What is spiritual warfare?
Spiritual warfare is premised on the biblical teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles that there is a war between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. A battle is constantly raging between holy angels and demonic powers, seeking to control and influence people's lives and their eternal destinies. The Bible tells us:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12).
Two common mistakes
Unfortunately, there are unbalanced viewpoints when it comes to spiritual warfare. One viewpoint is that every problem is a result of demon spirits. Some attribute every spiritual problem, difficulty or trial to Satan. Yet, it is false to believe that every psychological challenge, health issue, or temptation is caused by a demon spirit. Some also justify their sin by using the excuse "the devil made me do it."
Another unbalanced viewpoint is that demon spirits are not real and have no influence over people. Some contend that belief in demon spirits was merely a way for ignorant people thousands of years ago to explain pain, suffering, and why evil exists. Yet, this premise may lead to the erroneous conclusion that most of the problems allegedly attributed to demons in the Bible were caused by psychological or medical issues. The fact that there may have been an over simplification to the question of evil by people in the past should not be used as a justification to reject the reality of the spiritual realm and demon spirits, both of which were recognized by Jesus Christ in the Bible.
The reality is that the spiritual realm is very real. It is important to have sound biblical understanding on spiritual warfare. However, spiritual warfare has been virtually ignored by mainstream evangelical Christianity. Many think it is an area reserved for missionaries, or perhaps those ministering to individuals in witchcraft or Satanism. The average Christian has probably concluded that understanding spiritual warfare is not important in his own life. Those who experience deep spiritual difficulties or problems are often counselled that the root cause of their problems is either an inability to conquer the flesh or a lack of commitment to Christ. This could be true; however, many never give serious consideration that their problems may also be related to the activity of demon spirits.
Victory in spiritual warfare begins with an understanding of the relationship between the world, the flesh, and the devil. Spiritual warfare is not merely the study of demon spirits. Of course, examining Satan's origin and organization is important. Understanding the scope of Satan's activity and how demons affect the believer are also crucial. However, the believer cannot effectively engage in spiritual warfare without examining such critical areas as the armor of God, holy angels, blood of Jesus Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and the power of prayer.
What does this mean for you?
Some believe that to engage in spiritual warfare requires a vast amount of knowledge and that only mature Christians should dare engage in spiritual warfare. Both beliefs are false. Those most likely to benefit from engaging in spiritual warfare are believers who are struggling in their spiritual life or are in bondage to sins which they have never been able to overcome. Understanding how these bondages develop and how they can be broken will be welcome information. Others will gain a rich understanding of how to effectively pray for friends and loved ones to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who complete the training will also have the knowledge and confidence to assist others in direct confrontation of the powers of darkness. Believers will find that engaging in spiritual warfare will add a new dimension to their relationship with God.