Spiritual Warfare

"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

You know, some think that spiritual warfare and deliverance are the same thing, but I'll tell you this: they are not.

There is a difference between deliverance and spiritual warfare.

Deliverance deals with will demonic bondages and getting a person set free. It involves the breaking of the legal grounds, tearing down of the strongholds (aka: offensive spiritual warfare), and casting out of demons.

Spiritual warfare on the other hand involves resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy's lies and he (Satan) sends our way. Spiritual warfare comes in two ways: offensive and defensive. Offensive is tearing down the strongholds that the devil has formed in your mind through things like deception and accusations, and defensive is guarding yourself against the tactics/schemes of the devil.

As Christians we are not fighting against human beings, we are fighting against the devil, his demonic forces and the kingdom of darkness (Ephesians 6:12), and Ephesians 6:10 tells us to put on the WHOLE (not some, not most, but ALL OF IT.) armor of God that we can be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The devil will use many things to fight against you. Three of his primary weapons are deception, temptation and accusations.

Deception: In case you don't know the meaning of it, deception means to deceive somebody, to make another person believe a lie or something that is not true. When the enemy (Satan) sends deception on your way, it is an attempt to deceive you into believing something that is not true, so that you'll fall into error. Jesus himself said in John 8:44 that Satan is "a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.". Strongholds are built via deception which are formed when deception takes hold in a person's mind. A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that stems from believing something that is not true.

From the very beginning, Satan deceived Eve into believing that God's Word was not true, (when really it is), thus making her to eat the forbidden fruit. In Genesis 3:4, the devil told her that she will not surely die as God said she would in Genesis 2:17. As Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, little did they know that they died spiritually.

Having mentioned the armor of God earlier, we have two weapons to deal with deceptions: the belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14) and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Both of them are Truth which is found in God's Holy Word. You may be wondering "Why are they given different names (a sword and a belt)?" That's because one is meant to be defensive (the belt), while the other is meant to be offensive (the sword), which means that the Word of God is both an offensive and defensive weapon. A belt is what you wear to guard against an attack, while a sword is used to slaughter the enemy.

You use the belt of Truth (God's Word) to guard against the enemy's deception (lies) he sends your way, while you use the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God) to tear down the existing strongholds (deception that took hold) in your mind.

In Romans 12:2, we are told "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." How do we renew our minds? By getting in God's Word! In Ephesians 5:26, this process is referred to as washing of water by the Word. But what are we seeing today? Churches allowing the world to shape them, and letting sin such as homosexuality, divorce, etc. to creep in as a norm. It shouldn't be that way.

As Christians, we should never be shaped by the world.

Temptation: Temptation often follows deception. First the enemy tells us "You won't surely die!", then he makes the forbidden fruit look good to us (when in reality, it ain't good. AT ALL.). Since Eve accepted Satan's deception (his lie for that matter), now the tree that she was not supposed to touch looked good to her. She was tempted (enticed) to sin, because she allowed herself to first be deceived. Temptation is when we are enticed/encouraged to sin in one way or the other.

In Matthew 4, Jesus was led out in the desert to be tempted by the devil. The devil tried to convince Jesus with three temptations: to command the stones to be made bread, that it would be harmless to jump off a building, and to bow down to him. In this world, people will be often so drawn to sinful activities like premarital sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend when the enemy tries to convince them that its harmless and fun, when really, it's not harmless AT ALL, rather creates an open door to the devil. Jesus saw through Satan's deception, and resisted the temptations by speaking God's Word. King David (the shepherd boy who slew Goliath) said in Psalms 119:11, "Thy Word have I hidden in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

When the enemy tempts you, he's showing you the worm...but behind that worm is a hook used to trap you. The Word of God helps you to see the hook behind the worm.

In James 4:7, we are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. But it's not that simple; in the very same verse, we are told to draw near to God. Submitting to God is important in the life of a Christian. Dealing with temptation is a two fold process of resisting the devil and drawing near to God. The Closer you get to God and the more you are aware of His love, the less power temptation will have over you.

Accusations: The devil is also known as the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). He is known to take a believer who has done an embarrassing or gross sin in their past, and continue to rub it in their faces and beat them down with guilt and condemnation over their past. As Christians, we have to rebuke the enemies thoughts. It is better to focus on what God thinks than what others think. Tell the devil that you no longer belong to him. And remember, 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

Apart from these three primary weapons, he devil uses other means to fight against us, it can be through a situation, through your friends, your classmates/colleagues, through bad laws, through anything, and as Christians we need to be armed and ready, watchful and prayerful, live a righteous and holy life that is acceptable unto God, and most of all, we must be always alert, because you'll never know, when the enemy will strike.