DEFINITION: Spiritual warfare refers to the battles waged by believers against our spiritual enemies–Satan, demons, and the spiritual forces of evil.
FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
There are two spiritual kingdoms. The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:5-6). The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan himself, spiritual beings called demons, and all people who live in sin and rebellion against God. God’s Kingdom consists of the Trinity of God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), angels, and all people who live in loving submission to Him.
Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Satan or the Kingdom of God. There is no neutral ground (Matthew 12:30). You become a resident of God’s Kingdom by being born again and becoming a believer in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
Spiritual warfare began when Lucifer, who was originally a beautiful angel of prominence, rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Revelation 12:7-8).
The spiritual battle was manifested on earth when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
All the battles that you face in life, whether spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or relational are outward manifestations of a direct or indirect spiritual cause. Although in the natural world things often appear to be simply “circumstances” of life, the basis of these natural events originate in the spiritual world. Spiritual warfare is a spiritual battle which is manifested in the natural world.
Spiritual warfare is not against flesh and blood. The battle is against the evil forces that would hinder your walk with God, the Word of God manifested in your life, your worship of God, and your work for Him.
DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
Prepare for effective spiritual battle by arming yourself with spiritual weapons. These include:
-The belt of truth by gaining knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 6:14).
-The breastplate of righteousness–spiritual protection that comes by living the way the Word mandates (Ephesians 6:14).
-Spiritual shoes–protection that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:15).
-The shield of faith which stops the fiery darts from the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).
-The helmet of salvation, which protects your mind, soul, and spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
-The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
-Prayer (Ephesians 6:18).
-The blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).
-Your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
-The name of Jesus (Mark 16:17).
-Praise and worship (Psalm 59:16-17).
-Fasting (the books of Esther and Jonah).
Use these biblical strategies to win spiritual battles.
Submit and resist. If you submit yourself to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you (James 4:7). To resist means to “stand firm against and oppose the enemy at every point.”
Do not give place to the devil. Do not leave room for Satan to operate (Ephesians 4:27).
Giving “place” to the devil is providing him a foothold from where he can operate in your life–for examples through alcohol, drugs, pornography, immorality, witchcraft, cults, rebellion, etc.
Recover yourself from the devil. You have a responsibility to recover yourself from Satan’s snare. You must cooperate with God for deliverance (2 Timothy 2:26).
Abstain from fleshly lusts. To “abstain” means “to deliberately refrain evil practices. The lusts of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as conduct from which you must abstain. Fleshly lusts war against your spirit (1 Peter 2:11).
Try the spirits. Be alert for the deceptions of the enemy (2 Peter 3:l7; 1 Timothy 4:1).
Reject false teachers. A false teacher is one who teaches incorrect doctrines and fails to live up to the mandates of God’s Word (2 John l0-11).
Lay aside worldly entanglements. To be a good solider for Jesus, you must lay aside worldly affairs (2 Timothy 2:4).
Arm yourself with the mind of Christ. The mind of Jesus is not automatically developed in you. You must “let” or “permit” it to be developed (1 Peter 4:l; Philippians 2:5-8; Romans l2:1-2).
Pull and cast down strongholds. One of the goals of offensive warfare is to pull and cast down the strongholds of the enemy (2 Corinthians l0:4-5). To “pull down” means “to take down by effort or force.” To “cast” means “to throw or hurl.” You are told to cast off the works of darkness (Romans l3:l2) and cast out demon powers (Matthew l0:8). You are to demolish arguments and pretensions and to take captive any thought that is contrary to the thoughts of Christ.
Bind and loose. You have the power to bind the forces of evil and loose the forces of good (Matthew 16:19). For example, you can bind the spirit of iniquity at work in the life of a lost loved one and release the spirit of adoption (a ministry of the Holy Spirit) to work in that person’s life.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15) See also Ezekiel 28:12-19.
“He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18)
Read about the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13. Note that strategies used by Satan and how Jesus met each one with the Word of God.
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:18-19)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)
…Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
…and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude… (1 Peter 4:1)
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (2 John 1:11)
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)
Read the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:8-22 for further insights into spiritual warfare.
(For detailed instruction on spiritual warfare, obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Spiritual Strategies: A Manual Of Spiritual Warfare” available at http://www.harvestime.org)