12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12
I don’t like feta cheese. Or hot days. I don’t like light yellow or too much sarcasm, and be sure to keep your overly friendly dog away from me. But there are few things I dislike more than Christianese. And more specifically, mindlessly-spoken Christianese.
It’s a language used by Christians to communicate spiritual thoughts on Sundays during that space of time that is post-sermon/pre-lunch in our church lobbies, or while praying aloud at our weekly small groups. It’s a language we have created to represent what we think of God and His characteristics, and I find it’s often inaccurate, or honestly, lacking in meaning.
But there is a term that can easily be disregarded as merely Christianese. And yet I want to try to free it from Christianese bondage and explore it deeper.
I’m talking about the term: Spiritual Warfare.
If this term makes you uncomfortable and you go reaching for your Back button or try to escape out of your browser completely, indulge me and keep reading.
Our lives are constantly in a battle.
And like it or not, this battle is unseen. It IS spiritual.
Many times people state, “I’ve been going through some intense spiritual warfare recently. It’s been gnarly!” as if we have only been in a battle for the last week or so. I have often uttered the words myself.
But how foolish are we to think we ever have reprieve from this spiritual struggle. How clumsy are we to lose sight of the truth that we are constantly struggling, fighting, to stay in pure communion, or ANY communion, with God.
Often, I believe, we go about our lives unaware or purposefully ignorant of anything spiritual. Sure, some of us are obsessed with vampire books and movies and ghost TV shows and believe the dilapidated house on the edge of town is haunted… but do we realize how serious the spiritual world actually is?
If you are like me, you grew up in a church that didn’t particularly focus on the spiritual side of the Christian faith. We studied the Father, and the Son, but we kind of glossed over the Spirit. Spiritual things were just too controversial and out of control to talk about… it was better to save that sermon for another day…
It is more comfortable to ignore spirituality.
Yes, I do understand that we have some seasons of life in which the intensity of the spiritual battle increases, but I am convinced we are never completely removed from the battle. Though we live like we have periods of respite.
There is a reason the Bible says Satan is roaming around like a lion, looking to devour. He is in a constant search to distract us from Christ and eventually disrupt any relationship we might have with God. This concept isn’t simply theory. It’s reality. And it’s every day. Moment by moment. To get a taste of this struggle’s intimacy with your life, pick up a copy of The Screwtape Letters.
I’m not saying that we need to be in terrible angst every moment, concentrating on God and spiritual things to the point of popping the blood vessels in our foreheads. But I am saying we should maybe eliminate that time after a spiritual storm in which we completely relax, becoming spiritually tipsy.
It is in those moments that all traction can be lost and we find ourselves backsliding in the lessons He just taught us. We drunk dial those sin habits from our past and we wake up in the morning sick with our choices made in spiritual inhibition.
Maybe I’m the only one who finds themselves sometimes back at the base of a mountainous lesson, but I’m finding as much as I’d like to think I’m gloriously unique, I’m not. I know I’m not alone.
We are blinded from the spiritual world by the world we absorb through our 5 senses.
Let our spiritual mindfulness remain constant. Let us rebel against the stereotype applied to our generation of avoiding discipline, and become spiritually disciplined. Let’s learn how to see beyond the physical world in front of us. If that seems impossible, ask the Father for direction. In my experience, He is happy to oblige.