“She didn’t see the two young men step out into the road and bring the van to a sudden halt…She didn’t get a chance to answer the question, ‘Who is Malala?’” Shots rang out as Malala Yousafzai slumped into the lap of the friend sitting beside her, shot in the head.”

This scene is described in the book, I Am Malala. Malala’s life is a stunning example of living counterculturally. Born into a Pakistani family that deeply valued education, Malala pursued her education passionately and vocally. Education for women was opposed by many in her country. Ultimately, her stand against much of the culture around her led to being shot. Fortunately, Malala survived, finished college in England and was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2014.


Second Corinthians 10:3-5 goes to the core of that cultural conflict:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful…”

We live in a constant tension between what happens in our flesh and blood world and what is happening in the spirit realm, where the real action happens. Do we have to make choices, take stands and live in real time? Yes. But, we need to realize our real enemy is not the one staring at us across the dinner table or through the TV screen. Our real enemy is the deceiver and the liar, Satan. He often appears as an, “angel of light” to make things even more complicated. Our own speculations and mental and emotional strongholds can also be our enemies.

So, we are in a spiritual battle at the core, and often that spills over into life on this earth. Make no mistake, though, the victory is found in, “destroying these speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Malala had human enemies, but her real battles were the strongholds and ways of thinking that influenced her society. Let’s choose to live counter-culturally by recognizing where the battle really is and picking up the powerful weapons we have in the Spirit.


List people you may have conflicts with, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to move the battles into the spirit where real victory is found.

By Penny Allison – Women’s Pastor