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The Reality of Spiritual Warfare + What We Need to Do About It



We have something extremely valuable in us, and the devil wants to do his very best to attack and destroy it.


I didn't have many thoughts or much wisdom on spiritual warfare for a long time. I've always believed that the devil was very real, and that there was a war waging, but I never felt like that war was very personal. I guess I thought that it was between the devil and the Lord, and I'm going to stay out of it.


Except I can't stay out of it. Neither can you.


Christ is living IN US. His Spirit is literally dwelling in our hearts, putting a very, very large target on our backs. We are walking, breathing new creations, disciples of the one who stomped all over death and the devil, and that is a threat to the one who lives in the world. Our relationship with the Lord is a threat to the devil, and he wants to do everything he can to weaken and destroy that.


He does this by distracting us, tempting us, feeding us lies. All of a sudden, reading the Bible doesn't seem so appetizing and prayer doesn't seem so fulfilling. All of a sudden, God feels far - but that sin that isn't so bad feels a whole lot closer and maybe, maybe it'll make me feel good. I find myself spending more time on my phone than actually communing with the Lord, and I wonder why I feel so drained. I get caught up in gossip, bitterness, and shame, and I don't even feel like talking to Jesus anymore. I begin doubting if God really cares, if He's doing anything at all, if He'll ever bring the miracle I've been praying for.


Sound familiar?


That, my friends, are just a few ways that the devil likes to tempt and distract us, weakening our connection and relationship with the Lord, and creating a foothold for him to attack. There are so many other things that the devil can and will use, so we have to be on guard. Now, let me be clear, the devil doesn't force us into anything. We have to make the choice on the daily to submit to the Lord and trust Him, even when we are facing doubts and temptations. But what the devil can do is create opportunities for us to fall.


So, how do we resist the temptations, doubts, and attempts to weaken our faith?


Let me tell you, this isn't something we can do passively. We have to intentionally and continually seek the Lord and His strength. We cannot resist the devil on our own or with our own devices, but with the Lord and out of all of the weapons He gives us. This isn't a war or a battle we can see, but instead a spiritual one, so we must fight accordingly.


"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." - Ephesians 6:12


"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5


Paul, the author of both of these verses, knew the struggles of spiritual warfare because he experienced it, and he warned the churches he mentored about the importance of being prepared and on guard. We can often brush off spiritual warfare and deem it as being dramatic, not real, or maybe just not our concern, but that is not the case at all. This isn't a casual problem we can just procrastinate, no, this is a war between life and death, good and evil, heaven and hell, and we are called to fight.

These weapons Paul is talking about, I believe, aren't complicated military tactics, but instead the foundation of our faith and spiritual life.


Let me explain.


When we face spiritual warfare, I don't think that there's this giant list of procedures that Jesus designed for us to follow so that we can fight off the devil. I don't think that there's a bunch of standards to meet or specific step-by-step directions. I honestly think that the best thing we can do (and need to do) is to draw near to the Lord and seek Him intentionally. We do that in a few ways, and in the process, we use the "divine weapons" God has given us to fight back against the devil.


Meditate and fill your mind with the Word of God.

This may very well be the most powerful, most important weapon we have. The Bible is the absolute truth that discounts any lie (or half truth) that the devil tries to sneak into our mind. It is inspired by God, alive and active. In fact, it is the only defensive weapon that Paul describes whenever he explains the armor of God (Ephesians 6).


I would like to mention that it is extremely important to not distort Scripture in any way, shape, or form, but instead to leave every verse in its context. The devil wants to take Scripture out of its context to feed us half truths, using the Bible to persuade us to do or believe something that doesn't honor God, so we have to be on guard against that.


The devil even used this tactic against Jesus when He was in the wilderness and at a very weak point physically (because He hadn't eaten for 40 days). HOWEVER, Jesus was equipped with the word of God, and He was able to fight against the half-truths and out-of-context Scriptures that the devil used with real, complete truth. When we face spiritual warfare, we need to follow the example that Jesus set and use Scripture to defeat the lies that Satan tries to distract and weaken us with.


Practical ways to do this:

  • Get in the Word every single day (quality > quantity, it doesn't have to be for hours, but it should be intentional)

  • Start memorizing Scripture that reminds you about who God is and who He says you are.

  • Write verses to put everywhere you'll see them (on your computer, lockscreen, mirror, in your car, etc)

  • Instead of listening to the radio, have the Bible app read the Bible out loud to you in the car.


Pray, pray, pray.

Prayer is our connection and communication with God, the creator of the universe, and you better bet that Satan doesn't want us connected to the Lord. Because when we pray, we are empowered with the Spirit and so many blessings that come with a genuine relationship with the Lord (joy, peace, discernment, strength, self-control). So when we begin to feel far from God, or we start to recognize that there's some spiritual warfare going on, one of our first responses should be to pray and bring it to God. We must, without ceasing, surrender and lean into the Lord's strength through prayer. We must seek Him for wisdom and peace, all the time, but especially when we are facing spiritual warfare. The devil doesn't want that, so He's going to try to distract you and fill your mind with other voices, but we have to refocus and recenter on the Lord.


Practical ways to do this:

  • Set reminders on your phone to intentionally refocus you on prayer.

  • Practice, practice, practice - it will take time and effort, so don't expect a major change over night, but do continue to seek the Lord, and you will begin to notice your heart and mind changing.

  • Journal your prayers and give it all to God.

  • Use Scripture to pray.


Surround yourself with community.

If the devil wants to attack you, he's going to try to get you alone. This means that it is vital for us to surround ourselves with godly, Christian people who will wage this war alongside us. Talk to your small group about whatever you're struggling with in your walk with the Lord. Text a close friend and ask if they can pray for you. Don't fight the devil alone; make sure you have support and a "battle crew", so to speak. Pray together, send each other Bible verses, and have vulnerable conversations. Make sure that you're surrounding yourself with people who will do that with you and for you, and be the kind of friend who will do that with them and for them as well. The last thing Satan wants is a whole group of believers proclaiming the truth and clinging to the Lord, and so that's one of the first things we want to do.

 

The reality is, spiritual warfare is incredibly real, and the devil wants to attack what we have. We have to be on guard against his wicked schemes and lies. We must be intentional about standing firm on Scripture, constantly praying, and intentionally surrounded by godly community. That is how we fight against the devil and remain close to the Lord in the midst of warfare.


What is your experience with spiritual warfare? What has God taught or revealed to you about it? How do you stand strong in your faith when you face spiritual warfare? Let me know down in the comments below! I love to hear from you and learn from you!

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