Insights into Spiritual Warfare (20 minutes)
Insights into Spiritual Warfare
Do you know what spiritual warfare involves? I want to add to your perspective on spiritual warfare if you already have an opinion. Or this may inform you if you don’t’ know anything about it. I am going to walk you through, verse by verse, a passage of Scripture (Ephesians 6:10-18) that people use in spiritual warfare. Some say it daily as a protection prayer, others go through placing each element of the armor of God on their bodies. In addition, I know people who go after demons with praying in tongues and fierce language as their version of spiritual warfare. All of this can be effective if done from our spirit man and not our own soul’s power. Or maybe you don’t anything at all about spiritual warfare but would welcome some way of placing a barrier between you and the attacks of Satan. Hopefully this little article will give you some insights and reassurances you may not have had before. I have added links in the endnotes to help you find more information on many of the topics briefly referred to in this article. The entire passage from Ephesians is listed at the end of the article.[i]
Being Strong in the Lord and His Mighty Power
We can be strong in many things. We might be strong certain abilities, or strong in our finances or strong in our social group. We may focus on worries and fears and "what might happen next." But how can we be "strong in the Lord?"
This one sentence involves a lifetime pursuit of God’s presence and God’s friendship.[ii] It has to do with a gradual alignment of your soul and your body with your spirit man, which carries the person of Christ. There are other articles on these topics throughout the website (see endnotes), for now we will concentrate on spiritual warfare.[iii]
To be strong in the Lord and his mighty power takes a deep-down confidence in several beliefs.
1. God has a good opinion of us. In other words, he is more interested in what is right about us than what is wrong with us because the blood of Christ has addressed the bad stuff. Every time we reject a judgmental, condemning, or accusatory thought or word about ourselves or others, we defeat the enemy. You will cause him to shudder if you make positive statements about yourself and your life.
2. God is a loving Father who wants to protect and provide for us both physically and emotionally. Sitting in the heavenly places on God, the Father’s lap is the most accurate picture of reality we rest in.[iv] So, when we see areas of our lives where we are being deprived, and we respond with faith, the enemy is deprived of his ammunition against us. Before God can meet certain needs in us, he may need to change our character, so we are capable of receiving blessing. Think of the 10 spies who saw the promised land as a trap rather than an opportunity. (See Numbers 13:32)[v]
3. God wants to help us to grow in character and though he doesn’t cause evil, he always uses it to make us stronger and stronger in him. When we choose to believe that God can and will turn every situation to ultimately be a positive influence on us, it releases a wave of trouble for the enemy. He sticks to the same old story all the time, exactly what he did with Adam and Eve. “God is evil, not good. He wants to deprive you, not provide for you.”
4. God is powerful enough to do anything and he is looking for people who truly believe that with God, nothing is impossible. Can you believe there was a town Jesus passed through where even he couldn’t do many miracles because of the people’s unbelief?[vi] You have a choice every moment, every day, in every situation to choose hope instead of negativity. Choosing to hope (which is free, by the way) instead of negativity and gloom makes the enemy sick. You end up oppressing the oppressor.
By now, I hope you are getting the picture that the greatest weapons of our warfare come out of our thoughts and our words. We have great authority to defeat the enemy by our view of God and the choices we make in response to life situations. You will find these themes repeated as we go through the rest of the Ephesians verses.
Put on the Full Armor of God…Take your Stand Against the Devil’s Schemes
It is a good idea at times to investigate where opposition to us originates. Is it really the devil? Or is it our own bad choices? Or is it the way of the world? And lastly, could God himself be opposing us in this matter? Richard Kinney has a great talk on the website addressing this very issue.[vii] Chasing devils is not effective when life’s mess as a result of our bad choices or someone else’s malfeasance. On the other hand, if deliverance from demons is needed, other help with be sabotaged.
For Our Struggle is Not Against Flesh and Blood
We all need to grieve and find comfort and restoration from God for life losses of every kind.[viii] God invites us to share our feelings with him. Ultimately, it is not the hard knocks that determine our happiness, but our reaction to whatever we experience. But overall, how often do we envision other people as being the cause of our struggle and unhappiness? We play the blame game and assume the role of being someone else’s victim. I am not saying there isn’t victimization and injury in this world at the hand of others, but our reaction to their actions determines how much we will be devoured by the enemy in the process. We can choose to declare in the midst of problems that God will make a way where there seems to be no way. This creates a wall of fire around our attitudes that burns the enemy.
But Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Places
Remember, we are being strong in God’s mighty power not our own. Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. Because of his authority, we can command demons to leave. More than that, we can release angels to do warfare.[ix] The angels have a certain amount of authority and are always ready to respond to any request which lines up with what God wants to do. Once we discern God’s will, we can join our authority in Christ with that of the angels for much more powerful prayers. Also, we will need to grow in discernment so we can determine when a demon is involved and not just a human or cultural element. We want to avoid either extreme: on the one hand, there is no such thing as demons, or on the other hand, seeing a demon in every corner.
We can’t take on spiritual forces, but God can. We are seated in heaven with Christ.[x] Our constant focus is a positive one. If we are continually focusing on God’s attributes (his goodness, beauty, power, faithfulness, etc.) we are welcoming his presence and intervention in whatever else is going on. In the meantime, we are waiting for God to make every enemy our footstool.[xi] We can accept that the enemy uses people to do his bidding at times. He inspires them to cooperate with evil. When we are moved by the Holy Spirit, we do good works and have healthy attitudes. When people are influenced by Satan, it produces bad fruit instead of good. Satan loves to manipulate us as well and try to get us to play for his team. Deciding to be negative and hopeless plays for his team. He is scared off by someone who keeps committing themselves to God’s care even when other people are doing them harm, or they don’t yet see the solution.
Put on the Full Armor of God so when the Day of Evil Comes
You Will be Able to Stand Your Ground
The idea I’m presenting to you through this article is that when you are living a lifestyle of believing and declaring good over yourself, your family, your life circumstances, your possibilities, etc., you are engaging in effective spiritual warfare. Pay attention to every negative thought and word you speak or think. That is an open invitation to the enemy to attack you. Closing those convenient loopholes for him is spiritual warfare par excellence.
Stand Firm with the Belt of Truth Buckled around Your Waist
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth.[xii] Ask God to make you a lover of truth, a speaker of truth. Ask him to show you the lies you have believed about him, yourself, your life, other people. Meditate on God’s word. Learn to hear God’s voice so the Holy Spirit can speak truth to you as you go through your day.[xiii] Truth will protect you from the lies of the enemy.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
Jesus Christ is our righteousness, and he lives in us. I have a little saying about this: “I am God’s house, and he lives in me.” What does that mean? Whether or not you recognize the supernatural character that dwells in you, it is still there. The process of becoming righteous is waking up to something you have already been given not you changing into something you never were. A breastplate covers your vital organs area. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is our guarantee of adoption into God’s family with all its privileges and powers. We will be discovering all the treasures of being in Christ beginning now and continuing into eternity.
Feet Fitted with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace
Some people think this verse is just about sharing the gospel with others. I am not contradicting that, but I am adding another interpretation. Feet represent our understanding. It is where we “take a stand.” One of the greatest weapons against the enemy is peace. Our choice to rest in the Father’s arms[xiv] no matter what people are doing or saying, not matter what storm is raging about us, provides the higher ground in warfare. Satan has an uphill battle trying to get to us. He runs from someone who abides in the peace of Christ.
The Shield of Faith Extinguishes the Flaming Arrows
Everything we have detailed so far has to be guarded by a believing attitude. The enemy is constantly challenging our faith in God’s character and our faith in God’s commitment to us. He wants to ignite in us fear, worry, hopelessness, torment, etc. And guess what? We are incapable of mustering up our own faith. The faith we have is a gift from God and he constantly invites us to open up the gift and use it. So, if you feel that your “faith tank” is running on low, you need to go spend some time with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit and get a renewed vision of the gift of faith he has given you through your friendship with God. The end result of faith is REST. You can tell you are truly believing in God when you can relax and rest no matter what is going on. In fact, rest is the apex of spiritual development. Rest reflects a relaxation in who God is and in his capability to handle whatever is happening. If I am praying fervently, I want it to be flowing from my intimacy with God and at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to pray out of fear though I may start off my prayer time like that. But once I calm myself by focusing on God’s presence and character, I can begin to once again flow with the Holy Spirits power. God meets us where we are at but then takes us to a higher place of faith as we trust in his love for us.
The Helmet of Salvation
A helmet protects your most important body part. Our connection to God, the fact he made us his child, is our greatest piece of armor in defense of the enemy’s attacks. Keep going back to God as a loving and attentive parent who wants to be with you. As you grow in embracing his vision of you, the enemy will find it more and more difficult to harass you.
The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God
Learn the Bible and also learn to hear God’s voice. When the enemy starts proclaiming his lies whether in your own head or through something outside of you, pull out the word of God, whether it is truth you learned in the Bible, or the words God has spoken to you in the secret place. You can attack the enemy with truth. We also use the promises of God to declare the way things should be. Once we hear God’s voice and know his will in a matter, we begin to declare with confidence God’s will be done in earth as it is in heaven. And be specific.
Pray in the Spirit
Do you know how to pray in tongues? That is one way to pray in the spirit. Another is to allow the Holy Spirit to come on you and give you words to pray. Both are effective for bringing heaven to earth when led by the Holy Spirit. Remember, everything we do that creates effective warfare is done together with God. That is abiding. Another way to pray in the spirit is to sit with God in silence, loving on him with our hearts in an intimacy that goes beyond any words. If you have any long term relationships, hopefully you have reached that point where you and that other person connect deeply just being in each other’s presence, no words needed.
I pray your hunger for God and all he is will grow and grow. Wherever you are in your adventure with him, he welcomes you to come and spend some time with him, to make him your focus. Sometimes I say to him, “I don’t want anything from you right now Jesus. I just want to be your friend and hang out together. Will you take a walk with me? Do you want to watch the football game with me? Or can you hold me as I fall asleep?” And other times I ask him to please share his heart with me. As you grow in friendship with him, your ways of connecting and relating to him will grow and be unique to you. Spiritual Warfare in some ways is finally coming to the reality that there is no separation between us and God: we are becoming one with Christ.
[i] 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. 18 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 Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV) [ii] See the article on the webpage “Friendship with God.” [iii] See firehouseministries.com page called Pray. [iv] See “Sitting in the Heavenly Places in Christ” on the website. [v]And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. (NIV) [vi] Matthew 13:57-58 [vii] See “Who Opposes Us?” by Richard Kinney. [viii] See book by Dr. Nancy Moelk, “Good Grief: Revised, Updated and Expanded”. [ix] See the School of the Lion’s lesson on Deliverance for more information.: [x] See Colossians 3. [xi] See Psalm 110. [xii] John 16;3. [xiii] See the School of the Eagle for more information on hearing God’s voice. [xiv] See the Blog post “Seated in the Heavenly Places” for more information.