Spiritual Warfare is Real
So, what are you going to do about it?
by Kevin Miller
When I started hanging out with Christians, I started hearing things like, “Oh, we’re under spiritual warfare.” I didn’t even know that war had been declared. It was a little confusing to me. And over time, I’ve come to believe the doctrine of spiritual warfare is one of the most confusing, one of the most misunderstood and one of the most malpracticed doctrines ever.
I want to set forth very straightforward answers to these three questions: What exactly is spiritual warfare? What does spiritual warfare look like? And how do we win in the midst of it?
What exactly is spiritual warfare?
In Ephesians 6:12, Paul writes: “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.” It’s not primarily against this person who’s opposing us, who just hurt us, who is blocking our way at work—it is instead against what Paul calls the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The bad news is that if you are a follower of God, you have an enemy who is invisible.
Not only is this enemy invisible, this enemy is evil. If you have an enemy who is not only invisible but evil, you are not going to be able to placate this enemy. You can’t make concessions to this enemy, you can’t negotiate, you cannot bargain, you cannot argue this enemy with logic. He’s irretrievably and irrevocably evil. He’s invisible, he’s evil and he’s on the attack.
What does spiritual warfare look like?
If the attack is invisible, how would you and I know that it is an attack? This is where some great confusion comes in for believers. Below are five qualities or characteristics that in the Bible are clearly and solidly associated with the work of Satan and his forces:
There is opposition to someone hearing about or coming closer to Jesus Christ. I had a friend visit me one time, and he was on a spiritual quest; he had been for several years. Most recently he came to our home after spending months at a spiritual commune in Oregon under the leadership of a guru from India. He was interested in spiritual things, and I am too, so we stayed up every night while he was here talking about the nature of humanity, what God is like and so on. No matter how much I tried to share straight-forwardly what Jesus Christ has done in my life, no matter how winsome I tried to make that, he would nod and smile and go, “Yeah, yeah, that’s just like when the silver cord is cut and the bowl is broken” (Ecclesiastes 12:6).
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4, “The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (v. 4). They can’t see the Gospel or the glory of Christ who is God. So when you’re trying to share your faith and you think, “I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall”—you are…
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