Last weekend we gave one of our grandsons a Lego set for his birthday. It wasn’t an unusual present for our grandchildren who thoroughly enjoy putting together those building-block creations. However, this particular version was a little different. After constructing the object, you can download an app on your phone or tablet that enables you to scan the Lego creation to find hidden figures such as ghosts. I certainly don’t understand the technology behind it, but searching for those otherwise invisible entities adds another dimension to the whole Lego phenomenon, which some kids might find entertaining.
It reminds me of the invisible realities that are present in our own world. I’m not talking about ghosts. However, the Bible makes it clear there is an unseen realm in which spiritual forces are at work. Paul refers not only to our need to stand against Satan’s attacks, but also to be aware that the forces that oppose us as believers aren’t just flesh and blood. We battle “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).” On the one hand, God’s Word reveals that there are unseen angels ministering on behalf of believers (see Hebrews 1:14). Yet at the same time there are demonic or evil spiritual forces working against us and trying to hinder God’s work in the world.
While some make the mistake of ignoring such invisible realties, we also should be careful not to overemphasize them. The Bible indicates that some had fallen into the trap of worshiping angels. I’ve heard of others who begin to imagine demons around every corner or attribute every bad occurrence in the world to their activity. We have to be careful not to fall prey to a form of superstition that has little to do with faith in Christ. There are those who have mixed Christianity with superstition, viewing crosses or Bibles as magic charms and treating prayer as if it were like reciting a magical incantation.
Nevertheless, we shouldn’t shy away from the truth about angels and demons. As we face evil in this world, we need to recognize that there often is much more to it than what we see with our physical sight. Behind those human beings who seem to be leading the charge against God and the teachings of His Word, there are often evil invisible forces at work. We may need to confront those individuals who are doing wrong, but at the same time we need to value their souls and realize they are often merely blinded and lost pawns being used by greater forces.
Additionally, the truth about those unseen forces should remind us of the importance of prayer. When Paul refers to such unseen realities, he encourages us to be “praying always” (Ephesians 6:18). An incident in the book of Daniel also suggests that prayer is connected to what happens in that invisible realm (see Daniel 10). As we pray, spiritual forces are at work behind the scenes and apparently our prayers can affect what takes place there.
One time God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant to allow him to see the invisible army of the Lord that was protecting His people and fighting on their behalf (II Kings 6:17). It might be helpful if He would do that for us at times or create an app we could use to see the spiritual activity going on around us. Yet through faith in God’s Word we know it’s there. So let’s keep our real opposition in mind and be doing our part in engaging in the battle through earnest prayer.