight was about Jesus’ betrayal and physical safety.
Jesus, however, knew that the battle was
for our souls, and he understood that fighting the wrong battle
meant forfeiting the real one.
The Real BattleEphesians 6:12 reminds us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.” In other words, the fight is not against governments or people or companies or circumstances.
The real battle—the unseen battle—is our struggle in prayer:
- For the souls of unbelievers
- For forgiveness when we’ve been wronged
- For peace in fearful circumstances
- For holiness when sin tempts
- For joy when sorrow comes
- For trust when doubts assail
We battle for the hearts of those around us
as we fight for them in prayer, and we battle for ourselves
as we bring
opinions and arguments
in line with
the knowledge of God
For though we walk in the flesh,
we are not waging war
according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion
raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every
thought captive to obey Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Paul fought the battle for
“arguments and theories and reasonings”
(2 Corinthians 10:5, AMP)
as he prayed for and encouraged
in Colossae and Laodicea:
For I want you to know how great a struggle
I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who
have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged,
being knit together in love,
to reach all the riches of
full assurance of understanding and the
knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,
in whom are hidden
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
Winning the battle leads to
a heart filled
close relationships with other believers, and
the ability to
we struggle for others in the unseen world.
God Fights For YouWe do not fight alone. We face physical struggles that threaten our homes, families, savings, our country, and more.
And the unseen battle fought by the “spiritual forces of evil” is far bigger than the visible battle.
God is fighting for us, just as he did for Daniel and Joseph.
Moses shared with the Israelites can encourage us today:
And Moses said to the people,
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord,
which he will work for you today.
For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Daniel was able to calmly enter the lion’s den
because he understood that no crisis
would come near him
that had not already passed by his God.
Joseph was able to endure battle after unfair battle
because he saw that though man intended evil,
“God meant it for good”
The same God who fought for them fights for us.
Christ fought the ultimate battle
when he suffered and died for our sins.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Christ fought for us on the cross, and he won.
His death and resurrection paid the price for our sins,
and because of his wounds,
we are healed. He continues to fight for us today.
In our physical struggles and in the unseen world
of arguments and ideas, we can answer with
“What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?”