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When it comes to the concept of spiritual warfare, I think most of us are asleep. I don't think that we can clearly see on a day-to-day basis that we are in the middle of a battle. And that's why we can look at flesh and blood and say "Well that's my enemy, that's the person who opposes me" rather than understanding that you really do have spiritual forces who are aligned against you to try to take you down and that you're own indwelling sin is going to be a partner in that effort at times.
So I think one of the most important things to realize is the fact that you are in a battle, and to be successful in being engaged in warfare means that you have to daily take up the shield of faith and you have to be expecting the fiery darts of the enemy. The funny thing is that we often don't realize it until hindsight, and then you look back and go "Duh, I should have set my watch by that one, why didn't I see it coming!" I have so many times in my life I can look back on things and realize "Oh wait, they've just asked me to speak on singleness and trusting God" and of course whoever I'm dating breaks up with me right before that, and you're dragging yourself up there saying "God's good and faithful" even when it's hard to believe it right now. Of course I'm going to be tested, of course I'm going to see that. Did I have my shield of faith up? Oh wait, maybe I didn't - I was not anticipating the fiery darts of the enemy, and I wasn't equipped with the sword of the spirit with the words of truth that I needed to get through this time period.
But I think when it comes to our life and community, spiritual warfare is a really important element we often overlook. When we see people who are down and out, we can be like "How can you stumble like that?" Rather than saying, "Uh oh, one of my brothers or sisters is down in the battlefield, I better go get them, surround them in prayer, love them, and help them in the Galatians 6:1 concept - to be restored, not to be ensnared in sin." And, to mindfully watch out that I will probably be tempted in the same way. When we see ourselves as on a battlefield, and that battlefield is part of a pilgrimage home, then I think it eliminates a lot of the temptations to sinful comparison, to envy, to bitterness and other things, to realize that that's distraction, that's not the reality of what's happening.
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