Overt Covert: Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare in America

FoolishBlog Post #2

I was going to comment on Scott’s post about spiritual warfare but decided to turn my comment into a separate post.

It is frightening that we in the West have to hear the testimony of those who have traveled to other continents in order to be convinced of the straightforward truth of Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” This is a harrowing verse. And when we are not harrowed by it, we should be horrified.

Satan has us right where he wants us: naïve and complacent. When we ask, “Why doesn’t Satan do more out-and-out spiritual warfare here in the States?” we reveal our naivete. He has us so consumed with the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life that he would be foolish to start playing hardball. He has us drunk on body image and intellectual arrogance and perceived security. He has no need to sober us up with unmistakable manifestations of his power.

We’re sleeping with the enemy. Why in the world would he wake us up? John Piper said, “People sometimes ask why if Satan is real we don’t see more demon possession and exorcisms in
America. I have an idea. Satan holds American Christianity so tightly in the vice-grip of comfort and wealth that he’s not about to tip his hand with too much demonic tomfoolery.” *

If a covert operation serves a general’s purposes, he would be foolish to launch an all-out, high-noon offensive. If the night raids are pillaging the villages and no one’s noticing, why call in the heavy artillery? Satan’s blazing guns and sky-high banners are relatively unnecessary in

All of that being said, there is an even scarier thought: Perhaps Satan has launched an all-out blitzkrieg on the American church, and we just don’t have eyes to see. What’s covert should be overt. But we threw away our night vision when we turned away from the Word of God.

In coming days, may God enlighten and empower us to be able to echo the ever-fighting Apostle Paul, saying of Satan, “we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

* John Piper, “Christ in Combat: Defense by the Spirit,” sermon on Luke 4:1-14, March 18, 1984.


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