My latest Youtube video on Spiritual Warfare
To watch the video click the link above. Don’t forget to like the video on youtube, subscribe to my channel and share with your friends. Thanks guys. Below is the written version of the content of the video – there’s a little more in the video due to some ad-libbing…
What is spiritual warfare in today’s world? What does it look like? Is there even such a thing?
Spiritual warfare is real! The battle is real! I believe that it is for the most part an unseen battle, but it is a real war that is continually going on in the spiritual realms between darkness and light.
I hear you asking, but what is this battle between darkness and light? Spiritually, what does that look like? Well, I believe now, today, more people are seeing that battle playing out in the world. It can seem like we are living in very dark times – right now!
In the bible there is a very colourful description of a spiritual battle…
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
So the bible talks about the devil and his angels who “lead the whole world astray.” This devil, the serpent in the bible is featured from Genesis through to Revelation…this is the enemy in this spiritual war we fight daily…
…But in our reality, in the now, in our day to day, what does that look like? Well, to me the enemy that hides in the darkness uses very specific weapons in this spiritual war and these are hinged on lies and fear – negative and oppressive thoughts and feelings like depression and anxiety, stress, sickness, doubt, feelings of inferiority, discouragement, loneliness… and also things like pride and greed…
But I think the biggest weapons the enemy uses are guilt and shame.
What does guilt and shame look like and why is it a weapon the enemy uses? I was contemplating this the other day, and I was thinking that if you feel you have to hide something from your loved ones – parents, partner, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, school, work, friends – yourself…
…if you are trying to hide anything, then I wonder if maybe there is something unhealthy going on in your spiritual life – something that is not good for you in mind, body or soul! If you have to hide it, think to yourself – why? What is it that leads you to feel guilty or ashamed of that thing? I am speaking to myself here as well, as I express to understand through the Spirit.
If you are walking with God, why would you need to hide anything?
I am reminded of the story of the Fall in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the garden because they had eaten the forbidden fruit and were suddenly ashamed of their nakedness. This was because they were now aware of the difference between goodness and evil – sin had entered the perfect paradise that God had made for them.
God asked them – “Who told you that you were naked?”
The serpent had deceived them, but because God had given them free-will, they had the power to choose to do what they had known was forbidden for their own good, and so they chose to listen to the serpent instead of God, who had created them and knew what was best for them. They knew it was wrong, but chose to do it anyway and it was that awareness, that feeling of guilt that the serpent had awoken. I think this was a spiritual awakening, this awareness between good and evil, darkness and light, truth and deception.
Much like when we are teenagers, I thought, when we know what our parents tell us not to do because it will harm us, but we push the boundaries, thinking we will choose to do things our own way because, why not? And sometimes these things can be the start of a slippery slope into dangerous sin that leads to spiritual darkness, like experimenting with smoking for example – what harm can it do? After all everyone does it, right? And then moving on to weed, thinking perhaps, what harm can it do? It’s just a bit of weed? And then another jump and it’s harder drugs! And the boundaries get pushed farther and farther each time…with harmless looking sin that leads to darker and darker, harder to get out of sin…
The spiritual battle is fought in the mind, in the heart and in the spirit; in darkness and in secret, behind closed doors – physical doors and spiritual doors! There are mention of doors in the bible. Jesus himself uses this image of the door to reach us – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and him with me.” (Revelation 3:20) He even refers to himself as a door or gate – “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
He invites us to use these spiritual doors to him – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
And yet God has reminded me that there are things meant to be kept hidden! The intimacy between Man and Wife for example in (1 Peter 3), an individual’s dreams (Psalm 37:3). There are even moments meant to be just between God and individuals – (Hebrews4:12),(1 John 2:27), (Jeremiah 29:11-14) says – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” The bible talks numerous times about being hidden in or beneath God’s wings – (Psalm 91:4, Deuteronomy 32:11, Jeremiah 49:22) to name but a few. And even God has hidden things from humanity! In the book of Daniel it talks about God telling Daniel to roll up the words he was told until an appointed future time.
And the mind too has doors; and sometimes those doors are even closed to ourselves. Sometimes emotional trauma is so great that our minds create doors to keep such things safe behind, and these memories can be so traumatic that they cause great hurt, and sometimes those dreaded feelings of guilt and shame that can be so destructive…
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) And those thoughts and feelings are particularly destructive, I think, when they are created through an act on someone who had no control in the situation; some abuse that has been inflicted on them by another (or sometimes themselves) – people can abuse themselves – but all of these things, these “battles” are, at the end of the day, fought in the mind and are spiritual battles between the darkness and light in our lives. And so sometimes doors can protect us from those destructive thoughts and those emotions coming through and doing damage – but God will never give you more than you can bear! It says in (1 Corinthians 10:13) But sometimes doors need to be opened or kicked in because they can keep you trapped behind them!
So, why do we feel the need to hide? We hide because we feel guilty and are ashamed. Those feelings are there to tell us there’s something we are hiding that maybe isn’t good for us, or perhaps are too intimate to share. And sometimes that’s OK, however, Satan, the devil, the serpent, that enemy who likes to ask us – “Did God really say?” He is a devious, scheming liar. He wants to turn you from God and the light, towards fear and darkness. He wants you to feel so ashamed and guilty that you cower away in the darkness and hide, alone, separated from God and God’s people…
…He is a liar and a thief and “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” (John 10:10) He wants to steal your joy, kill your peace and destroy your faith. But Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” You see, the enemy will try and trap you with his lies. He wants you to doubt God’s word, but God wants to remind you of his promises, his truth and love…he says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
He promises that, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) He will give you the strength to open those doors or he will open those doors for you!
(1 John 3:8) says, “the reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” He tells us that, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
And of course God promises he will give us the strength and will protect us – “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3) Because God loves us and he wants us to have peace in him; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31)
So how can we fight in this spiritual battle? In his word he tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11) He promises to give us the weapons to use in this battle. And these are spiritual weapons – “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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). “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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 8:37-39) What are these spiritual weapons? God tells us in his word…
“Put on the full armour 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 armour 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:11-17)
Finally God continually reminds us that this spiritual battle is not for us to battle alone. “This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14). “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
So, I am encouraged and pass on this encouragement to you that through Christ we can conquer all the devil’s schemes in this spiritual battle – those negative thoughts, emotions, temptations, struggles and hardships that we go through daily. He will give you the weapons to fight with and the strength to endure. He will give you the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, which is the fruit of his Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and will fill you with his light that gives you freedom to walk in the darkness of the world – “I am the light of the world.” He says. “Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) – Because God wants you to live a good life, a life lived to the full (John 10:10) and you can’t do that when you are living under a cloud in spiritual darkness, hiding behind physical and spiritual doors. Let’s kick down those doors together and step into the light my friends…
God bless you all and if you are battling with the spiritual darkness today ask Jesus into your heart right now and let his light guide you into a brighter tomorrow.