Powerful Forces

“…the world… the prince of the power of the air… the desires of the body and mind…” (Ephesians 2:2-3)

Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:1-3

The last devotional considered our natural state of spiritual death. Its seriousness is highlighted by the forces at work controlling us and keeping us in that condition.

There are three of them that Paul mentions in Ephesians 2:1-3 – the world, the devil, and the desires of the body and mind. The first of them, the influence of the world, is described by Paul in this way: “You were once dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,” he says, “following the course of this world.

The “world” that he has in mind is the world apart from God, specifically, humans still in rebellion against God. By nature, he says, we all follow the “course” that the world takes. Apart from Christ, we adopt its view of wealth and power and pleasure, and so on. To follow the “course of this world” is to adopt its values and follow its ways.

Secondly, in doing so, we naturally end up “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…” (v. 2). Paul is referring to Satan as the “prince of the power of the air”, alluding to the habitation of evil powers (the air) and to Satan’s domination over them. He is ceaselessly at work in those whose minds and hearts are open to him (“the sons of disobedience”) snaring them to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Whether they know it or not, those who reject God live in the “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), unwitting subjects of the evil one.

Thirdly, in such a condition, those who are spiritually dead end up “carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,” and are by nature, “children of wrath” (v. 3). Far from enjoying true freedom as they think they are, they become enslaved through the desires of the body and the mind.

Desires of the body and mind are the invasion points that Satan uses to mislead people into rebellion against the will of God. He did so in the beginning by appealing to the pride of life in Eve (Genesis 3:6), and he continues to use this basic human desire, along with the lust of the eyes and the flesh (1 John 2:16), to deceive and destroy people.

Together, the three things discussed point to the fact that life apart from God is something we cannot easily break out of by ourselves. In fact, it is impossible for us to do so without the power of God. We are held in the fierce grip of spiritual death by powerful forces both outside and inside us.

It is when we see this that we begin to appreciate the grace of God toward us in its truly undeserved and necessary character. And with that, we see clearly how indispensable that grace is to the awakening of those near and dear to us.

Closing Thoughts:

  • Do you think that unbelievers generally are aware of being in the grip of Satan?
  • Are the desires of our bodies and minds necessarily wrong? If not, what makes them so?

– Andrew Young