There are days when we are happy and peace resides in our household and then we experience days where the squabbling is unbearable, my migraines come in full force, and temptation lurks around every corner. These are the days when I feel my family is under attack and it’s been recently that I proclaimed “enough is enough” and God pushed me to seek out spiritual warfare in the Bible.
The idea of spiritual warfare is not something I’ve embraced much in my Christian faith. Partly, because the idea of evil forces scare me, and partly because I haven’t studied spiritual warfare in the Bible enough to feel comfortable with it.
So, let’s do this together!
Spiritual Warfare in the Bible
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)
Paul talks about spiritual warfare in Ephesians. He goes on to explain how we are to battle in a world we cannot see. More about that later.
Daniel experiences this spiritual warfare first hand when after weeks of praying, an angel comes to him with a message from God.
“Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:12-14)
What is Spiritual Warfare?
What is spiritual warfare?
Warfare is a battle. Two forces opposing each other.
Spiritual is the world in which we do not have regular access to it because it is not physical. Spiritual, by definition, gives to the idea of soul and spirit, not earthly and physical. It is real, but we only catch glimpses of it.
In short, it is the constant battles of good and evil going on all around us. Spiritual warfare is satan coming against God and His creation. He was cast to the earth because of his pride and that pride continues to seek revenge. What greater way to prove that he is equal to God than to convince God’s creation to worship him?
And if we cannot be convinced to worship him directly, he will tempt us with money, stress, worldly distractions, greed, etc. etc. He will break down what we have carefully built up and he will whisper continually in our ear of our failures.
He will try to convince us that God couldn’t possibly love a broken soul like ours or that our sins are too great to be forgiven. He will point out the righteous to us and remind us that we will never measure up.
Don’t be fooled my dear friends, Satan knows you and your weaknesses and he is using them against you.
Your mind is a prime battleground. Taking Every Thought Captive is a course by Sunshyne Gray that helped me a lot. If you struggle with your thoughts, be sure to check it out.
Am I Under Spiritual Attack?
We are all under spiritual attack. Your marriage is under attack as well as all other relationships in your life. Your friends, coworkers, walk with God, and your health. The list goes on.
James and Peter both instruct us to resist the devil.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Job: A Perfect Example of Spiritual Warfare in the Bible
In the beginning of Job, we read that Satan came before God and confesses that he had been wandering back and forth on the earth. God knew very well that Satan was up to no good.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”
So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. (Job 1:6-12)
Satan goes and destroys all that Job has. He takes away his children and all of his possessions. Job is left a broken man, but remains faithful to God.
Satan is annoyed and comes before God again.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”
Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
4 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
6 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:1-10)
I have to point out the incredible faith of Job. He resisted the devil just like Peter and Paul instruct us to do.
When I lost my daughter, my faith took a hit. I was left doubting like I never had before. Job loses everything and yet he does not sin with his lips. That, my friends, is faith!
Examples of Spiritual Warfare
I’ve already listed several examples of spiritual warfare in the Bible, but the more I dug, the more I found! Here are a few more.
Warfare Scriptures is Psalms
I have often read the Psalms and admired David’s confidence that God was protecting him and delivering him from his enemies. What if we pause and think about David as not only a physical warrior but also a spiritual warrior?
“Through You we will push down our enemies;
Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.
6 For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor shall my sword save me.
7 But You have saved us from our enemies,
And have put to shame those who hated us.” (Psalm 44:5-7)
Did you know Moses wrote Psalm 91? I recently learned this.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
When you read Psalm 35 from a spiritual perspective and not as David physically fighting, it opens up a whole new concept.
Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
3 Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.” (Psalm 35:1-3)
Jesus and Spiritual Warfare
Jesus is another example of spiritual warfare in the Bible. From Herod trying to kill him as a baby to satan tempting him, to his victory over death. The battles taking place in the realm we rarely see are manifested in the miracles and healings of Jesus.
Let’s begin with Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. I love how Jesus replies to Satan’s tactics. Notice how He quotes scripture.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, and In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:1-11)
What is the Whole Armor of God?
Ok, let’s go back to Ephesians. What is the whole armor of God that Paul instructs us to put on?
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— (Ephesians 6:10-18)
The armor is:
- girded with truth
- breastplate of righteousness
- feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
- shield of faith
- helmet of salvation
We could turn this into a detailed study, but let’s just briefly see how each of these applies to our daily life.
First, we must be armed with the truth. Study your Bible, learn who God is and unlock the truths He has provided us with. Jesus quoted scripture to fight Satan’s temptations. We must also be able to fight him with words of truth.
Next, we must not only read the truth, but we must also live it. Ask God to put His words into your heart. All He needs is a willing vessel.
Shoes. We need shoes to walk on rough terrain and protect our feet. The gospel of peace does the same. The gospel is the “good news of Jesus”. Therefore we use our faith in Christ to help us stand and walk through the trials of life.
I don’t think the shield of faith needs much explanation. You either believe or you don’t and satan will find your weaknesses here every time. I believe faith isn’t faith until it is tried so allow God to work in your heart, keep your eyes focused on Him, and when satan comes against you remind him whose child you are.
Helmet of salvation is the last of the armor. It isn’t enough to simply believe all of the words God has given us. We must make a decision to follow Christ and the steps mapped out for us.
One last note. Paul ends this thought with an instruction to pray. Do NOT skip this step. There is power in prayer!
Spiritual Warfare in the Bible
Now that we have all the proof we need of spiritual warfare in the Bible, are you ready to fight? I feel as if this post covered a lot of ground! How do you feel about this topic? Do you have a favorite story or verse for spiritual warfare? I’d love for you to share it with me in the comments below!
You might also be interested in these verses!