When someone says “spiritual warfare,” what comes to your mind?
Whether or not you’re aware, there is a spiritual invisible war that is raging everywhere on this planet, a violent conflict between kingdoms. And it’s going on in your house, your church, and your community.
Over the years, I’ve found Christians either deny the reality of a spiritual battle completely, or they overly focus on it, constantly looking for a demon behind every corner.
While we shouldn’t give it too much prominence in our lives, I believeevery Christian needs to know that we are indeed engaged in an invisible spiritual battle every day.
We also need to know whom we’re fighting.
Ephesians 6:10-20 is the central teaching in the entire New Testament on spiritual warfare, and it begins with the command,“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (v. 10)Then, the Apostle Paul gives us the “why” behind his command:“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” (v. 12)
When Paul uses the word “struggle” in his letter to the Ephesians, he makes it clear that he’s not writing about their outward circumstances or about people. The battle may have been manifesting itself in circumstances, oppression and evil behavior, but the source was not flesh and blood.
The battle was and still is“…against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.”(v. 12)
We’re all in a war against the spiritual forces of wickedness. And our enemy is Satan.
Who is this Satan? And is he for real?
Many of us grew up with some warped ideas of Satan as being this goofy red figure with a pitchfork. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bible describes Satan as a cherub, which is one of the highest classes of angelic beings.
When God created him, he had more power than anyone in the universe except God and was more beautiful than anyone but God. The nature of his sin was pride (1 Tim 3:6, Isaiah 14:13) and he was cast out of heaven with one third of the angels. Since then, his mission has been to destroy everything that is good and God ordained.
This is why the Apostle Peter warns us:Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Like a prowling lion, our adversary, the devil, is looking for something – or someone – that is vulnerable and easy to kill. He won’t attack all the time, but he will especially when we’re alone, tired, or when we’re more apt to be tempted.
Yet, despite the prominence of Satan in Scripture, many believers are completely unaware of his schemes.
Satan’s strategy is to terrorize your soul and render you impotent as a believer, and to make your life one of misery and spiritual defeat.
To do this, Satan uses our unforgiveness and bitterness, and even our hardened hearts and deceived minds to break up marriages, split up churches and destroy people’s lives.
As the great deceiver, he attacks God’s program by using false philosophies, false religion, false ministers, false doctrines, and even false morals.
And as the accuser of the brethren, he will try to convince us that we’re no good, we’re unlovable, we’re a bad father or a bad mom, or we’re terrible Christians.
It’s true that our foe is formidable and his goal is to destroy us and discredit the cause of Christ…But it’s also true that Satan is a defeated foe!
The good news is that Jesus destroyed the world of the devil. Therefore, we fight this spiritual warfare not for victory but from victory.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7-8)
As believers, we have the power and resources to resist Satan and his demonic attacks. We need not be afraid because the power that is residing in us is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
To learn more about what you can do to prepare yourself to do spiritual battle with the enemy of your soul – and win – check out Chip’s seriesInvisible War.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip