Regarding Spiritual Warfare

Thanks to those who prayed for Debbie and I the other night.  We appreciate it.  We made it through Saturday night and all day Sunday with no problems but then Sunday night I had to take Debbie to the ER because something harsh was going on with her stomach.  So, one of us still got sick.  Please consider keeping up prayer for us as we work to reach the seasonal and international workers here at the Canyon. I am not one who is quick to see demons behind every tree – but when one begins to see certain patterns of events, like us getting sick after ministering to the Thai students, one has to wonder – I think we get attacked spiritually through sicknesses, a type of strike back for encroaching enemy lines.  We are missionaries, we are going to attempt to reach the lost, especially those from the various unreached nations of the world.  Because of this spiritual attacks are going to happen.  But I think we can attempt to counteract these attack by calling for prayer cover.  

One metaphor for the Christian life (among others) is that of the Christian life as Spiritual Warfare.  Typically when people hear the term spiritual warfare they think of casting out demons, bizarre exorcism rituals, praying loudly or talking loudly to the devil, etc.  However, spiritual warfare is much broader than that and in fact really a way of characterizing the Christian life and the common struggles we face to live rightly for God on a daily basis.  Like it or not, a simple fact Christians need to realize is that spiritual warfare and opposition to the gospel are real.  There is a real devil, who is the enemy of our souls, and there are real demons, who are agents of the devil, who seek to intimidate and oppress Christians so as to deter them from living for God as they should.    

Clinton Arnold in his book, 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare (Baker Books, 1997) writes: 

Spiritual warfare is all encompassing.  It touches every area of our lives-our families, our relationships, our church, our neighborhood, our communities, our places of employment.  There is virtually no part of our existence over which the evil one does not want to maintain or reassert his unhealthy and perverse influence. Conversely, Jesus longs to reign as Lord over every area of our lives.  This is the locus of intense struggle for all believers.  And it is a power struggle.  pg. 27

This is not to say there is a demon behind every tree but we need to realize there are certain spiritual realities that exist in this world whether we believe it or not.  Paul tells us in  Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (I believe Ephesians to be the Spiritual warfare manual of the Bible).  Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Jesus tells us in John 10:10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  I think it is fair to say the “thief” here is none less than Satan.  John the Revelator shares a vision in Revelation 12 in which he sees that “the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (12:17).  I think this is right now and has been since Jesus ascended to heaven and cut off Satan’s access to heaven.  Since then Satan has been enraged and turned to destroy the people of God and will keep trying until he himself is destroyed in the fires of hell.  

So what do we do?  How might we know more intense acts of spiritual warfare is taking place?  Some Christians have ignored spiritual warfare altogether and others have gone way over the top.  I think we need to recognize it exist and in so doing know that no matter what, God is with us and always will be.

First, pray about it.  Simply ask God if it is an act of spiritual warfare – he will confirm it to our hearts or he will not.  We won’t know until we ask.  Also, prayer is a key weapon in spiritual warfare.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  This is what happens when we pray – through prayer we can demolish strongholds and those attempts that keep you from living effectively for God.  So I think prayer is key.  This is what we’ve been doing with our situation, we’ve been praying for discernment.  

I will write more later.  What do you all think about this so far? 


8 responses to “Regarding Spiritual Warfare

  1. My wife and I work in France as missionaries, and I know exactly what you are saying. There are times when we someone seems to drop a spiritual hornet’s nest on us. Things go along quietly and suddenly my wife’s purse gets stolen (right out of the church), sound systems go haywire, we come down with an illness. The timing is what is consistent, just when we are on the cusp of something big spiritually, or as you say, we have crossed over the enemy’s line and he is lashing back.

    On the other hand, when we visited the US last fall, I was overwhelmed by a strong feeling of apathy that attended our days while we were there that left me spiritually numb, not to mention both my wife and I coming down ill at critical junctures in our travels. So, spiritual warfare takes different forms in different places.

    A good book for me that presents the issue is Chip Ingram’s “The Invisible War.” Like many westerners, he did not consider the stuff he was experiencing as having anything to do with spiritual realities. What he shows convincingly is that we are very much victims of our modern rationalities and don’t make room for the idea of sipritual warfare in the US.

    Spiritual warfare is real, but it is not the stuff we find in small storefront deliverance temples or flashy televangelism.

    Our focus on this is simply put a stake in the ground and claim the land for God through Christ Jesus our Lord, bathe ourselves and others in a lot of prayer. I have a couple of good friends here who are spiritually tuned to the reality of it all, and I doubt we could survive without them praying with us and for us. We need to spend more time in prayer wrestling with God than we do wrestling with spiritual powers.

    Being a Christian today is not for the faint of heart.

  2. On the mission field, a Muslim neighbor boy gave our family a little stone Buddha statue as a gift. My parents debated for about a week whether to destroy it or return it, and if I remember right my mom and/or brother were both sick with stomach problems suddenly after receiving it. In the end, my brother returned it to his friend, and that same day everyone felt better, physically. If it weren’t for that experience I’d have a hard time understanding, but I’ve seen it first hand. I will continue to pray for you both as you minister.

  3. This is not to say there is a demon behind every tree but we need to realize there are certain spiritual realities that exist in this world whether we believe it or not.

    Amen, and that’s a key component of spiritual warfare, i.e., discernment; knowing when we’re dealing with a demon or simply the flesh. Often times a problem isn’t demonic so when all the ‘warring’ doesn’t work, people get discouraged.

  4. Pingback: Pruning the vine, vertigo and the powers of this dark world « He is Sufficient

  5. I was looking online for more information on spiritual warfare; especially concerning illness afterwards. I have been in some intense prayer for a friend and have seen God move in this friends life, all the prayers were answered, yet I got very ill.

    This has happened to me several times when I have had heavy prayer going on. Im just glad that Im not the only one!

    I will be sure to pray a hedge of protection around myself, also.

  6. Pingback: The devil, bad pizza, and Todd Bentley's healings - Gentle Wisdom

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