Because of our relatively comfortable life here in the West, it is easy for us to forget that we are at war, spiritually. Our enemy has a scorched earth policy of "steal, kill, and destroy" (Jn.10:10). And virtually all of us have been run over by his war machine at some point in our life. From time to time, we have even participated on the wrong side of the battle, damaging our own soul as well as those around us.
When we actually do think about the war, we often see only the battle "out there" — the war in our culture for the minds of the youth; the damage done by addiction and dysfunctional families; the killing and stealing; the destructive behavior; the evil done intentionally that makes no sense at all. These are all terrible manifestations of the invisible war being waged against us on every hand. And sometimes it seems so severe, we may even wonder if the war is being lost.
But there is another side to the war that is very personal, and in which we have a very important part to play — the war that is taking place within our own soul — the war for our heart and mind to be renewed in the image of God. If there is anything the enemy hates, it is restoration. Because then he has to watch all his work go up in smoke. On the enemy's side there is our own history and all the bad things that have derailed us along the way. His chief weapon in all of this of course is to deceive us — both in terms of how to live, and in terms of our chances for getting the help from God we need. But on our side we have the Creator of Life! The One who came to "destroy the works of the evil one," including all the work the evil one has done to us and in us. We can join the apostle Paul in this task of "destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God … taking every thought captive" (2Cor.10:5). Because with every victory, every stronghold in us that is torn down, we are more free, more alive, and more connected to God.
If we are not careful, we may forget that our adversary is never asleep at the switch. "As a roaring lion, he goes about seeking whom he may devour" (1Pet.5:8). We cannot win these battles by default, but only by design. We need to be intentional about engaging with God, deeply and often, or we may find ourselves overrun by forces we never saw coming. But when we are connected well to our savior, "our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of any fortress" (2Cor.10:4) that exists in our own body. We already know who is going to win. We just need to be deliberate about taking the battle to those places in our own heart that need to be rescued, so we can enjoy victory after victory every day, from now until the end!