Truth For Generations Blog

Spiritual Warfare

Truth For Generations Blog

Spiritual Warfare

Defining Terms

Spiritual warfare is the battle between mankind and the spirit realm. Ephesians 6 tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Paul instructs us to put on the “whole armor of God” in response to this enemy:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish 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, praying 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, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Paul in Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to put on the “full armor of God” so that we can fight against the devil’s schemes. When we put on the armor of God, we are preparing to battle in spiritual warfare.

Paul gives us 6 pieces of armor to wear:

  1. The Belt of Truth – The belt is the very first thing that goes on your body, so first and foremost, we need to know what the truth is. Truths about who God is, truths about the person, character, and mission of Jesus, and truths about who we are in right relationship with God help keep you from being deceived by the enemy.
  2. The Breastplate of Righteousness – We can put on the breastplate of righteousness by focusing on right living — we need to live our lives the way that God tells us we should live. By living our lives, the way God tells us to, we are less likely to fall into the schemes of the enemy. 
  3. Have our feet fitted with … the gospel of Peace – God gives us the peace that surpasses all understanding. This peace, we should keep, not only in belief, but also in sharing the gospel, and in committing to be peacemakers (not peacekeepers) so that we can effectively bring the Gospel with us wherever we go. The enemy is looking for a fight, but he can’t fight with a peacemaker.
  4. Take up the shield of Faith – Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Though the enemy will attack with flaming arrows of doubt, our faith reminds us that God’s will is perfect and true, even when things don’t make sense to us. The enemy’s fiery arrows are extinguished by the shield that is our faith.
  5.  Helmet of Salvation – This protects us from the “cares of this world” that bombard our thoughts and feelings and overwhelm us.  The helmet of salvation is the great hope of final salvation that gives us confidence and assurance that our earthly struggles with the enemy will not last, and that there is not a single soul from predestination to justification to sanctification to glorification that will be lost in the fight.
  6. Sword of the Spirit – Our sword is God’s Word. The Word of God is an offensive weapon we use to demolish the strongholds of error and falsehood. It is sharper than a double-edge sword, piercing the heart, the very center of action, and lays open the motives and feelings of those who it touches. The more we know and understand about the Word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the will of God, and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.

Pray in the Spirit – While not technically a piece of armor, Paul tells us in the same chapter that we need to pray at all times in the Spirit, because prayer connects us to the power of God, which is necessary to defeat spiritual enemies. Communication in battle is often the difference between victory and defeat. Our prayers aren’t merely our thoughts and about our desires but are to be done in submission to God. We are told to pray all the time, about all things, and to pray for the needs of others. 

Bringing the armor all together. As we grow in fiath, God teaches us how to use the armor more effectively in battle. This is something that takes time to learn, as someone who is battle-hardened will know. Now that you have a basic understanding about what each peice of armor does, you will need to meditate on what it means to bringh them all together. For example, imagine for a moment that you are suited up for battle. You have donned all of your gear, but your don’t have your shoes on. Running out into battle without your shoes on is going to be a painful experience. The smallest pebble will take you out of service! Remember that the whole armor is meant to work together, and none should be taken for granted.

“Demon,” “fallen angel,” and “unclean spirit” are all terms that refer to the same thing: spirit beings that are against the will of God. These spirits roam the earth looking for homes (our bodies), and work exhaustively to deceive humanity.

Demonic oppression is the idea that a demon can attach itself to you, to pressure and distress you, but not enter and control you.

Demonic possession is the idea that a demon can enter your body and control you.

Demonization is the idea you can have demons inside your body that tempt you, but do not control you. To be demonized is the best description of what we read about happening to people in the Bible.

In spiritual warfare, a “legal right” is the right a demon has to demonize an individual. This is often a result of unrepentant sin in one’s life, or unforgiveness in one’s heart. Legal rights are revoked when a person repents of these sins and unforgiveness.

FAQ

Demons are not the spirits of deceased wicked men, the spirits of a pre-Adamic race, or the spirits of the Nephilim. They are simply angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of the presence of God. 

The Bible tells us that demons are active in many ways. Demons can:

  • Attach themselves to people, causing the individual physical and spiritual harm (Matthew 12:22; Mark 5:1-20), as well as cause the person to do evil (Luke 22:3-4).
  • Blind the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4).
  • Deceive people by disguising themselves as angels of light and righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15), and by performing signs (Revelation 16:14). These demons, disguised as angels of light and righteousness, also teach their own deceptive doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1). This is why we are commanded to test every spirit to see whether they are from God. (1 John 4:1)
  • Encourage people to abandon the faith (1 Timothy 4:1).
  • Torment believers (2 Corinthians 12:7).

The bible tells us that demons are limited in what they can do:

  • Demons cannot be everywhere at the same time. Demons are localized and can only be in one place at a time. (Matthew 8:28-34)
  • Demons have power but are not all-powerful. They are subject to God’s power. (Revelation 20:1-3) 
  • Demons cannot do good works. Everything that appears good is a deception. (John 10:21)
  • Demons are not all-knowing (Romans 1:21-22), but they can follow your family for generations and appear intelligent.

Demons are attached to the soul, the flesh, or one’s life. Christians can have demons because demons are not attached to the spirit. Christian spirits abide in the Holy Spirit and are stronger than the ‘strong man in the world,’ thus demons cannot reside there. (1 John 4) The devil wants Christians to be demonized and influenced by demons, which is why the bible teaches believers to resist the devil, and he will flee.

Jesus commissioned every believer to cast out demons and says this is the first sign of being a believer:

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues…” Mark 16:16-17

“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” Matthew 10:1

“The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

Through the authority of Jesus Christ, we have the power to cast out demons. It is our duty as believers, and a sign that we are Christians.

Throughout scripture we encounter pagan worship of false gods. These “gods” are powerless before the True God of Israel, and none of them is a true god in any proper sense of the word. They are demons posing as gods to deceive the nations, and they’re still posing as gods to this day.

They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.

Psalm 106:34-38

They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.
Deuteronomy 32:16-17

No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
1 Corinthians 10:20-22

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