“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Do you remember years ago on September 11, 2001, when the first jet slammed into the World Trade Center in New York City? I was drinking my final cup of coffee before work when the morning news program I was watching was interrupted to broadcast live pictures of a gaping hole in the world's tallest building. The commentators speculated endlessly about the cause of the “accident.” When told about the crash, President Bush was reported to have said, “That's one bad pilot!”

Many of us felt the same way. If indeed the crash had been caused by pilot error, perhaps the remedy for future accidents would have been to order remedial training for pilots, better navigation systems installed in planes, or more skilled air traffic controllers at airports.

But we soon discovered that this was no accident. When another plane crashed into the second tower, we immediately knew that America was under attack from a hostile force. For the first time in more than a hundred years, an enemy had attacked us on our own continent, forcing us to quickly formulate a strategy for defeating this new adversary. Knowing the source of a problem is crucial for developing a strategy to combat that problem. A navigational accident demands one response. A hostile strike requires a completely different strategy.

When The Other World Invades Your World

Every day our world is invaded by what are commonly thought to be random events... and we respond accordingly:

Couples divorce, so we develop marriage enrichment seminars.

Drug use among children increases, so we educate them about the dangers of narcotics and encourage them to “Just say ‘no’.”

Use of pornography among Christians rises dramatically, so we organize accountability groups.

Churches fight and threaten to split, so we hire arbitrators to help us with conflict resolution.

Christians complain of depression and thoughts of suicide, so we medicate them with our latest drugs.

Please understand, I am all for marriage seminars, drug education, accountability groups, conflict resolution, and psychiatric medication when necessary. But what if the source of our conflicts is something more than just random events? What if the explanation for the problems that assault us regularly is something other than “stuff happens”? What if we are indeed under enemy attack? Would we change our strategy — or at least adapt it — to confront such a reality?

Meet Your Real Enemy

The Bible allows us to lift the curtain of our visible existence so that we can see the world as it really is. Through the lens of Scripture we discover not only that there is an unseen world... but it is a world at war. In perhaps the seminal passage in the New Testament about this spiritual conflict the apostle Paul writes:

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 (Ephesians 6:12).

Notice Paul's use of the personal pronoun “our.” This war is not just a spat between two cosmic forces that has little to do with us. We cannot shrug our shoulders when we read about it and say “I don't have a dog in that fight” (a favorite Texan expression). We do have a stake in this battle. Why?

Whether you realize it or not, you are living in the crossfire of this spiritual war. You have an Enemy who is determined to destroy everything and everyone important to you. Those who dismiss such words as being "over the top", "sensationalistic", or simply secondary to "more important spiritual realities" do so to their own detriment. The late pastor Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote: