Do you ever feel as if there is something trying to keep you from following Christ–an opposing force holding you back, hindering your every step and conspiring to get you to simply give up? If so, be encouraged! Many have noted that opposition comes when you get serious about obeying God.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
I distinctly remember a conversation my parents held years ago that centered on the fact that in addition to God, there is a spiritual world inhabited by various beings–both good and evil–observing our lives. Those who follow God and do His bidding we call angels; those following Satan who have rebelled against the rightful authority of God we call demons. And while the fact that my life is being observed even when I am completely alone is disconcerting to say the least, Biblically there is truth to this.
While there is no indication as to whether the devil or his demons see our every move or not, Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8) This at least suggests the possibility that our spiritual progress, or lack thereof, is visible to a wider audience than we imagine, and today’s verse warning of the spiritual warfare surrounding our walk certainly indicates that the devil has at least some knowledge of what is going on in our lives. Additionally, there may be times such as the case of Job, when God chose to specifically identify His faithful servant to Satan.
Yet it is not only the demons who have some knowledge about us because the angels of God are also involved in the lives of His people. In Matthew 18:10, Jesus tells us that little children are under the care of God’s angels: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10) Hebrew 1:14 tells us, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation,” (Hebrews 1:14) indicating that angels are God’s messengers sent to help Christians. Furthermore, Psalm 91:11, the passage Satan used to tempt Jesus to sin, tells us God sends His angels to care for His people:
“Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.” (Psalms 91:9-12)
Lastly, of course, we should also derive encouragement from this famous passage in Hebrews:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
This cloud of witnesses refers to the righteous example left us by God’s faithful through the ages. And while there is no indication that the dead in Christ see those still alive, the other passages we have examined indicate that in addition to the godly examples from which we should draw encouragement, we should also be aware that there are spiritual beings observing our lives, for good or for evil.
So, the next time you feel as if everything is working against you to hinder or even derail your faithfulness to God, realize that you are not alone in your struggle, because countless Christians before us have left a legacy of persevering under excruciating circumstances before us, and others continue to do so even to this day. And as we struggle, we must recognize that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” –that there is an evil spirit world eager to see us fail. We must also know, however, that God sees our faithful obedience and helps us, through His ministering angels or otherwise, in our need, and because of this we must never give up. Rather, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
Thank You that You are the God who sees–who sees our desire to be faithful to You as well as our struggles. Give us the strength and perseverance to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and…run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Amen.