"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."
As Christians, we live by faith in God. We have seen that it is only by His power that we are rescued from our sinful natures. Only the Holy Spirit can give us the power to change. However, our struggles are not the result of our sin alone. We live in a world filled with sinners and controlled by Satan. Just as we draw on God's power to stand against our own nature, we also must lean on Him stand in the middle of a world of sin.
The world we live in is opposed to God. As His children and followers, we are going to face difficulty because of this. We can understand opposition from others or experiencing the result of their sin. What we often struggle to understand is that there is more than just the visible elements of the world that are opposed to us. There is a spiritual realm in this world that we do not see and struggle to understand.
We are not the only beings that God created. He also created a host of angels. Of these angels, one led a rebellion against God. This angel, Lucifer (also known as the devil or Satan), was cast out of heaven along with all who followed him. These fallen angels are known as demons. Revelation 12 depicts this heavenly war and the results.
The Bible reveals to us that the devil and all his followers are still aligned against God and continue to wage war against Him today. As His children and followers, they battle against us as well. Paul tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood - we are not fighting against other people. Instead, we struggle against Satan and his demons. They are powerful forces of evil that are aligned against us. Since they cannot control our eternities, they fight to make things as difficult and inflict as much pain as possible.
God is not unaware of this struggle, nor is He unprepared for it. Again, we live by faith, depending on His grace and provision for us. Just as a soldier is prepared for battle, God has prepared us for the battle that we are engaged in. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Paul says "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." He has equipped us to stand and fight in His power.
In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul describes the things God has provided for the fight. He says we have been given truth to stand against Satan's primary means of attack, lying and deceit. In addition, we are given righteousness and salvation through Christ that eliminates any claim of Satan on us. Our feet are prepared for action by the gospel and we are engaged in a struggle for the souls of men. As a defense, we are protected by faith, which protects against Satan's accusations and attacks. Finally, we are given the word of God, our sword. The word provides for both offense and defense. Satan attacks us by false accusation and twisting the truth. Our defense against this is understanding the truth and accepting it by faith. We engage in this battle by means of prayer, recalling the promises of God and confessing our trust in them. We pray for ourselves and for those around us. In this way, we trust in God and stand against everything that opposes Him.
God has prepared us for all that we will face. We must trust Him and stand.