As a point of reference, we will be referring to content from the following books:
In this series, we are going to deal with the subject of spiritual warfare and bring correct, biblical teaching to this often-misunderstood subject.
- The Scripture instructs us to deal with the unseen, invisible forces that have been marshaled against us.
There are actually three different aspects to spiritual warfare:
- Taking control of our minds
- Crucifying the flesh
- Dealing with the enemy
We must always remember that the real battle with Satan was won at the Cross and the resurrection by Jesus Christ.
We must approach spiritual warfare from a place of already obtained victory (by Jesus) instead of us trying to get the victory.
1 John 5:4 NKJV For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
No evil force has ever prevailed over the power of God or the people of God, and never will!
The words “war” and “warfare” are only used 5 times in all of the new testament. Not once were they used in the Gospels during Jesus ministry.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV (3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, (5) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
In these verses, the devil is not mentioned one time.
1 Timothy 1:18 NKJV This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
In this verse, Paul is telling Timothy to remain loyal the call of God and fight the fight of faith. The devil is not mentioned here either.
2 Timothy 2:4 NKJV No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
Paul is telling Timothy to keep his life free of clutter and stay single minded as a soldier would.
James 4:1 NKJV Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
Battling the flesh can be a war.
In light of this, it is abundantly clear that the New Testament usage of the words “war” and “warfare” primarily has to do with conquering the flesh and taking charge of our minds.
Yes, the devil may attack the mind, and he may attempt to energize the flesh to work against us. However, if we will keep our minds and our flesh under the control of the Holy Spirit, most of the spiritual warfare we encounter in life will have already been settled.
How Real Warfare Begins
Most believers who have fallen in recent times would not have fallen if they had not given the devil some kind of foothold in their mind.
- Demon spirits have absolutely no power to bring about destruction unless they can find an open door into a person’s mind.
The Holy Spirit is faithful to convict us of any areas in our lives that leave us vulnerable for attack.
He will urge us to repent and change before the devils builds strongholds in our thinking. However, it is still up to us to see that these opened doors are slammed shut and forever closed.
- Demon spirits cannot destroy without an open door into a person’s soul – and such an entrance can only be given by way of permission.
The one thing that the Lord will not let the enemy do is override someone’s will.
- Regardless of how many demon spirits have been assigned to destroy a believer, that person must cooperate with the enemy’s suggestions before temptation can overtake him and ruin his witness.
Ultimately you and I are responsible for our own failure or success in obeying God in this life. We cannot shift the blame for our failure to demonic attack.
- You can scream that the devil is after your money until you are blue in the face. But if you have failed to balance your checkbook or were irresponsible in paying your bills, you opened the door to that financial attack.
- You can declare that the enemy is attempting to afflict you with sickness. But if you abuse your body by not eating right or not getting rest, or exercising, you have opened the door for your body to be attacked.
- You can say that your marriage is under attack from the devil but if you speak harshly to your spouse, never spend any time with them, or have not made your marriage a priority in your life, you have thrown the door wide open for the enemy to attack and destroy your marriage.
Sometimes there are genuine attacks on our lives from the enemy that catch us off guard when we are doing everything that we know to do in obedience to the Lord.
We see that this happened in Jesus ministry:
Mark 4:35-41 NKJV On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” (36) Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. (37) And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. (38) But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (39) Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (40) But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (41) And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
In verse 37, the phrase, “And a great windstorm arose…” comes from the Greek word “ginomai” which means “something that happens unexpectedly or something that catches one off guard.”
Acts 10:9,10 Peter falls into a trance…
Revelation 1:10 John wrote, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…”
Jesus was on His way to Gadara where the Gadarene demoniac lived. The enemy wanted to stop Jesus from being able to deliver one of his prized possessions and thus perform a great miracle.
- This attack of the enemy came right before one of Jesus’ greatest triumphs in ministry.
So, what do you do when an attack like this arises?
Make sure that you have left no doors open for the attack by obeying the Spirit’s promptings in the various areas of your life.
Then, like the Lord Jesus, you must rise up to take authority over the wind and the waves.
There are also different reasons for the storm coming.
- The storm of disobedience – Jonah and his disobedience.
The simple way out of the storm like that is to repent and your storm will throw you up on the beach and you can continue on with your life.
- The storm that arises because you follow what the Lord as told you – obedience.
The disciples encountered a storm when they did as Jesus commanded and were going to the other side.
The command of faith stills the storm.
- The storm of association arises because of the people you are with.
Paul encountered a storm and hardship because of the people he was with.
Simple repentance will not work and the command of faith will not work you need to simply endure.
Mark 4:39 NKJV Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
When everything was said and done, Jesus matched a great storm with a great calm.
Whatever the devil does, Jesus wants to match that attack with an even greater blessing and victory in your life!
Most battles are fought and won because we are faithful to heed the Holy Spirit’s warnings to deal with some area of our lives before it got out of control.
Spiritual warfare is not a momentary gust of emotion to temporarily frighten away the devil. Quite the opposite!
Real spiritual warfare is a specific condition of the mind that involves a lifelong commitment.
It is not so much an action as it is a determined and committed attitude of the mind.
In spite of all of the attacks that Apostle Paul withstood, he never failed morally or compromised in his ministry.
Paul’s personal consecration to the Lord was his greatest defense against the enemy.
Nothing in him cooperated with the devil’s devices and temptations. Paul’s personal holiness paralyzed the devil’s ability to make Paul fall morally.
- The thought of an instant cure is very alluring to the uncommitted and spiritually immature who are looking for a “quick fix” to change their deeply rooted, habitual, and often self-imposed problems.
This is the reason many have gotten off course where spiritual warfare is concerned.
There is no such thing as the instant cure. It is a process!