Beware of Spiritual Warfare

Did you know that there are evil spiritual forces at work? You do not see them, but they are there! Lately I have been so tired of the constant spiritual battles. Everyday I can feel dark spiritual forces at work to keep me down and alone. I yearn for the day when I am with Jesus in heaven, free of Satan and all the evil here on earth. I am sure you have days, months, or years of when you are also weary of the constant earthly strife. What can be done to arm us against Satan’s deceptive and cunning battles? Join us as we learn what the Bible says about spiritual warfare!

The Battle is Real

The Bible warns us about the constant spiritual battles going on around us:

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Ephesians 6:10-17

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Well known teacher, speaker, and author, Priscilla Shirer, discusses spiritual warfare in her book, The Armor of God. In it, she notes that there are actually 7 pieces of armor in Ephesians 6:

When Paul talks about spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, prayer is the seventh piece of armor. It activates all of the rest of the spiritual armor,” she said. “When we refuse to pray, it’s like having a refrigerator without plugging it in. Prayer is the divinely authorized mechanism God has given us to tap into His power. Without prayer, we’ll be ineffective in spiritual warfare. But with it, we will be victorious.”

Recognizing the Enemy’s Strategy

Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He will do all he can to trick us into believing lies about God, ourselves, each other, and more.

Priscilla Shirer mentions this in her book:

“The enemy’s attacks are always wrapped in the packaging of deception, always designed to manipulate the truth about God, and about your value in Him. He desires to lead you into sin so that fellowship is broken between you and God—this way you’ll be disconnected from the Source of true power and strength,” she said.

“The evil temptations that appeal to your specific desires and happen to show up when you are most vulnerable are not accidental. They are his deceptive tactics (and that of his evil entourage), specifically designed, timed and personalized in hopes that you fall prey to his demon ploy and miss out on experiencing an abundant life in Christ.”

Consider your areas of greatest strength and greatest weakness. Keep a close eye on both of these areas and safeguard yourself through prayer. These areas are likely the places where you can expect the enemy to target his attacks against you. When you know where to look, you can see him coming a mile away. He’s really not that clever. He’s just cunning,” she said.

The More You Follow God, the More Satan Comes After You

Dr. Douglas Groothuis wrote a great article for Focus on the Family about spiritual warfare:

“My many years of preaching, teaching, writing and witnessing have taught me that the more truth you have to offer a needy world, the more the enemy of our souls comes after you. Dwight L. Moody, the great American evangelist (1837-1899), said there were two reasons he believed in the Devil. First, the Bible teaches it. Second, he had “done business with him.” This “business” is not a transaction, but a battle.

Remember C.S. Lewis’s warning in the introduction to The Screwtape Letters:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased with both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

Know Your Enemy

Knowing our enemy is important if we are to gain victory over them. Dr. Groothuis discusses this topic in his article:

God alone is the self-existent and eternal Creator of the universe. No power rivals God’s omnipotence and no knowledge rivals God’s omniscience. Any other spiritual being is a creature, and is, therefore, on a lesser level of being. They can only be one place at a time, unlike God who is everywhere all of the time (omnipresent). Besides making humans in His image and likeness as beings of body and soul, God created angels who are spirits. Not much is said in Scripture about the origin of these beings, but we are told that some of them rebelled against God and are led by Satan or the devil. Those who did not rebel are God’s servants who obey God by declaring certain revelations (Luke 1:11-20), fight dark angels (Daniel 10), protect God’s followers (Psalm 34:7; 91:6) and worship God Himself (Isaiah 6:1-2). Christians can be encouraged that angels are  “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).

Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Revelation speaks of Satan as a dragon who fights against God’s angels and is thrown out of heaven with his own fallen angels (Revelation 12:3-9). Satan is also here identified as “the ancient serpent” who deceives the world (Genesis 3). When Jesus warned of those who falsely claimed to follow Him, He said, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

How can we begin to arm ourselves?

Prayer. All of our current problems stem from the spiritual world.

“Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world. The effects of the war going on in the unseen world reveal themselves in our strained and damaged relationships, emotional instability, mental fatigue, physical exhaustion and many other areas of life. Many of us feel pinned down by anger, unforgiveness, pride, comparisons, insecurity, discord, fear. . . and the list goes on. But the overarching, primary nemesis behind all these outcomes is the Devil himself.” (Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God)

“I believe prayer works. Prayer has been more effective in my life than human solutions. Time, and time and time again, I’ve seen that lasting change comes only through prayer. When I pray—release it into His hands—God accomplishes what I can’t do in my own strength.” (Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God)

The other 6 pieces of armor are also vitally important.

  1. Belt of Truth – Reading the Bible and memorizing scripture protects us against lies.

2. Breastplate of righteousness – Living a right life is powerful in protecting our heart, killing our flesh, and defeating the enemy. Identify righteous activities in your life that strengthen you as well as unrighteousness activities that weaken you.

3. Sandals with the gospel of peace- Believers also have a firm foundation in the Gospel. As believers, we have peace in knowing we are secure in what Jesus has done for us. Remind yourself of the hope you have in Jesus Christ. Share your testimony when given the chance, and be a living example. How you live and the fruit you bear are powerful testimonies of God to those around you.

4. Shield of Faith – Faith is the shield of the believer. Trusting in God’s power and protection is imperative in remaining steadfast. When your faith is under attack, remember God’s character and His promises. God is good no matter our circumstance. He will never forsake you, He will meet all your needs, He will make your path straight, and much more. Remember His past blessings in your life. Band together with other believers. A soldier’s shield was strongest when linked with other shields.

5. Helmet of Salvation – The believer’s helmet of salvation is the most crucial piece of armor for the Christian. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit that enters a believer at the moment of salvation, all other armor is useless. Salvation empowers believers to fight. It protects us in our weaknesses. Without salvation, there is no victory. When under attack, stand under the conviction of your salvation and focus your mind on things above. A great way to keep your focus on Jesus is by listening to christian podcasts, christian music, sermons, or listening to an audio version of the Bible.

6. Sword of the Spirit – all the other pieces of armor are defensive in nature; however not the sword. The sword is the soldier’s weapon and could pierce through the strongest armor. Our sword is the Word of God, Christ used Scripture to defeat Satan when He was tempted in the desert. We must do the same. Arm yourself with God’s Word by regularly reading the Bible. Be ready to share the reason for your hope and your testimony. Memorized scripture is a great tool as well. When beaten down, immerse yourself in the Bible. It may not happen immediately, but that time refreshing yourself in God’s Word will help you to get back up.

For further reading, check out Natalie Regoli’s article, “The 7 Pieces of the Armor of God and How to Use Them”.

Conclusion

Satan and his army of fallen angels are always attacking followers of Jesus Christ. He is cunning and deceptive and will prey on your strengths and weaknesses. Thankfully, God has given us 7 pieces of armor to protect ourselves: prayer, the Bible, living a righteous life, knowing and sharing the Gospel, faith, salvation, and knowing God’s Word. With God’s help, we can gain victory over spiritual warfare!

If you don’t already know Jesus, it’s not too late! Simply invite God and His Son, Jesus, into your life, and confess your sins to Him. Our sin separates us from God, but God is loving, merciful, and forgiving. Get right with God today!

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