For We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood
There is no group in society that bears the brunt of social ills more than members of law enforcement. From my position as a 26 year veteran criminal investigator with the Federal Government, I have seen the entire legal system and its problems. I have had enough contact with the various branches of law enforcement to understand fully the pressures on today’s police.
This exposure has led me to believe that if the police officer fails to understand the source of crime and the source of the pressure brought to bear on him, the result will be disastrous. Every statistic about the problems of the police officer is astounding. These statistics, to name a few, include a very high divorce rate, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide and job-related physical problems.
What I also see, that cold statistics do not, is a nearly universal cynicism about the job and life in general. This is perhaps the worst problem of them all because it could very well be the root cause of all the other problems. This cynicism is part of the pattern for police stress. Police stress can destroy the officer both physically and emotionally.
How To Defend Against Police Stress
How can the police officer protect himself against such problems? How can the officer perform on the job and yet be protected from the literal destruction of his personality and family life? The answer lies in the officer having a biblical understanding of the source and effect of crime, and also applying biblical principles to his life. These principles will shield him from the pressures that could destroy him both physically and emotionally.
The straightforward answer from the Bible about the source of crime is an evil personality, satan, is working his will through spiritually unregenerate people. When the Lord Jesus encountered resistance, he identified the source, not as people but as the spiritual force behind them. People were trying to kill Him, but He recognized there was a spiritual force motivating them:
“But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God… (44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:40, 44.
The Bible goes further to show that satan has a well organized “government” so to speak under his control. This wicked spiritual organization has a direct impact on law enforcement. It is the driving force to energize criminals. As a police officer, you are dealing with spiritual forces working through the criminal. The following verse shows this clearly:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12.
As a police officer, you are not fighting against a criminal or group of criminals, but against spiritual evil that is working its way through criminals. You must look beyond the criminal to the driving force behind the criminal. The Bible is very clear about who or what is behind crime.
The Apostle Paul referred to the power behind crime as the mystery of lawlessness. He also called this lawlessness the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience. Evil is using people to promote rebellion against authority. This exactly describes crime: rebellion against law. The following Bible verses show this:
“For the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) doth already work…” 2 Thessalonians 2:7.
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:,” Ephesians 2:2.
The Apostle John referred to this lawlessness as the spirit of antichrist. This spirit is in total rebellion against God’s authority. This is a real force that can influence people to commit acts of crime.
“…this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” I John 4:3.
There is a spirit of lawlessness in the world and as a police officer you are continually battling against it. The best example to show how this spirit operates is organized crime. Organized crime (OC) is a highly organized, well oiled organization with spiritual power behind it. The leaders rule like government officials with layers of insulation shielding them from law enforcement.
Organized crime gives an excellent view of how well structured spiritual evil is. There is a head of OC just as satan heads evil. Evil has layers of government which are principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness. This is how OC is structured. The OC leader has all sorts of layers of agents under him executing his will. The police are dealing with spiritual wickedness set up to promote evil.
These layers are mostly criminal, which are the manifestations of the spirit of lawlessness, and are very effective. The layers include blackmail, bribery, extortion, fear, which is probably the most effective, murder, physical force, political corruption, threats, unscrupulous accountants and attorneys and a host of other devices.
Look at the effect of OC on our society! It deals in anything to destroy the family unit and moral fabric of this nation. This includes counterfeiting, drugs, gambling, official corruption, pornography, prostitution and usury. Whether organized crime members realize it or not, evil is using them to destroy the moral fabric of this country. Organized crime members only think of money and power. However, the spirit of lawlessness works through them to attack the very heart of the country.
I have just briefly mentioned organized crime, but if you had an overview of our entire society you would see a pattern. Remember crime breeds fear in a country’s citizens and this fear causes a loss in confidence of the government. This fear is used to create a strong centralized government which can use dictatorial force to combat this crime.
Before Hitler came to power, Germany was a lawless country. I see many areas of our country especially in the cities heading this way. I ask this question, what is the logical conclusion to the ever increasing crime wave, which is the manifestation of the spirit of lawlessness? In the last twenty years crime has greatly increased, and millions are now in prison. Terrorism also is now a factor.
Police officer, you must realize there is spiritual power behind crime. It is not just a criminal with a gun you are fighting, but the spiritual force behind the criminal, that is working its way through the criminal: we wrestle not against flesh and blood. The effect of this spiritual force is lawlessness which always leads to a strong centralized government to put society “back together.” If crime continues at the present rate it could foster a change in our political system.
According to the Bible, law enforcement is in a spiritual battle and if spiritual weapons are not used, the police are going to lose. The sad thing is the police officer can lose and not really know it. I have seen all levels of law enforcement and have spoken to police officers from all over the United States and two things stand out: the first is low morale and the second is a bitter cynical spirit toward the job and life. Why is this? Because crime never ends and continues on and on. The police are constantly combating evil and it can have a wearing down effect on a person.
The United States has the best trained and equipped police forces in the world, yet crime is still increasing. The police officer senses it, and although a police officer may not tell you he is defeated, his actions show it. Time after time, I have met law enforcement officers who have divorced themselves from the reality of the job. The main topic of conversation is how many years to retirement, why the officer hates the job, how terrible the court system is and the leadership problems of the department.
Many officers are bitter, cynical, have given up and go through the motions of the job. My partner and I disliked going to one local police agency because this “negative” feeling was so intense we could sense it. The negative attitude affected us just by talking to the police officers. This attitude is a sign of defeat.
Police officer you must realize you are not fighting individual criminals but a spirit of lawlessness. This spirit is relentless and never stops. If you fight this spirit by your own power after a period of time you will tire, give up, and become defeated. This is when cynicism sets in. When your own internal power runs out and you give up, you are in deep trouble.
You must understand that this spirit operates like a law of nature. By your own power, for example, you can hold a gun above your head and for a short time your will and strength can supersede gravity. However, the pull of gravity is relentless and soon you tire, your arms weaken and the gun falls. The law of gravity has defeated you physically. Some have stronger strength and will, so the fall takes longer, however, no one under his own power can indefinitely defeat the relentless pull of gravity. The fight is not against the gun but against the unseen force of gravity which relentlessly pulls the gun downward. This is exactly what happens with crime. The battle is not with the criminal [gun] but the spirit of lawlessness [gravity] which empowers, directs and motivates the criminal.
Police officer, have your arms dropped under the pull? Have you run out, or are you now in the process of running out of your own power? Has the spirit of lawlessness weakened you to the point where your view of the job and life is bitter and cynicism has set in?
God’s Protection on the Job
How do you protect yourself from the pressures of the job and yet still be able to function with a positive attitude toward the job and life? The answer lies in you being truthful with yourself and then applying biblical principles to your life. Being truthful means admitting the battle against crime is greater than you can handle, and that you need a greater power than yourself to keep your life intact.
The biblical principles are that God promises to work through you to fight lawlessness:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds…” 2 Corinthians 10:4.
And, He promises to put power into the life of everyone that has a proper relationship with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord promised to give you all the power you need to overcome both the weaknesses in your life and the spirit of lawlessness you face everyday:
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” l John 5:4
The Lord promises you power for peace in your life:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
The same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead can be in your life:
“That I may know Him and the power of his resurrection.” Philippians 3:10
The bitterness, cynicism, depression, negativism, alcoholism, and drug abuse which are signs of police stress, that plague so many officers, can be overcome. This is overcome through a proper relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The police stress can be changed to love, peace, joy, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.
The power to have peace in the face of the spirit of lawlessness can be yours. The power to have joy in a negative environment can be yours. The power to have love for society’s outcasts can be yours. The power to have self-control in the face of alcohol or drugs can be yours. All this can be yours if your relationship with God’s Son is correct.
The Word of God says that right now you can have power in your life from God to have victory, but this is only done by receiving the person of Jesus Christ into your life:
“But as many as received him to them gave He power to become the children of God.” John 1:12.
Only through a personal relationship with God’s Son can you have this power. There is no other way but through Christ:
“I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the father but by me,” John 14:6.
If by faith you will receive Christ into your life you will become a new creation:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
God’s only requirement for this new life of power is that you be truthful about yourself, recognize you need His Son’s resurrection power in your life, and make the Lord Jesus Christ the center of your life. You do this by faith in believing the Lord Jesus died for your sins:
“Who in His own self bore our sins in His own body…” 1 Peter 2:24
By repenting of your past life, by believing the Lord rose from the dead and then receiving the risen Son of God into your life, God will release His power into your life. Repenting and receiving Christ into your life can be done right now by a simple heart prayer between you and God.
Police officer please do not give up. You have to stand against the spirit of lawlessness because if you do not, who will stand? What will happen to our society? With God’s power you can function with real effectiveness on the job. With your life centered on God’s Son there will be a shield not only on your chest but all around you:
Ephesians 6:16 “Above all take the shield of faith whereby you can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.”
Police officer, commit your life and job to the Lord and watch Him work through you. With enough law enforcement officials in prayer there can be a real impact made on crime. Remember, spiritual weapons, such as prayer, have to be used against the spirit of lawlessness. God wants you in prayer and people praying for you:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” Ephesians 6:18.
God is very serious about you. He wants you to be effective in controlling evil. God rose up law enforcement to control the spirit of lawlessness and requires fervent prayer for you and all in authority. Every church in the area should prayer regularly for the police. The following first points to the need to pray for the police, so that, we can live a peaceable life:
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” 1 Timothy 2:1-3.
Remember, your battle is not solely against the criminal. Please make sure you have God’s spiritual weapons in this fight. Police stress is deadly, but God is on your side. Stand in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and defeat the spirit of lawlessness in the street. Please do not become a casualty.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.(12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.(13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13.