In the last StreetWise we were talking about spiritual warfare and how important it is for us to avoid the two traps of practical atheism and magic.
The good news is that the Bible is full of relevant and helpful teaching on this subject. Of course, the hard bit is to put all this teaching in to practice.
Spiritual warfare is not just for the spiritual elite. We are (all of us) at war with the devil, whether we recognise it or not. Shutting our eyes to the fact will not make the enemy go away or prevent him from harming us. There really is unimaginable evil in this world, and our response to it matters.
The battle is the Lord's. Jesus has already won the victory: our job is to stand firm in Him. Ephesians 6, the classic passage about spiritual warfare, is very clear on this point: take your stand against the devil's schemes (v. 11); you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (v. 13); stand firm then (v.14). We don't need to go looking for the enemy.
We are not fighting flesh and blood. Other people may oppose us, but (whatever it feels like) they are not our enemy - only people being used by the enemy.
Submit yourself to God and resist the devil, then he will flee from you (James 4:7). Resisting the devil is no use if we are not submitting to God. The authority and power are His, not ours, and they are given us so that His will and not ours can be done.
The way we fight is to live as a Christian. The spiritual armour is simply getting on with the Christian life: living, loving and serving as He commands, enables and empowers us to do.
Paul talks about spiritual warfare right at the end of Ephesians. This is not because he has suddenly remembered some new and important area of teaching and has to squeeze it in, but because it summarises everything he has been teaching us about salvation, the gospel, prayer, faith, truth and righteousness in the rest of the book.
The hard part is to put all this teaching into practice. But that is what we are here for: to love the unlovely, to see God's grace and love changing the lives of vulnerable people, and to stand firm against all the things which would seek to distract us from this task.