A Few Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare

By Derek

Spiritual Warfare is one of the troubling and sensitive issues within the church. Many times it is easily overlooked. If you are anything like me, if something is out sight then it is going to typically be out of mind. Therefore, the reality of spiritual warfare does not always bear witness on my conscience because I cannot see it. Unfortunately, the reality and truth of the world is that all reality of the physical realm is wholly and dependent on the spiritual realm and NOT VICE VERSA. God is spirit and was pre-existent before all creation, and all creation flows from and is upheld by Him (Col 1:15-20). Without the existence of His being no reality would exist. This is to encourage us in understanding what God’s word says about spiritual warfare and what WE are commanded and mandated to do within scripture to battle against it. YES, we each and every one of us, who believe and hold faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, is commanded to engage in this battle daily!

The first passage that we’ll take a look is Ephesians 6:10-18 where Paul charges us to take up this fight daily. He does so by encouraging us through this orderly preparation of battle, as if we were preparing for a 1st century war. Within this passage there are two questions we should ask, who’s the war against and where does Paul learn how to battle in this manner he’s describing?

  • Who’s the war against? A heavenly onslaught of wickedness that is ever before all of us day after day wanting and desiring to discourage, lure, accuse, tempt, hate, lie, oppress, and any other ungodliness WITHIN and OUTSIDE of us. It’s to keep the redeemed (according to Ephesians 6, not everyone is going to be saved) from reflecting that they have been redeemed and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
  • Where does Paul learn how to battle? We can see Paul has trusted in the armor of God for all his protection. In doing so he is not referring to tangible physical items that we can grasp to horde off wicked spiritual forces or saying that we need to do things more, but instead just to trust and have specific faith in the whole armor of God. But where does Paul learn and understand this? How does Paul know that this is what must take place to be ready for battle against these spiritual forces? Let’s look at Isaiah 59, Paul being a former Pharisee would have probably memorized this, and I believe it gives a good explanation of why Paul had faith in God’s armor.

In verse 17 we read specifically, “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head…” where the Servant of YHWH is taking it upon Himself to rescue and redeem His/YHWH’s people (Israel) because no one else is able to do it. It displeased Him (the Servant) that His people were oppressed by their evil; they needed to be saved. Therefore, He readied Himself for battle and promised He would save His people. The Servant doesn’t wait to see whether or not the people will figure things out, He doesn’t send another, He doesn’t put the responsibility in the hand of an angel….He goes Himself to save His people. This is the same scene that we see in Ephesians 6 when Paul is commanding the believers of Ephesus and us to prepare for our spiritual battle daily. From Isaiah 59, Paul learns to do the battle and teaches us how to. Paul directs our attention to the whole armor of God, because he knows there is no power greater than God’s! He sees YHWH redeeming Israel upon His return, and that the defeat of sin, Satan, all demons, & wickedness is already decided because none other than YHWH is going to come and fight the battle for His people (Isaiah 59). Paul is not telling us to take up spiritual things and fight against spiritual forces; he is directing our hearts to rest and look to the future hope. He wants us to trust in the One who has defeated all sin, wickedness, Satan and his dominions, at the cross 2000 years ago. This is none other than Jesus Christ, who is the Servant returning to redeem Israel in Isaiah 59 as well!

Fighting Satan, demons, and spiritual forces is our responsibility in regards to doing two main things: first full submission to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and second, to trust that He has defeated and will return to finally destroy all who oppose Him. In order to do this we should be, just as Paul states in Ephesians 6:18a, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication,” that we would remain faithful and stand firm in who God is.

  1. I’m so glad that you’re writing about this, Derek. I think that too few people believe that spiritual warfare (or even the spiritual realm) is real – which is just what our enemy wants.

    I was just talking to someone today about life in LA and the ways that I think the devil plots to discourage and isolate believers (and unbelievers, for that matter). Even as a woman who knows God’s word and the power of prayer, I am often lulled into a numbness and suddenly am overwhelmed by loneliness, isolation and discouragement. It takes the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome those experiences. Thanks for reminding me that part of my daily prayer should be putting on the armor of God.

    On a personal note, it blesses my heart and encourages me when I read your writing. I am so grateful for the work the Lord has done in your life in the past years since I’ve known you. His spirit is upon you to minister the Gospel and its pretty awesome.

    • Marc
    • January 5th, 2010

    It’s soooo real, but we don’t have to worry. Luke 10:18-20.

    • Derek
    • January 6th, 2010

    Praise God for you encouragment Tiff, and I’m truly thankful for your influence through the years, along with Kess, Banks, and many others. It’s been a tremendous testimony to the goodness of God and His people as well.

    I’m so thankful that this served as an encouragment for you as well. I was mediatating on this throughout a couple of days and it just kept convicting me more and more that I give no thought to spiritual realities throughout much of the day, nor do I boast in our Savior that has secured our spiritual reality either. Regardless…praise God. =)

      • judy heddens
      • January 11th, 2010

      Derek, We just did this chapter in church, and you are right, most of the time it is easy to not think about. Judy H

  2. Thanks mom, I pray it was an encouragement! =)

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