Spiritual Warfare is Real
People might question if the demonic is just superstition or Hollywood fiction, but the Bible doesn’t give those options. The Old Testament mentions Satan 54 times and every writer in the New Testament mentions him.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12
(It’s not possible to explain the context of all Bible verses excerpted in this article. Readers are encouraged to read the surrounding Bible verses for context.)
In the New Testament, there are 29 gospel passages that mention Satan, Jesus is the speaker in all but four of them. If Jesus says he is real…
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Jesus has won the war
However, always keep in mind that, although Satan and demons exist, have some power and are against us, Jesus is greater. His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection three days later gave Him victory over all evil.
Jesus is seated “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.” – Eph 1:21-22
“…the prince of this world [Satan] has been condemned” – Jn 16:11
God highly exalted Him [Jesus], and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Phil 2:9-11
“…the power that He [Jesus] has even to subject all things to Himself.” – Phil 3:21
“When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” – Col 2:15
(A number of English Bible versions translate “rulers and authorities” as “principalities and powers”, words almost exclusively used to describe our spiritual adversaries.)
The following verses are important to help in understanding the significance of the blood of Christ in our victory over the powers of darkness and the complete forgiveness for our own sin. There’s nothing necessarily “mystical” about Christ’s blood except that it represents His sacrificial death, which simultaneously satisfied the perfect justice of God and also made powerless Satan’s weapons against us. Because Jesus’ payment was complete, there’s nothing we can do to “earn” our forgiveness or victory over sin. We only need to appropriate the victory He won for us.
1 Jn 1:7;
Heb 9:12, 14, 22;
Heb 10:19, 22, 23;
2 Pet 1:1-5,
2 Pet 1:18-19;
Where We Stand
If you have chosen to invite Jesus into your life*, He lives in you, and nothing can overcome you or separate you from Him.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1John 4:4
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
*Inviting Jesus into your life: God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He is perfect but none of us are; our mistakes and failings erect a barrier between us and God such that we can’t experience His love and know His plan for each of us. Jesus is God’s only provision to bridge that gap. We each need to make a choice to A) Invite Jesus into our lives to pay for those mistakes and experience God’s love …or B) Not invite Jesus into our lives in a futile attempt to ‘pay’ for our own sins; since we are not perfect, our payment is insufficient.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7
He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. Col 1:22
To those who have invited Jesus into their lives He has shared His victory over the enemy:
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Cor 15:57
“I [Jesus] have given you [disciples of Jesus] authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” – Lk 10:19
“…people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” – Rev 5:9-10
“And they [disciples of Jesus] overcame him [Satan] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” – Rev 12:11
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him [Jesus] who loved us.” – Rom 8:37
An important aspect of spiritual warfare is being submitted to God, truly having in your heart “God, Your will be done [not mine]…”
“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you”. James 4:7 (emphasis added)
James instructs us to resist the devil but only after, first, submitting to God. Seeking God to act in your life yet refusing to let go of your own plans is not a successful approach to wage war in the spiritual world.
One outworking of that submission is making sure you have no unconfessed sins*. Ask God to reveal any unconfessed sins, confess any specific actions or attitudes He brings to your mind, then move on, assured that you have said, “Sorry” to God and have reset your attitude to be submitted to Him.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 Jn 1:9
*’Sin’ is any action you’ve done or attitude you hold that is contrary to God’s will. Jesus’ blood pays for all of our sins but any sin committed since receiving Jesus into our lives disrupts our relationship with God. Sin is choosing to act against God’s will and partner with the enemy. Our response to committing a sin needs to be to acknowledge our sin to God and agree that it was sin. Then, a complete change in the attitude or thoughts that led us to sin is necessary to finish restoring our relationship with God, so that God can say a hearty “Yes” when you ask Him, “We good?”
“For the wages of sin is death [spiritual separation from God]”. – Rom 6:23
“But he who sins against Me [God] injures himself.” – Prov 8:36
A Warfare Prayer
When we encounter the demonic, we need to trust Jesus and let Him stand as our shield against our spiritual enemy. What does that look like? While entire books are written on spiritual warfare, one of the most valuable things is a simple prayer to ask for God’s protection:
“Dear Father, You are the creator and sustainer. You are the ruler over everything and have all authority and power. Lord, I ask that You bind anything present that is not of You and remove it. Please fill this place with Your Holy Spirit, and release Your angels to protect and minister as You see fit. Please place your shield of protection around us and keep us safe from the evil one. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”
It is important to pray in Jesus’ name; we are not coming against evil in our own power or name but in the name of Jesus, who has the victory. Apart from that, it is not important to say the specific words in the prayer, it is just a short example of what could be said. The important thing is the four parts:
- Acknowledge and praise God for being sovereign, the ruler above all.
He is sovereign over us and He is sovereign over our enemy.
- Ask God to remove evil.
Evil might be present, or it might just be our nerves or imagination. Either way, God knows the difference and asking Him to remove evil is the right action to take.
- Ask God to fill the area with the Holy Spirit.
It’s not enough for evil to be gone, the now-empty space needs to be filled. The Holy Spirit fills with His love and His light.
- Ask God to erect a barrier of protection.
If certain Bible verses come to mind, you can quote them as you pray. And you don’t have to pray aloud if you prefer to pray silently, it’s a prayer between you and the God who loves us.
After you have prayed, praise God some more; He is worthy of our praise and the enemy hates hearing it.