What Spiritual warfare is not.
1. Speaking against unspecified principalities and powers.
2. ‘Regaining’ territory for God by warring in heavenly places.
3. Speaking directly to the Devil. We do not have authority to ‘bind the enemy’. The passages in Matthew 12 and Mark 3 concerning ‘binding the strong man’ do not suggest that this is OK. The parallel passage in Luke 11 shows that Jesus is talking about the relative strength of God over Satan, not describing a technique in spiritual warfare.
We do not have any biblical authority or instruction to do any of these things, and they can sometimes be an excuse for not getting involved on a personal level with a broken and hurting world. At it’s most basic level, spiritual warfare is simply doing the works of God as it impacts and destroys the works of the Devil.
Characteristic symptoms of warfare.
Many of us are presently experiencing spiritual warfare without knowing that we are.
1. Weariness – this can be just because we are not getting enough rest, but is also a sign of the battle.
2. Continuous ill-health – this would probably be many different illnesses over a relatively short time or a constantly recurring illness that one had no prior weakness to.
3. Whisperings of the enemy – either within or from others. Often concerning alleged ‘failures’.
4. ‘Interesting’ people – more of a fellowship-wide problem, but indicative of the increase in enemy activity. People who more often than not join the church and become a focus for anything they take issue with rapidly, or act out their particular brokenness issues within church meetings or with other church members.
How to counter-attack.
1. Worship – is the most important arena of warfare. This is because worship puts God in His rightful place as the all-consuming centre of our lives. This leaves no room for the enemy, and changes us through being in God’s presence.
2. The Cross – the revelation and experience. That is our receiving of salvation through the cross by revelation from God, and our continuing experience of salvation, given expression in our lives through what we do and say.
Revelation 12:11 – they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.
3. Discernment – ask God that it may increase in you, but note that this is not suspicion. There is a very clear link between discernment and our purity of heart. We are born out of the earth but must operate out of heaven. Therefore the putting off of the old nature is not just a good idea, it is absolutely essential if we are to operate out of heaven. If we lived in a bog and returned to it every day, then we would never get rid of the mud and smell. If however we visited with someone who had a clean house and a bath, we would be inclined to use the bath. This is what happens when we spend our time on the things of God, the mud and smell of the world gets washed off, and we are able to come into the presence of the Holy God. The saying may be ‘garbage in, garbage out’ but it is also true to say ‘God in, God out’.
4. Ministry – power encounters, acting by God’s authority and power. Luke 10:18 I saw Satan fall like lightning. This is an active thing. We stand in authority by doing the works of the Father, not by telling unknown powers that we have authority. Quite frankly they will know whether we are just trying to bluff or not.
5. Intercession – not failing to call out to God for the in-breaking of His Kingdom. Note that intercession is not used in power encounters.
6. Overcome evil with good – freely forgive one another. Mercy triumphs over judgement – James 2:13.
7. Expression of gratitude – be thankful to God and one another.
© Paul Wood