Spiritual warfare is tough. It tends to press you and push your spiritual limits, and every spiritual battle requires faith to overcome. Now, I hesitate a little to write on this subject because some Christians take it too far. They see a devil behind every bush.
I don’t think it is right or healthy to focus day in and day out on what the devil is doing. Rather, your time and effort are much more productive if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and the plan of God for your life. He will direct you into the perfect path your life is meant to follow. Jesus will empower you to overcome in this life, and he will prepare you to live beyond this life.
Let me be clear: God is greater than all your enemies.
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There is no cosmic battle between God and the devil; there’s simply no contest. The devil is a created being who has his days numbered. Jesus defeated Satan ultimately and finally on the cross.
Winning at spiritual warfare will require that you have a firm grasp on these basic concepts. Otherwise your enemy will exploit your weaknesses and bring in fear.
With all this being said, every believer will face spiritual warfare in his or her life at some point. These battles are real, and they do have the potential to derail your spiritual progress…or worse. You need to take your battles seriously. If you have never faced something that qualifies as spiritual warfare, hold on, because sooner or later you will.
What qualifies as spiritual warfare?
Anything that brings doubt
Doubt will do its best to keep you from receiving all the good things God has for you. The enemy of your soul has a chief aim, and it is to throw your faith off course. However, I’m not saying that every little doubt is an indication of spiritual warfare. Questioning God about something isn’t the same thing as doubt. Sometimes your questions actually reveal your faith. When you firmly believe that God is going to do something in your life, and then it seems like he doesn’t do it, questions are the natural and normal response.
Doubt is different than questions. Doubt believes God cannot help you. It believes that your prayers won’t be answered. Doubt will make you hopeless in your situation. This sort of doubt is a form of spiritual warfare that openly attacks your faith. Faith is what moves God to action in your life, so doubt is a spiritual attack designed to keep you from the things God clearly intends for you to possess. Things like peace, joy, love, strength, and security are the objects of an attack on your faith. Doubt seeks to keep you from experiencing these qualities.
Anything that makes you want to quit
If you have ever felt the overwhelming urge just to give up, then you have experienced spiritual warfare designed to make you want to quit. The enemy wants you to quit on your relationships, so he will try to convince you that your friends, your spouse, or maybe your boss don’t need you or want you anymore. People quit on their relationships every single day. They quit jobs and marriages and churches but feel no freedom after they do so. The end goal of your enemy is to get you to quit on life. Whether that means you are taking your life, or just fading away into nothingness, the enemy is satisfied as long as you are out of the picture.
God didn’t design you to be a quitter, rather, you were created to be an overcomer. You are meant to press through spiritual warfare and experience victory.
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Anything that tempts you
So the most obvious form of spiritual warfare is temptation. Being tempted to disobey God is as old as humanity. When you are presented with something that tempts you, the answer is not to fight, but to flee. Whenever you begin to fight with temptation, you are keeping yourself near the source for a longer period. Christians are supposed to run away from the things that tempt them and run towards a life that closely follows Jesus.
Temptation can be tricky, however, because not every temptation comes as a result of spiritual warfare. The Bible is clear about this.
James 1:14–17 NLTse
14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
Anything considered an attack on your character
When you experience emotions that come as a result of accusation or slander, you can be sure it is the devil’s work. Scripture calls Satan the accuser. I believe every spirit that works on satan’s team also uses his tactics.
Character attacks are spiritual warfare, whether these attacks come from outside sources like those you love and work with, or whether they just come from thoughts in your own mind.
The enemy wants to undermine the Godly qualities in your life. He will speak in your ear if you allow him to, and he will tell you how terrible you are. Condemnation and shame in a Christian’s life are the results of character attacks that we latch on to and believe.
These things are just a few forms of spiritual warfare. Certainly, there are much more.
What opens the door to attack?
For sure, the enemy doesn’t need any particular reason to attack you. Spiritual warfare happens in your life simply because the enemy wants to diminish your faith and witness, but there are a few things that can open the door and make attacking you easier.
Those who harbor evil thoughts about someone else is opening the door to the enemy. They are essentially allowing him freedom to come and go in their life as he wishes.
- If you resent someone, you need to forgive them and close the door.
- If you hate someone, you need to forgive them and close the door.
- If you harbor hurt from someone, you need to forgive them and close the door.
Unforgiveness will rob you of joy and peace. It will leave the door of your heart open for the satan’s attack. Not only will he attack you, but the open door unforgiveness provides will allow the enemy time and space to plant more bitter seeds in your heart. These seeds will grow and eventually overtake your heart.
Forgive people you need to forgive even if they don’t respond, don’t listen, or don’t care. Forgiveness is about you not them.
Fear will always open you up to experience spiritual warfare in your life. Scripture says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” Fear does not come from God.
Some forms of fear are:
- Constant worry about anything and everything.
- Perfectionism that drives you to exhaustion because you are afraid you won’t be good enough.
- Anger that derives from your fear of losing control.
- Selfishness which is the fear of not having enough.
Fear doesn’t come from God, so remove it from your life. How do you do that? Again, I’ll defer to Scripture. The Bible says, “perfect love casts out fear.” The way to overcome fear is to lean into the love of God. When you have a deeply settled belief that God loves you, it will make fear vanish along with all its forms.
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What does NOT qualify as spiritual warfare?
Just as important as it is to recognize actual spiritual warfare, we must also understand what it is not.
Like I said at the start, some people see a devil behind every bush. This is a flawed perspective that will actually open the door for an attack in your life. So to understand what does not qualify, let me offer some examples.
Your water heater breaks down. This is not necessarily a spiritual battle. The devil probably didn’t take the time to find some way of breaking your water heater. Routine maintenance is a part of life no matter who you are.
You caught a cold. Now, I may get some pushback on this one, but I don’t believe the fact that you caught a cold is a form of spiritual warfare. Are there sicknesses that do qualify? Yes. Absolutely. Jesus paid the price for our healing with the stripes on his back and through his death on the cross. Anything that comes contrary to that is a spiritual attack. But balance is necessary for our understanding. We are human beings made of dust. It is only reasonable to think that we are bound to break down every once in a while. Plus, you reap what you sow. If you put yourself in a position to catch a cold, you probably will.
You had a bad week. Grow up. We all have bad weeks; even those who follow Jesus. The Christian life isn’t perfect. Things won’t go well for you all the time. This doesn’t mean the devil was hiding out to hijack your week and make a bunch of bad things happen to you. Is it possible? Sure. But not likely.
Now that there is a little clarity surrounding spiritual warfare let’s look at how actually to fight.
How to fight and win in spiritual warfare
Recognize your opposition
People are not your enemy. The devil wants you to believe they are, but it isn’t true. Here’s what Scripture says about it:
Ephesians 6:12 NLTse
12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Flesh and blood people are never your enemies. This doesn’t mean that Satan never uses people to press us, slander us, or just plain annoy us. He does. However, this is simply an attempt to throw you off the trail of the real enemy of your soul. Spiritual warfare is spiritual. It deals with spiritual things. This verse is plain in the fact that unseen spiritual authorities and evil spirits are the ones behind attacks in your life.
Prepare yourself for battle
Just before the scripture in Ephesians 6:12, the Bible says this:
Ephesians 6:10–11 NLTse
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
There is a strategy the devil is using against you. To overcome this strategy, there is one essential thing to do: Be strong IN the Lord.
You are not meant to fight your own battles. Spiritual warfare is won as we stand IN the Lord. Standing in the Lord means allowing him the space needed to accomplish his purposes in you. It also means maintaining a defensive position wearing the armor of God, but relying on HIS strength instead of your own.
The greatest battle you and I have to win is the battle to allow God the opportunity to fight for us.
Fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons
Now, I know I just said that we don’t fight, and that is true; but there are moments in which we have to take on an offensive or defensive mindset. Too many people wage war against other people by defending themselves or lashing out, but that’s not the way to fight. Spiritual warfare is won as you strike in the Spirit.
I believe there are two main ways to strike in the Spirit:
– Declaring God’s Word
Prayer can be used as an offensive or defensive weapon. Never underestimate the simple prayer that asks God for help. It is an example of defensive prayer. Offensive prayer is the sort that asks God to move mountains and then believes he will. It is praying for healing, asking for a breakthrough, seeking God for help with emotional hurt and things like this. Praying is simply talking to God, but using prayer as a weapon is talking to God with a mission.
When experiencing spiritual warfare, prayer is your number one key to winning. It draws you nearer to Jesus and puts distance between you and your enemy.
Declaring God’s Word is essential. When you declare God’s Word, it will open your find for faith to grow. We tend to believe what we hear spoken most often. Scripture agrees with this when it says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” The truth of God’s Word has the power and potential to change your situation and surroundings. As you stand on it by declaring it over your life, the attack has to bow and bend to the truth. I created a PDF Guide with twenty-five things you can declare over your life and the scriptures that go with them. It will help you, and I want to give it to you free.
Click here to Get the PDF Guide
Recognize the battlefield
For a believer or anyone for that matter, the spiritual battlefield is in your mind. If you can keep the battlefield of your mind secure, you’ll win the war. How do you do that? You have to take the bad thoughts captive, cast them out, and replace them with thoughts from God’s Word. Doing this is closely tied to your declaration.
Scripture says this:
2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NIV
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5 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.
I want to encourage you today. If you’re going through a difficult season right now, you CAN overcome it. God is on your side.
Put some of these ideas into practice, and you’ll begin to see a difference almost immediately.
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