what is spiritual warfare


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You feel it, don’t you? That nagging sense that there’s more going on than meets the eye. You’re right. We’re right in the middle of an invisible struggle for humanity’s heart and soul, believe it or not. It’s called spiritual warfare, and if you’re a Christian, you’re already on the front lines.

You might be asking now – exactly what is spiritual warfare? 

Is it just a metaphor, or is there really a war going on in the spiritual realm? Now the big question – how do you and I fit into all of this? 

In this post, we’ll explore what is spiritual warfare and discover how we can arm ourselves with God’s power to stand firm in the face of the enemy’s attacks.

Understanding the Concept of Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare is real. Whether you’ve experienced a dark time in your life that you couldn’t explain or you’re seeking to understand what the Bible says about spiritual warfare, it’s important for every Christian to be aware of the war that rages around them. The Bible tells us to be watchful (1 Peter 5:8) and to guard our hearts against the iniquity of sin. 

Let’s take a look at a couple Scriptures:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

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. (1 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Definition of Spiritual Warfare

As to what it is, let me hazard this as a short definition: Spiritual warfare is the leveraging of everything that God promises against everything that opposes God’s purposes.

Biblical Basis for Spiritual Warfare

Scripture tells us that there are real, actual spiritual forces arrayed against the triune God and his every goal, among which are your continued faithfulness and allegiance to Jesus.

The Reality of the Spiritual Realm

Understanding that spiritual warfare isn’t the madness it’s frequently portrayed as is beneficial. It enables us to dismiss the nonsense that thrives solely on our gullibility and innocence, saying, “No, nice try,” to such foolishness.

Want brothers to fight your battles with? ⤵️



The Enemy’s Tactics in Spiritual Warfare

Sadly, the whole question of spiritual warfare has, for many years now, been complicated by its hijacking at the hands of fringe Christian movements that blow up the idea into lurid, sensational caricature. 

The story that has always stuck in my mind is of one Christian group that attempted to summit Mount Everest in order to battle and banish a spirit known as “the Queen of Heaven,” who was allegedly suppressing gospel work in Turkey. 

This is an advanced level of deception that borderlines absurdity. Here’s a short video summary of it.

Satan’s Schemes and Strategies

The enemy will attack from all angles, hoping to dissuade the person from fully giving their heart to Jesus. He will use circumstances, events, people, things, and even doubt in their minds to steal their hearts back to his ways.

Common Tactics Used by the Enemy

The seeds that are sown in people’s hearts will either take root in good soil, which is a heart fully surrendered to the Lord, or they will be sown in places where the word is snatched away from them until they fall away (Matthew 13). These types of battles are fought in the world but involve the spiritual forces of darkness that exist in the invisible realm around us.

How the Devil Seeks to Deceive and Destroy

The devil uses our mental space as his battlefield to wage war against us. One of his favorite tactics is to tell us lies and to speak them so convincingly that we hold them for the truth. 

One of Satan’s strategies is to present us with a worst-case scenario of our future in order to arouse fear in us. However, by far the worst lie of the devil is his effort to convince the world to believe him over God (Revelation 12:9), and that our Father is no match for him.

The Believer’s Role in Spiritual Warfare

To understand the battle of spiritual warfare, we need to begin with acknowledging that we are in a war. Battles make up smaller components of the bigger picture. By definition, battles involve combat between two persons, between factions, between armies, and they consist of any type of “extended contest, struggle, or controversy” according to Webster-Merriam.

What is spiritual warfare and what is our role in it? As Christians, we are in a spiritual battle of some sort on a daily basis. In warfare, battles are fought on different fronts, for different reasons, and with varying degrees of intensity. 

The same is true in spiritual warfare. Our spiritual battles and warfare are real, even though we cannot physically see the attacker. But, we can educate ourselves on how the battles are fought and how they impact our lives on a daily basis.

Putting on the Full Armor of God

We have to ask ourselves, “Why do we even want to fight spiritual warfare?” It will do us no good to educate ourselves on the battle if we see no reason for the fight. 

War is very controversial today in the physical realm. Those attitudes, beliefs, and convictions will transfer over to the spiritual realm. However, in the spiritual realm, there is a battle going on regardless of our opinion. 

We are either victors or victims. Jesus has come and conquered. The war is already won in the heavens.



Resisting the Devil

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

Evil can only enter us when we allow it to live in our hearts, like a vampire who must be let into your house. The first step to engaging in this grand spiritual warfare is recognizing it exists and genuinely examining your heart. 

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. (Romans 1:17)

Walking in the Spirit

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

The Power of Prayer in Spiritual Warfare

Your commander in spiritual warfare is Jesus Christ, who leads two armies: the army of holy angels in heaven and the army of prayer warriors on Earth. Jesus chose you, saved you, gives you an eternal inheritance of blessings, and lives in your soul as the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus wants you to choose His side in the spiritual war, and to remember that the power He gives you is more powerful than evil. Your commander Christ Jesus is the greatest example of a prayer warrior; by studying his life on Earth you can learn how to serve God without fear.

The Importance of Prayer

So what does it feel like to be in spiritual warfare? The devil, Satan, has many tactics for sneaking into our lives and raging war in our soul. While this list is not exhaustive, it will help you understand when you may be facing spiritual warfare and be aware that it’s time to put on supernatural strength and protection from your heavenly father.

Praying in the Spirit

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:18)

Interceding for Others

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much. (James 5:16).

Understand that there is a war and you are in it. Like it or not, all of us are caught up in the spiritual war that’s taking place between good and evil. If you don’t engage in the war, you’ll still be affected by it – and you’ll be much more vulnerable to evil than you would if you decided to fight as God calls you to do. 

So be active; not passive. Engage in spiritual warfare with the confidence that God’s power working through you is greater than any evil working against you. Your prayers can help prevent bad things from happening to people and usher good things into people’s lives. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings for guidance about how best to pray for what’s most needed – and then pray to advance God’s kingdom on Earth and stop the spread of evil.

 
Key Takeaway: 

Get real about spiritual warfare: it’s an everyday battle for your soul. The Bible spells it out, urging us to guard our hearts and stay alert. Gear up with God’s promises and fight back against the darkness trying to sway you from Jesus. Prayer is your secret weapon in this invisible war, so use it fiercely to protect yourself and others.

Overcoming the Enemy Through Christ

The truth is, we can’t overcome the enemy on our own. But the good news is that we don’t have to. Jesus Christ has already won the victory for us through his death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:57).

The Authority of Christ

As believers, we have the authority of Christ working in and through us. In Luke 10:19, Jesus tells his disciples, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” 

This isn’t just a nice sentiment – it’s a promise that we can stand on.

The Finished Work of the Cross

When Jesus died on the cross, he didn’t just pay the price for our sins. He also defeated the powers of darkness once and for all. Colossians 2:15 says, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” 

The battle has already been won, even if the enemy is still trying to deceive us.

Living in Victory

So how do we live in this victory that Christ has won for us? It starts with renewing our minds with the truth of God’s Word.

We need to replace the enemy’s lies with the promises of God. It means putting on the full armor of God each day, as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. And it means staying connected to Jesus through prayer and worship, drawing on his strength and power to overcome.

Recognizing and Responding to Spiritual Attacks

Even though we have victory in Christ, the reality is that we will still face spiritual attacks from the enemy. It’s important to learn how to recognize these attacks and respond to them with faith and truth.

Signs of Spiritual Warfare

Some common signs that you may be experiencing a spiritual attack include:

  • Persistent feelings of fear, anxiety, or despair.
  • Sudden and intense temptation to sin.
  • Confusion and doubt about God’s goodness and faithfulness.
  • Physical or mental exhaustion that doesn’t seem to have a clear cause.

It’s important to remember that not every difficult situation or negative thought is a spiritual attack. Sometimes we face challenges and struggles simply because we live in a fallen world. But if you’re experiencing persistent patterns of the signs listed above, it’s worth considering whether there may be a spiritual component at play.

Responding with Faith and Truth

When you recognize that you’re facing a spiritual attack, the most important thing is to respond with faith and truth. This means:



The Importance of Spiritual Discernment

One of the keys to effectively navigating spiritual warfare is developing spiritual discernment. This means learning to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit and distinguish it from the lies and deception of the enemy.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is our ultimate guide and teacher when it comes to spiritual discernment. John 16:13 says, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” As we learn to tune into the Holy Spirit’s leading, we can navigate the spiritual battles we face with greater wisdom and clarity.

Developing Spiritual Discernment

Spiritual discernment is a skill that we can develop over time as we grow in our relationship with God. Some practical ways to cultivate discernment include:

  • Regular Bible study and meditation on God’s Word.
  • Consistent prayer and relation with God.
  • Seeking wise counsel from mature believers.
  • Practicing obedience to God’s commands.

Discerning God’s Will

Ultimately, the goal of spiritual discernment is to align our lives with God’s will and purposes. As we learn to recognize the Holy Spirit’s leading, we can make decisions and take actions that advance God’s kingdom and bring Him glory. This doesn’t mean we’ll always have perfect clarity, but we can trust that God will guide us as we seek Him with a sincere heart.

Standing Firm in Faith During Spiritual Battles

Spiritual warfare can be intense and exhausting, but we don’t have to face it alone. God has given us the resources we need to stand firm in our faith and experience victory in Christ.

Building a Strong Foundation in God’s Word

One of the most important things we can do to prepare for spiritual battles is to build a strong foundation in God’s Word. The Bible is our ultimate source of truth and guidance, and we must know it well. As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Cultivating Intimacy with God

Another key to standing firm in faith is cultivating a deep, intimate relationship with God. This means spending regular time in prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers. As we draw near to God, he promises to draw near to us (James 4:8). 

And the closer we are to God, the more strength and courage we’ll have to face the battles ahead.

Persevering Through Trials

Finally, it’s important to remember that spiritual warfare is not a one-time event, but an ongoing battle that requires perseverance and endurance. 

There will be times when we feel weak, discouraged, or even defeated. But God’s promise is that he will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). As we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and trust in his strength, we can persevere through even the toughest trials and come out stronger on the other side.

 
Key Takeaway: 

Victory over spiritual battles comes through Christ’s authority and our faith. By knowing God’s Word, wearing His armor daily, and staying connected through prayer and worship, we can live in victory. Recognize attacks by their signs, respond with truth, and lean on the Holy Spirit for discernment.

What is Spiritual Warfare FAQs

What is an example of spiritual warfare?

Doubting your faith during tough times can be a sign of spiritual warfare, aiming to shake your beliefs.

What are the three levels of spiritual warfare?

The three levels include personal temptations in the battle within us, worldly battles, and cosmic forces battling in heavenly realms.

How do you fight in spiritual warfare?

Fight with prayer, scripture reading, and steadfast faith. Stay connected to God’s power for victory.

What are the weapons of our warfare?

The weapons include truth, righteousness, peace from the gospel shoes, faith shielded by salvation helmet—fueled by God’s Word.

What Is Spiritual Warfare Conclusion

Spiritual warfare is real, and it’s happening all around us. But we don’t have to face it alone. God has given us everything we need to stand firm in the face of the enemy’s attacks.

Remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. When we put on the full armor of God and stand firm in our faith, we can overcome anything the enemy throws our way.

So don’t be afraid. Stand strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and never forget that the battle belongs to the Lord. With God on our side, we can’t lose.

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