As I was sailing with a good friend on an ocean that was calm and as flat as glass, I felt I couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful morning. But after my friend (the captain of the ship) checked a small digital gauge on the boat, he sprang to the till to change direction. He informed me that despite the serene appearance of the water, the bottom of the ocean was remarkably shallow where we were sailing. Thanks to the boat’s depth finder, we had just barely escaped getting the boat’s six-foot-long keel caught on a rocky formation. As I shook my head in amazement, he told me that the greatest dangers in sailing are not the threats you can see, but those you can’t.

Paul teaches a similar truth in his letter to the Ephesians. He wrote that our fight is not “against flesh-and-blood enemies,” where our attention is usually focused (Ephesians 6:12). Instead, our fight is against foes that are unseen but more powerful by far, the “mighty powers in this dark world” (Ephesians 6:12).

It’s all too easy for me to get caught up in what I can see with my eyes, both my enemies as well as my allies. But living the life of faith in Jesus means growing in my awareness that so much of what threatens us, as well as what supports us, is really invisible and spiritual in nature.

But as we learn to live deeper than the surface, we can find encouragement in the truth that we are not defenseless against these foes. Because in the same way that we have invisible but powerful adversaries, we have the invisible but powerful armor of God (Ephesians 6:13). This armor is stronger than any metal in its ability to help us resist our enemy the devil and stop his fiery arrows (Ephesians 6:16).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 25:1-27