Nothing is ever what it seems. Nothing is really ever surface. This point is demonstrated by the Scripture in Ephesians:
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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…
Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV
We do not war against flesh and blood. I don’t believe it is as simple as a surface dislike. For instance, on the block where my church is located, Muslims have been telling the children that God is not in our building. They have been vandalizing, breaking windows, dumping on our lawn… That is definitely not a simple matter of them disliking us. There’s a spiritual component. My conflicts with my boss are not just conflicts. I believe that it is much deeper – it’s not people against people.
What’s behind the dislike? What fuels the fires?
It’s not just sex on the television. It’s not just about gay marriage being allowed in California. It’s not just about gay couples being allowed to adopt. It’s not just about babies before (or even without) marriage in Hollywood. It’s not just about sexual lyrics in songs. It’s not just a porn addiction. It’s not just a rapist or a murderer. It’s not just about the things that we see, and never is.
There’s a point to EVERYTHING that goes on in this world. It’s never without aim; there is always some target. It seeks either to glorify God or to defy and snatch glory away from Him. If we take a look at everything through that scope, it becomes easier to see. C.S. Lewis has a great quote about this:
There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.
I recently had a conflict with my Catholic unsaved boss. As I was speaking about it with a sister, she helped me to see some things. It wasn’t simply a conflict; it was much deeper. What you see on the stage will never truly reflect ALL that goes on backstage. There’s much hustle and bustle, much preparation, much work. And so it is in life – what we see is never a true reflection of what is going on behind the scenes. The spiritual world is extremely real. Many times, we dismiss it or it simply seems too scary to think about, but in doing that, we short ourselves of understanding of Scripture, especially with Scriptures like this:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 ESV
When we consider all of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ that we cannot see, we can truly ‘get’ that passage… because indeed, there’s much going on. I’m no high expositor of Scripture, but God’s been gracious in giving me friends lately who have been an extreme blessing and quite the pieces of iron, causing me to really reflect on His Word. It’s so real. Everything in God’s Holy Word is real! Just as the angels take part in their beautiful antiphony of HOLY HOLY HOLY!!! – so are Satan’s demons at work…
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV
Instead of simply reacting to something on the surface, lets take the time to consider the totality of what is really going on, and be led to seek the Lord on the behalf of the situation. Whether it’s believer against believer, believer against unbeliever, unbeliever against unbeliever, there’s always something at work. Let’s not do ourselves a disservice by NOT acknowledging it. Because God’s Word acknowledges the spirit world, so should we.