“In the land of Uz there lived a man named Job; and he was blameless
and upright, one who revered God and avoided evil.”
What comes to mind when you hear the term “spiritual realm?” While it is easy to focus only on the world around us, the Bible makes clear that what we experience with our five senses every day is not all there is. God created not only the physical world which we know, but also a spiritual realm that directly impacts our lives. It is not some distant place up beyond the clouds, it is here – all around us, just unseen. While this concept can be one that is hard for us to understand and process, the Bible explains it is reality.
Consider the story of Job. Most people are at least vaguely familiar with the Biblical character, Job. The book of Job is possibly the oldest in the Bible and Job was likely a contemporary of Abraham.
Job was the wealthiest man in his land – and a faithful follower of God. Despite his devotion to God, God allowed Job to be directly attacked by Satan in every way imaginable. Job lost everything – his herds were seized by enemies or burned in fire, his servants were killed in an enemy attack, his children all died when a roof collapsed on them, and Job himself with inflicted with a horrific skin disease.
The book of Job continues with Job’s wife telling him to curse God and die and friends explaining to Job they are sure all this has happened due to sin in his life. Nevertheless, through it all, Job remained faithful to God.
While the purpose of the book is largely to illustrate God’s sovereignty and faithfulness during times of difficulty and suffering, there is another truth we can take away from the book of Job – there is a spiritual battle raging around us that we are not privy to.
Ephesians 6:12 puts it this way, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
I don’t know about you, but I personally often fail to consider the larger spiritual picture that may be unfolding when I face difficult times and situations. I focus on people, on circumstances, on emotions – but I don’t think about the spiritual forces at play.
As Pastor Tony Evans has said, “Spiritual warfare can simply be defined as the conflict in the invisible realm that affects what you’re going through in the visible realm. It is the battle in the unseen that is responsible for the battles in the seen.”
While we need to careful about seeing Satan in all negative situations – after all, sometimes our own sinful choices bring on the negative consequences we face – we need to be aware of our adversary and how craftily he works. He knows how to attack each of us with great skill. He knows when our defenses are down and what will hurt or destroy us more than anything else. After all, if he can get us down, angry with God and those around us, we will lose sight of our greater spiritual calling of bringing God glory in every aspect of our lives.
When we become self-focused, we can no longer be God-focused.
What is the most challenging situation you are facing today? Have you stopped to consider the larger spiritual battle that may be ensuing around you? How would being aware of the spiritual realm and the idea that the battle you are facing may be spiritual in nature rather than natural impact how you handle the situation?
Ask God to open your eyes to what is really going on. Seek God, rebuke Satan, and like Job, do your best to remain faithful to God and to glorify Him in your situation.
If we want to fix the visible, we must address the invisible. Problems that have begun in the spiritual realm, must be addressed there as well. We will never fix a spiritual problem by only addressing its physical manifestation.
The book of Job concludes with God giving back to Job twice as much as he had before Satan’s attack. Just like God did for Job, He can redeem your situation as well. Never forget that.