Taking The Whole Armor of God (Intro)
Ephesians 6 : 12-18 (KJV)
12 For we wrestle, not against flesh and blood; but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
We are constantly involved in warfare. Not one of person against person, rather it is combat that is waged on another plane. Another form of existence, one might say.
Though we don't see it, doesn't make it any less real. Actually, it is more real than what we perceive as reality, because it is eternal. This world, this life, will one day be gone. Beyond this existence is one that will not pass away, ever.
Paul, in this letter, is teaching the Ephesians this spiritual concept. The hope of our calling. And encouraging them to remember that God is our protector and provider.
He proceeds from here to teach the various aspects and even construction of the spiritual realm, the eternal existence.
As Paul states in verse 12, that our struggle is not with one another as much as it is the spiritual entities that influence our motivations and often actions. Named here is a four-tiered hierarchy.
First, principalities; this could be compared to what we think in our own governmental structure as municipalities. The localized level, even personal. Influencing a single person or small group of people (especially families). This can be recognized in a person's (or group of people) particular behavior. You would see certain propensities toward various behaviors: drunkenness, violence, sexual immorality, and such like. This is the activity or influence of a particular principality, what we would commonly call a "demonic influence or force".
Next, we look at "powers". These covers geographic regions; anything from a neighborhood to entire cities and even regional areas depending on how people have allowed such an entity to spread, through complacency and even encouragement. Yes, I said people. As beings created in the likeness and image of God, we have the authority to stop and break the power of these spiritual crimes against the Earth. But we'll get into that shortly. We see the effect of spiritual "powers" around us every day. When we hear people say things like "drug use has really gone crazy here", or "yeah, they say it's the murder capitol of the world". That is evidence of the influence of that particular spirit over such a region or area.
"Rulers of the darkness of this world". Obviously, when we see the term "this world", it's a reference to the world system; the way the rest of the world conducts business outside the precepts of God. So then, the "darkness of this world" would be the darker or sinful side of the way the world conducts its business: things like greed, deception, oppression, and so on. We see this kind of behavior in various industries and organized crime. This is where graft and corruption come in to the picture.
The most difficult of all spirits to deal with is the final, spiritual wickedness in high places. This is the demonic influence taking place in our nations governments on a national and even global scale. We are not powerless against such "powers that be"; rather with continual prayer and unified action, we have the power and authority to put them in their place and even send them packing. But it takes that: unified thought and action. God Himself said, in Genesis about the building of the Tower of Babel: "These people are one and nothing shall be impossible to them." So, if we as Christians decided we wanted more positive changes in our government's actions and actually came together in unity of spirit and thought; nothing would be impossible for us!
(Just needed to get that rant out)