Spiritual Warfare

Paul usually wrote without equivocation regarding the call of God on the lives of those who wish to follow Jesus. Ephesians 5:8-11 is no exception. Here we read:

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

It is also quite clear that those who choose to live as children of light inevitably find themselves entering a war zone, spiritual warfare to be precise. Thus, near the end of the letter Ephesians (6:10-13) the Holy Spirit instructs through Paul:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

These verses make it clear that spiritual warfare is a vast subject. In fact, one of the books in my library that addresses this topic exceeds 900 pages. What we will do here is spend a few more lines identifying our area of focus; and, then we will look at four strategies for victorious Christian living.

A few biblical examples make the reality of spiritual warfare abundantly clear: 1) The Fall, Genesis 3; 2) Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Genesis 39; David’s sin with Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 11; and Jesus’ wilderness temptation, Matthew 4.

In addition to bringing the idea of spiritual warfare into focus, these examples underscore the emphasis of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6. Namely, the conflict initiated by the devil utilizing the powers of this dark world, having as its objective the eternal destruction of human souls. This is unmistakably not a philosophical struggle pitting good against evil. Moreover, it is obvious that the devil’s intent is to inflict casualties and take as many prisoners as possible.

What we need is to prepare ourselves for battle. While this post barely touches on what is involved, it is intended to list a few basic strategies for avoiding spiritual injuries and the snare of sin. Here’s the list and the Scriptures which support each strategy. If you would like to listen to a discussion of this topic, especially these points, please visit the SPIRITUAL OASIS Podcast by clicking HERE.

1) NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the power of temptation…

13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. ~James 1:13-15 TNIV

2) NEVER OVERESTIMATE temptation’s power over our actions…

13No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~1 Corinthians 10:13, TNIV

3) NEVER VACILLATE in our resolve to live victoriously over sin…

3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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. ~2 Corinthians 10:3-5 TNIV

4) NEVER HESITATE in our determination to stand against the devil’s evil schemes…

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
~Ephesians 6:10-18 TNIV

May God help us all to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

© Bill Williams, March 11, 2007

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Bible Study, Blogroll, Christian Living, Following Jesus, Kingdom Living, Podcast, Preaching Notes, Spiritual Warfare, Writing Samples. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Spiritual Warfare

  1. Mark Wilson says:

    This is a good post brother. Good principles. The problem really kicks in when sin has a grip on us and we can’t shake it off. Otherwise known as addiction.

    I see you’re not far short of the big 100k in visitors! Wow! Are you going to throw a virtual party in here… somehow?

  2. janice says:

    Morning Bill,
    mighty fine post 😉

    have a great day!

  3. Jeff Slater says:

    Amen! Excellent post, Bill.

  4. John Roberts says:

    Great thoughts – love the way you put them together.

  5. Neva Cooper says:

    Great post,
    Ned preached a sermon once about this very subject. He had a possum trap up front and he let it snap and break a pencil to show it was real. He talked about us minimizing the attraction of sin and it’s danger, all the while he kept running his finger around the edge of the trap. He talked about sin being everywhere and the need to be aware, again the finger around the trap. Then he stuck his hand in and the trap snapped on his hand. It was a horrible sound. He went on to talk about what happens after sin catches us. He talked about denial, hiding it, lying about it and finally asked one of the elders to open the trap and help him out. It was a powerful visual about sin, our response to it and our rescue from it.
    This post reminded me of that. Thank you, Bill for all you do for me and for others.
    Peace and prayers
    Neva

  6. Donna says:

    Good lesson Bill….I currently realized how deep I was into spiritual warfare…sometimes being aware that you are being attacked is the first step to overcoming!

  7. cwinwc says:

    Thanks for the teaching and encouragement.

  8. Nicole says:

    Thank you, Bill, for touching on one of, if not THE most neglected part of our spiritual walk. Intercessors have huge targets on them and are continually assaulted by the enemy of our souls. Those who fail to recognize the “schemes” often suffer needlessly, but even those who engage the enemy have a tremendous battle on their hands. When the victory comes in the Name and Authority and Blood of Jesus, it is sweet.

  9. Charlie says:

    Bill – Great stuff. Haven’t been by for a while — so I know I’vemissed a bunch of greatlessons.

    God Bless
    Charlie

  10. Kathy says:

    At the beginning of each new decade in my life I wonder, among other things, if this is the decade of spiritual maturity – is this the decade the battles will not be so violent and threatening – and each decade I have to accept that NO,they continue to rage and, I suppose, will continue until Jesus returns or He takes me home.

    Thanks for yet another wonderful post, Bill. You always seem to hit just the mark my spirit needs targeted.

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