I don’t know about you, but there are days when I wake up and think to myself, “I just want to turn on the news and there to be peace in the world.”
“I just want to scroll through social media and see all kinds of positive posts and happy people.”
I never desire to wake up and go to battle, and I don’t look for ways to war with others and I most certainly don’t want to hear about rumors of war.
But if you are a Christian, like it or not, you are in a war 24/7.
No, it’s not a physical war where you tout your machine gun and camouflage pants (although if you pair them with the right top and shoes, you can totally make it look fashionable enough to wear out on date night).
We are part of a great war. One that doesn’t depend on the strength of man, but the strength of God. It’s called spiritual warfare.
I want to share three very important things with you about spiritual warfare.
Spiritual warfare sometimes makes people uncomfortable but the Bible is clear all throughout the OT and NT that it is very real. If we do not have an understanding of spiritual warfare, we are not coming at the battles in our lives with the right mindset, tools or plan.
Do you know how to answer these questions?
- What does it mean to be kingdom minded?
2. How do we know that we are in a spiritual battle?
3. How do we fight spiritual battles?
What does it mean to be kingdom minded? In short, it means we set our minds on things above and things that are eternal.
We are to be future focused instead of present focused only.
Jesus made it clear in John 18:36 that His kingdom is not of this world. He gave a contrast of earthly kingdoms and heavenly kingdoms:
He said, “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews”
And here’s the contrast: “But as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm.” His servants did not fight because Jesus was future focused and kingdom minded … He needed to go to the cross.
Satan is the ruler of the earth.
Earth is his kingdom and he tempts us with earthly things to keep us from being kingdom minded. You can find those verses in John 14:30 and John 12:31-33.
In order to understand spiritual warfare, we must be kingdom minded … knowing that there is more to this life than what we see in the physical. There is more to a human being than what we interact with on social media or in person.
All people have a soul. If we are not kingdom minded we will not walk in the Spirit and lead others to the Lord by loving them.
How do we know that we are in a spiritual battle?
First of all, I am not one of those people that blames the devil for everything. I mean, let’s face it … sometimes I’m just clumsy. Not everything is the devil’s fault.
Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 that ‘we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.’
I want you to notice all of the things he lists as spiritual warfare. Because sometimes this list gets lost in the context of scripture and we don’t realize there is more to the spiritual realm than Satan alone:
- Spiritual of this darkness
- Spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places
What does that mean?
Spiritual warfare is not just taking place in the heavenly realms. It is taking place on earth with the rulers of this age, those in power AND spiritual darkness and wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary says this: “There is one word in the Greek (kosmokratoras) for world rulers. It can be used for one who is the ruler of the whole world, or for one whose authority is in the world, in the sense in which the devil is so described in John 12:31, 14:30 and 2 Corinthians 4:4. The world is frequently spoken of thus in the New Testament as in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), and in consequence in darkness (cf. Luke 22:53; Rom. 13:12; Col. 1:13).
Those who, under the devil himself, hold such power in the world, and in consequence keep people in darkness, are those against whom Christians have to do battle.”
We must be able to identify spiritual warfare.
It is our job as a Christian. We must be able to watch the news, hear our governors, rulers and leaders and realize they are influenced by the powers of darkness.
And that also means your prayers move heaven. When we pray and read and speak God’s word into the atmosphere, we are joining the battle and warring in the spiritual realm.
That brings us to our third questions;
How do we fight spiritual battles?
In short, spiritual battles must be fought with spiritual weapons. If we didn’t need spiritual weapons, we’d really be able to fix emotional problems with food. And we could get rid of anxiety and depression by going on a shopping spree.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
2 Cor 10:3-4 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for our weapons of warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
So if our weapons are not of the flesh, what are they?
The Word of God. When the enemy came against Satan in the wilderness, Jesus used the word to withstand temptation and to make him leave for an appointed time (Luke 4). Jesus did not call him names, pick up stones, or draw physical weapons. He spoke the word of God.
Praise. When Paul and Silas were in prison, they praised God and sang hymns. The result was that the earth shook and the prison doors were opened and the chains of the prisoners were unfastened.
The blood of Jesus. Rev 12:13 says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the world of our testimony. Because of Christ, you have authority over the enemy. You can plead the blood of Jesus over your circumstances with confidence that He has already defeated the enemy.
Prayer. One of the most unappreciated and often neglected weapons of warfare. Prayer is the key to moving the hand of God. When we pray, God acts.
God says He will turn from heaven and heal our land when we do. Some battles we face require prayer and fasting to break the chains that bind. If you are praying for someone’s salvation, bondage to sin, ask God about prayer and fasting.
Are you in the fight?
2 Kings 13:14-19 gives us a great example of spiritual warfare and what it requires. So many of us are guilty of not finishing the battle. Joash, the King of Israel, had enemies. And Elisha told him to shoot the ground with his arrow so he could defeat his enemy, Aram.
Joash struck the ground 3 times and stopped. He had an endless supply of arrows. He had the weapons he needed to defeat him. But he didn’t finish the job and Elisha scolded him and said this, “You should have struck 5 or 6 times until you destroyed your enemy. But now you will only strike Aram three times.”
Don’t stop battling until the enemy is destroyed. You have an endless supply of spiritual weapons and God is telling you to pick them up and go to battle until the enemy is defeated.
Will you do it?