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.Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV)“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against 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.”UNSEEN SPIRITS
When our eldest son was two, we observed him jabbering at the wall in his room several different times. This struck us as odd for a few reasons. First, he typically did not make many sounds during pretend play. Second, he would direct his gaze to a place on the wall about seven feet high while speaking. Third, according to our son, his ‘invisible friend’ wasn’t always there. But when he was ‘there,’ it was always in the same location and at the same height. Then, after a few months, it was over. No more wall jabbering an unseen guest.
We believe that it’s possible that the Lord temporarily allowed our son to see a ‘guardian angel.’ Of course, we really don’t know. He could have had a brief season of unusually imaginative play, but somehow, with our son, an angel seems much more likel.
Regardless of our strange experience, the Bible does make it clear that spiritual beings are present within our world. In fact, many of the stories which shape our theology include them.
For example, an angel appeared separately to Mary and Joseph and announced the coming of Jesus through Mary’s womb (Lk 1, Mt 1). Multitudes of angels filled the sky after an angel announced the birth of ‘a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’ (Lk 2:11-14). Angels ministered to Jesus after he was tempted (Mt 4:11) and while he prayed in Gethsemane (Lk 22:43). They announced Jesus’ resurrection to the women (Lk 24:4) and that Jesus would come back again (Acts 1:10-11). With angels abounding in the New Testament, and Jesus’ frequent work of casting out demons, it can be easy to wonder why these unseen spirits remain largely unnoticed now.
Let’s consider three potential reasons.
First, although we could get excited by having our sight unveiled into the spiritual realm (like in 2 Kings 6), we would probably never want to witness a visible demon. Ghosts, which are likely evil spirits disguised as people, are already terrifying enough! God, in His loving grace, has guarded our eyes from witnessing the spiritual war which rages over regions of our world.
Second, seeing spiritual beings would likely distract us from the slow, diligent work of disciple-making. The eternal destiny of angels and demons is fixed. However, there are human souls which are either moving closer to or further away from the Savior. Our relational work in disciple-making is so important, more so than chasing after spirits.
Finally, spiritual strength doesn’t come from our proximity to angels or distance from demons. Our strength comes from the Lord and His abiding Spirit which has been placed in believers by grace through faith.
A complex spiritual realm certainly exists, but let’s not let curiosity regarding unseen beings distract us from clinging tightly to Jesus - especially during these uncertain days. Lord, help us to find our strength only in You. Through Jesus, Amen!
Whether they apply to your congregation or not is left up to the judgment of your leadership.