by Pastor Bob Myers
Imagine if you lived in a literal war zone. A place where you had to fear snipers, land mines, bombing raids targeted to cut off your essential supplies, a place where you had to always be on alert. While thankfully that is not the physical reality in our surroundings, it is what the Bible teaches about the realm we live in right now spiritually speaking.
Wherever we try to build something positive and holy, the devil sets up artillery to shell us with negativity and soul pollution. Ephesians 6:10-13 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places’.
For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel. - Martin Luther
1. Spiritual attack must become a category you understand, or you won’t understand much that happens in your life.
Challenges in your relationships, your emotions, and your thought life are often manifestations of spiritual warfare. The Bible teaches that all the problems that manifest themselves in the material have their origin in the spiritual realm. That means that the solution to your problems is spiritual. That doesn’t mean you act like the physical doesn’t matter. The issues always manifest themselves in ways that we see or feel. The Bible never encourages you to be a “spiritual pacifist”. You need to think of your Christian life as a fight, the “Fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).
2. There are two fronts to the battle.
The first front is what we see and feel. It can be as routine as battling an unforgiving heart, and the temptation to bitterness. It feels like it’s only human, but Ephesians 4:27 tells you that if you give in, you’re giving the devil a “foothold”. This is the second front of the war. You need a healthy respect for the enemy. Without this, you will be tempted to grow careless. Giving in to sin might open a window to evil forces that are bigger than you are. Sometimes, when I have prayed, the situation is immediately transformed. When that happens, I believe it is evidence that it was all a spiritual stronghold and that through prayer the demons had to leave.
3. Whenever the Kingdom of God is advancing, it stirs up demonic activity.
The devil loves religion. He doesn’t oppose smoothly organized religious activity. But he cannot tolerate genuine, gospel-generated, Holy Spirit empowered change. Covenant is experiencing a kind of unique Holy Spirit awakening. And in the midst of that reality becoming more real to us, we need to know that the other side is real too.
4. This awareness is not a call to cower in fear, but to conjure up a stronger resistance.
Demons continued to be active in the Apostolic Age (Acts 19), and have been manifest in our world ever since. It is sometimes falsely taught that demons no longer manifest themselves since Jesus Christ triumphed over them through the Resurrection. When there have been great advances for the kingdom of Christ, the resistance gets flushed out, and it manifests itself. This has been true in church history and testified to by missionaries and pastors.
5. If you are a believer, resting in Christ, you are NOT fighting FOR Spiritual Victory, but FROM Spiritual VICTORY.
Christ’s Death and Resurrection has procured our Victory. The war has been won, but the devil won’t concede defeat. He still battles us, fighting a guerilla warfare. Biblical teaching on this prevents paranoia and panic. Biblical teaching showcases the fact that the devil has been disarmed from having authority. But unbelief can give him authority and sin can open windows where he manifests himself. If you put on the full armor of Christ, then his gun doesn’t have real bullets in the chambers. But an unloaded gun can still effectively hold you hostage if you don’t know it doesn’t have bullets in the chambers. Spiritual warfare highlights an important category for understanding the Cross. We often talk about the cross as the place where Christ bore our sin as our substitute and savior. But the cross is also the place where Christ secured victory. Colossians 1: 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.