What is Spiritual Warfare?
There is a lot of invisible activity all around us. In addition to angels (both fallen angels and heavenly angels), we have saints who go before us and are interceding on our behalf. In this hidden realm, there is birthed spiritual warfare. Those who follow Jesus need to know about this world just as his followers did in the past.
The disciples of Jesus were trained by Him and sent to preach on God’s kingdom. With authority from Christ, they preached and successfully accomplished what Christ asked them to do. “The 72 returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ [Jesus] 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. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’” Luke 10:17-20 NIV
Looking through the lens of the past, Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” This refers to the time that father God cast the angel Lucifer from heaven. As Lucifer fell, 1/3 of heavens angels joined him.
“Then war broke out 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
Before falling from heaven, Satan was a beautiful angel, reflecting God’s glory. Though he no longer reflects the glory of the Lord, the Enemy’s works and temptations often seem beautiful, at least at first. This is part of Satan’s spiritual warfare and a very successful tactic in getting us to fall into sin and temptation. If we are not careful, we realize that the enticing and alluring temptation is just soul crushing deception. To protect ourselves, we need to examine the real enemy and the real enemy often works behind the scenes, fooling us into thinking our family, co-workers, an opposing political party or our spouse etc. are to blame for the strife in our life.
Even a simple review of Satan’s descriptions and appellations in the Holy Bible give you a closer look at who the true enemy is. Initially, Satan is referred to as a “serpent” (Genesis 3). Other names beside “Satan” (which means adversary found in Zachariah 3) are “devil” (slanderer), “the evil one” (found in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6), and “Lucifer” (which means shining one or son of the morning in Isaiah 14). We are also talking about, “the father of lies” (John 8:44), “Beelezbul” (which is lord of the flies, or god of filth in Matthew 12), “prince of this world” (in John 14), and “accuser of brethren” (Revelation 12). John 8:44 provides context, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
No doubt, he is a formidable opponent against unprotected people. In his very nature is desire to steal from, kill and utterly destroy as many of us as he can. However, we know from Revelations that he loses in the end. The war between Satan and the Lord of Lords has already been fought and already won! Mankind does have trials and tribulations, we do face hardships, but we stand on the gigantic shoulders of the God of the Universe and He is the victor.
For this reason, the enemy is always warring or at least trying to war against us. What the blood of Jesus accomplished on the cross simply wrecks all the enemies plans for dominance. One of our tactics against the enemy is to share our testimony or to lay down our lives for the gospel/good news – in whatever way that looks like. We stand against Satan every time we give honor and glory to God and our relationship with the Lord is magnified, making us stronger, safer, and all around better. “They triumphed over 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.”
Real success in navigating through spiritual warfare ultimately belongs to the Christian – one with a personal, interactive, and real faith in God. However, Christians needs to be armed with knowledge of Satan’s ways, have strong faith in the trinity, understand binding the enemy and loosing his grip, resisting the devil and not quenching the Holy Spirit – in fact, being filled with the presence of the Holy Ghost.
The Armor of God
“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
Deliverance ministries are important for training and tying together all that a believe needs to exorcise the devil and his followers. We, as people, need one another and to learn from those who have gone before us. This explanation of spiritual warfare is not comprehensive and all encompassing, but simply meant to bring about awareness regarding the daily battles bombarding us from the demonic realm. There are battles for our hearts, minds, and souls. We need to understand this through helping one another and asking God for revelatory wisdom and knowledge so we can commit to fighting the good fight. The above passage from Ephesians tells us wear the armor of God and we can only do this once we understand what that is and why it’s needed. We can also pray for protection daily, opposing the enemy’s plans and thus attaining protection and deliverance for us and our loved ones.
The key is to be strong in Christ and not on our own merits or our own understanding of strength. For example, there’s nothing wrong with asking the Lord to bless what you do for the day. However, isn’t it so much better to dedicate yourself to the Lord and ask Him to provide you with the strength to accomplish His will? Sometimes our own egos get in our way we are blinded to what the Lord is working on around us. And you know that “the prince of this world” is behind much of our egos. We should faithfully pray that we don’t fall into the enemy’s sin and pray equally as much for those who have fallen into the enemy’s clutches.
This is where are prayer language comes into play quite well. Sometimes, we use words we understand, other times guttural noises better express our despair and sorrow, and yet still, words and languages only God understands. Prayer might sound like wailing to a mother who just lost her baby, but she knows she is expressing her pain and need to her Father in heaven. Prayer may be liturgical or sounds like gibberish – what matters is that the prayer be true and pure before the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit work through your prayers when you have a conversation with Him and pray directly to your Abba father. Christ’s blood on the cross made this possible and healthy for you to do!
“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Knowing our identity in Christ and exercising our faith with authority and power, as Jesus’ disciples did will protect us from “the evil one.” When we pray in faith and put on the Christ, Satan and his followers are shoved aside. “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
Spiritual warfare doesn’t have to strike fear into our hearts, especially not for Spirit-filled Christians! Jesus Christ himself did not fear the devil at all. He simply used discernment, wisdom, and the Word of God. Jesus modeled for us what to do! And since Christ already defeated Satan on the cross, we know we are on the winning side. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4