Are You in a Spiritual Battle?
November 6, 2023
I believe much of what is happening in our world today is demonic, spiritual warfare. Yet I am not surprised that the world does not recognize it, because they would have to have a strong belief that there is an evil force bent on disruption and destruction to believe in the battle. In other countries around the world, people find it much easier to believe in spiritual warfare because they don’t have the built-in “sophistication” that most of our world has about struggle.
What does surprise me is that the church—people who name the name of Christ as Savior and Lord—do not. The New Testament and the ministry and message of Jesus are clear. We have an Enemy. Satan has schemes and strategies to disrupt, deceive, divide, and destroy.
In any war, it is important to know the enemy. If we don't know the enemy, how can we win the war? Paul tells the Corinthians in his second letter to them, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world. The effects of the war going on in the unseen world reveal themselves in our strained and damaged relationships, emotional instability, mental fatigue, physical exhaustion, and many other areas of life.
Many of us recognize that we have been pinned down by anger, unforgiveness, pride, comparisons, insecurity, discord, fear … and the list goes on and on. But the driving force—the primary nemesis behind all these effects is the devil himself.
Our biggest problems are actually spiritually rooted. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”
When there is fear, fatigue, unrelenting temptation, persistent anxiety, stress, waves of despair, lying, desire for revenge, ongoing difficulty sleeping, depression, and hopelessness, you can be sure that spiritual warfare is underway and the person under attack may not even be aware and fighting.
These are Satan’s favorite schemes for us: eroding our faith in God and then becoming agitated and irritated in our relationships with one another. He wants us to believe that we are stuck and there is nothing we can do about it.
Spiritual warfare is more common than you might think. We tend to think of demonic oppression as wild and crazy things happening in our life (movies frequently do not take a biblical approach to spiritual attacks). But actually, the reality of spiritual warfare in our lives happens more often than we might think. The following list is not exhaustive, but it will show you how the enemy attacks.
1. Feeling discouraged, defeated, and depressed. Things seem hopeless, overwhelming, and burdensome. You feel an overall sense of disappointment. You struggle with a lack of peace, feeling stressed and feeling like giving up.
2. Loss of spiritual desire. You have difficulty with your prayer life, staying connected to other Christians, and maintaining your ministry or work with God.
3. Physical fatigue and/or sickness/malaise. You constantly lack energy and motivation, feeling drained.
4. Doubting God’s goodness. You struggle to trust that God will come through for you. You may even feel anger toward God for “letting you down” and may feel like He is mad at you or punishing you.
5. Negative, disturbing thought life. The mind is the battlefield. You may be wrestling with anxious, fearful, or worrisome thoughts, thinking nobody cares about you.
6. Considering going back to your old lifestyle. The way you used to live seems attractive again. He will lie to you and tempt you with the very things you have been delivered from.
7. Old emotional wounds from the past resurface. You believed you had dealt with that area of pain in your life, only to find you are getting triggered again and again.
8. Feelings of guilt, condemnation, and shame. You think that you are not good enough and do not do enough. You feel shamed and criticized.
9. Feelings of rejection, belonging, and loneliness seem to be heightened. You feel no one truly understands you. You feel isolated and that you do not belong anywhere.
10. Confusion over what you believe. Is this all really true? Is Jesus the only way? These and other confusing thoughts are spiritual attacks.
If you find yourself here, remember that God loves you. Jesus paid the price for your victory. Be strong in the Lord by your choice. Do the opposite of what you feel like doing. Pray. Sing. Be with other believers. Share Jesus.
We should keep as much distance between us and the devil as possible. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We do this by avoiding things that will drag us down spiritually. Disobedience and persistent waywardness provide the enemy grounds from which he can attack and influence the Christian. This is why Scripture reminds us to not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27).
You will never win this spiritual battle in your own strength. You will only be successful when you draw your strength from the power base, God Himself. There you will find the strength and stamina to “stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).