I can already see the look on some of your faces when you read the title of this blog entry. One of the lies that many in today’s Church have bought is that spiritual warfare does not actually exist, and people who believe it does are, at best, misguided. However, that viewpoint is simply not scriptural. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, this was not through some person – the Bible clearly says he was “tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4:1). Jesus was alone when “the tempter came to him” (Matt. 4:3). Jesus clearly understood what the devil was saying to him, and Jesus spoke back to him, using Scripture as his weapon.
Paul also warned us about the reality of spiritual warfare:
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. ~ Eph. 6:12
Paul then told us how to fight this type of warfare by putting on the Armor of God. If you go about your life denying the existence of spiritual warfare and fail to protect yourself by putting on the Armor of God, you are going to find yourself vulnerable to much pain and frustration in your life. Sadly, many Christians wind up getting angry with God and blaming Him for their emotional pain and stress. Others self-medicate with substances, food, compulsive busyness, or other worldly coping mechanisms, making their lives appear virtually no different from the culture around them other than warming a pew on Sundays. That’s not how God calls us to live. The Bible has given us everything we need to win spiritual battles, but those instructions won’t do us a bit of good if we don’t actually do them.
Once when I was under heavy spiritual warfare, God gave me a vision. I saw myself as an Amazon warrior in full warrior garb while curled up in a ball like a helpless child in my church’s parking lot. My reality was that God had fully equipped me to fight whatever came my way. I had everything I needed to protect myself and even fight to gain ground. However, because I believed I was as helpless as a child, I was behaving like one, hence the ludicrous picture of the armed warrior cowering.
Satan and his minions have no power over you. Jesus defeated them on the cross, so they cannot stand up against the Armor of God. However, the one power they do have is deception. As long as they can deceive you into believing that you are a helpless child rather than an armed warrior, you will behave that way, and it will become your reality. Spiritual battle is either fought & won or conceded & lost based upon what and who you believe.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sinking in quicksand and yelling, “Help!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]