Spiritual warfare

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Christians are at war, and it is escalating. I’m not talking about the war in Ukraine, or Palestine, or even the war on terror. This war is a spiritual war and every person is involved in it. As Christians we must understand this and learn how to fight in this war.

Not a worldly war

This is how the scriptures describe this war: “For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians, chapter 10, verses 3-6).

From this we see several things:

  • This is not a worldly war
  • The war is of a spiritual nature
  • The battleground for this war is in the mind
  • In Christ we have spiritual weapons to fight and win

Nature of this war

This is a war in the spirits of people, and it is fought in our minds.

The scripture above shows that we are not capturing cities, ground, or strategic assets as occurs in physical war. Instead, we are capturing thoughts, arguments, and attitudes. We capture prideful, lustful, jealous, envious, devious, and evil thoughts to eradicate them from our thinking.

Our objective is to remove disobedience to God and replace it with obedience. And like any war, we must identify the enemy and learn how to fight them.

Who is the enemy?

The scripture tells us that in this war our enemies are spiritual: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians chapter 6, verse 12).

It is the satanic forces of evil that are arrayed against mankind for the sole purpose of destroying us, both physically and spiritually.

How does the devil attack?

As this is a war in the spiritual realm and the thoughts of men are the battleground, the primary way that the devil fights is to influence our thoughts.

He inflames the weaknesses of our flesh and uses them against us, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death” (James chapter 1, verses 13-15).

The devil is the great tempter and he puts temptations before us all the time. Temptations to sin begin in the mind and flesh, and that is where the battle for supremacy is fought. The devil uses our weaknesses to tempt us, hoping that we will succumb and fall into sin.

Overcoming temptations

The Lord has provided weapons to fight this war and win against these temptations.

God has provided many pieces of armour, and we must learn how to use it: “Therefore take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians chapter 6, verses 13-18).

These are the seven weapons of spiritual warfare, five of which are defensive pieces of armour and the other two are weapons of attack. All are important but space does not permit me to cover them in depth.

The spiritual weapons

The defensive weapons are armour designed to protect us. Briefly, they protect us when we keep our mind girded up by knowing, believing, and always keeping the five pieces of armour at the forefront of our minds, especially when under spiritual attack.

The offensive weapons, which are prayer and the word of God, allow us to fight back.

An example of the power of the word of God as a weapon was seen when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, which is described in Matthew chapter 4. Every temptation that the devil threw at Jesus was answered in the same way; “It is written…”

This is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, in action. When we have a deep understanding of the word, we too can throw off devilish attacks in the same way.

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