"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
Victor Marx is a man, who along with his wife, has responded to a call from the Father to go and minister to the people, especially young girls and women, who have been ravaged and abused in every manner possible by the forces of Isis in Iraq. Doing so has not only exposed them to great physical danger, but also to the hatred and counterattacks of the devil and hell itself. A story he related of his ministering to, and praying with a captured Isis officer shows just how real the spiritual warfare spoken of in Ephesians 6 truly is.
The Isis leader Marx spoke with was considered extremely dangerous, and so was shackled in order to restrain him. As Marx spoke with him, he also shared with him the truth, love, and reality of Jesus Christ, most especially the love and life that this man could have in Him. Marx then asked the man if he could pray for his family, which he gave him permission to do. This led Marx to then ask him if he could lead him in a prayer to receive Christ as his savior. The man gave his consent to this as well. Marx said all went well with the prayer until the man was asked to name Jesus Christ as his savior. Marx said that suddenly, this man's countenance took on a visage of deep darkness, anger and hatred. So enraged did he become that he broke free of his shackles and made to attack Marx. The presence of a number of other people there enabled them to subdue the man and get him back in his restraints. Marx said that in that experience he knew he had come face to face with the naked evil that opposes the truth of Jesus Christ. The truth and love of Jesus was reaching one who was shackled by a far more powerful force than the physical bonds that held him. When that happens, satan will unleash all the power of hell to oppose it.
Scenes like Marx describes are not very commonplace here in the west. Our emphasis on the intellectual, the rational and logical have made such spiritual encounters rare, even alien to us. We say we believe in a literal devil, but we don't really think he's all that much of a force. What we seem to miss is that when we think that way, we also live as if the Holy Spirit isn't a force as well. Someone said that when we pray for His Kingdom to come, than all other kingdoms must go. Every kingdom that is not His Kingdom has it's roots in the enemies domain of darkness and evil....and that territory will not go without a violent fight....to the death. We who are the Church have to realize this, and we can't be ignorant of all the weapons our enemy has at his disposal, but especially, we cannot be ignorant of the unconquerable power we have in Jesus Christ.
The western Church may not often encounter what Marx did, but satan is no less at work here. In Northern Virginia, where I live, he doesn't manifest himself through Isis fighters, mass murderers, or other forms of that naked evil. He's much more subtle, but no less dangerous or wicked. Here, he comes against the Kingdom of God through strongholds of apathy, affluence, pleasure, materialism, busyness, career goals, and a myriad of addictions. Spiritual mindsets deeply embedded in the lives of people, communities, and churches. When those strongholds are threatened by the Truth of Christ and His Kingdom, He will wage a vicious war in their defense. He fears the exposure of and Kingdom assault upon these "fortresses" he has so skillfully constructed.
Know your enemy. He is naked evil no matter how he might disguise himself. Know too that entering into this battle brings great cost. You will be bloodied. So then, you must know your Advocate, the One who fights with and for you. Know that this Advocate has already defeated all the forces of darkness. Know too that this enemy does not accept his defeat, so he fights on. But he fights on as a beaten foe. We fight in the power of a victory already won. It was won at the cross and the empty tomb. And all of hell trembles at that truth. Dare we speak and preach the Truth that crumbles the foundations of hell? It will be a battle, but a battle in a war we, in Christ, have already won. Naked evil is conquered by the Naked Truth of Jesus Christ.