I was talking about books with a friend when I realized most of the books I’ve been reading lately have dealt with spiritual warfare. The books have not been on what spiritual warfare is or how to wage it. Rather, they have been novels that feature spiritual warfare in one form or another and in varying degrees.
Why is it that I have been subconsciously drawn to books like this? Probably because spiritual warfare is very real, especially in the life of a Christian. I saw this reality vividly when I finally took my porn addiction seriously. Why? The devil knows it was keeping me from God. He also knew if porn got out of the way I would be close to God which in turn would enable me to be an effective, if not powerful, tool in God’s hands. This may be a little off track but a good example of a situation where the devil wages war against us.
Before I go any further I want to clarify, not every problem in life is from the devil. Sometimes our problems are the consequences of bad choices. This should also not be a way to excuse bad behavior. “The devil made me do it.”
According to GreatBibleStudies.com “spiritual warfare is resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy’s lies (in the form of deception, temptations and accusations) that he sends our way.”
They have a good article on the subject at greatbiblestudy.com/spiritual_warfare.php
What does the bible say about the subject?
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. – Ephesians 6:10-12
The schemes of the devil? So, Satan has a plan of attack! “Not against flesh and blood… but against the spiritual forces of evil.”? So the bible tells us that spiritual warfare is real and that our fight is not in the physical realm.
We are also told:
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[a] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. – 1 Peter 5:8-9
I don’t think it’s by accident Peter uses the word picture of a lion on the prowl. If you’ve ever seen a video of lions on the hunt then you know they always go for the weakest of the herd. That’s why Peter tells us to be strong in our faith. So we have the strength to withstand his attacks and fight.
This may seem a bit scary or intimidating to some. But the good news is that the devil loses in the end according to Revelation 20:10.
There will be a day when we never have to be bothered by him again.
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. – Revelation 20:10
Also, God gives us both the power and the tools to fight the spiritual battles we face. I’m not going to get into the full armor of God listed in Ephesians 6. Otherwise this post would be twenty pages long. But I will give you three basic tools we have available to us.
Before that we need to realize that the same power that rose Christ from the dead lives in us. So why should we fear the devil if we have that kind of power?
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 1:19-20
One of the weapons at our disposal is the bible, the word of God. The more we know of the scriptures, the easier it will be to counter the devil’s lies. If we know the truth we will recognize the lies.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
Another tool or weapon is prayer. This can be used in the heat of battle so to speak. We can pray for protection or for deliverance from an attack. We can and should pray for protection even when we aren’t actively doing battle. Being in the habit of regular prayer will not only offer protection and help but will also give us peace.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
The last tool I want to share is speaking against whatever lie or spirit you are dealing with. Speaking out loud. I don’t recommend this during a psychological examination. When doing this would be inappropriate or might freak people out you can always speak under your breath or imagine saying it.
I know this sounds odd but it works. I do this quite often myself. Sometimes all it takes is saying Stop! Or Shut Up! Or Go away! If nothing else it changes your thought pattern.
The apostle Paul has used this.
This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. – Acts 16:18
Sometimes, I even swear depending on how long an attack has been going on. I’m sure some find this wrong but it helps me. I’ll do whatever it takes. Unfortunately, as a human I fall short and screw up sometimes. So I need to remind myself of these things too.