Spiritual warfare. These are words most Christians have heard at least once in their life, but what exactly is it? How do we know if we’re just struggling or encountering spiritual warfare? These are all questions I’ve been asking myself lately and in this article, I will aim to answer all of them.
What is spiritual warfare? Spiritual warfare is the act of fighting against Satan when he tries to keep us from God’s calling. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy so when we are pursuing Christ, he tries to accomplish all of those things. Though encountering spiritual warfare is difficult, God uses it to grow us even closer to Him.
Do you feel like you or someone you love is encountering spiritual warfare? Read this post to learn how to battle it and come out victorious.
What Is Spiritual Warfare?
When most Christians encounter trials and tribulations they are quick to call it spiritual warfare. I’ve done this in my own life, however that would be just a spiritual attack. The emphasis in spiritual warfare is the word war because we are called to fight back when the enemy charges us.
When someone tells me that they are facing spiritual warfare my mind automatically goes to the extreme. I begin to think, ” wow this person is probably being attacked by demons and everything in their life must be falling apart. I think that’s the first place most of us go when we think of a spiritual attack from the enemy.
These attacks are not always that extreme but are still incredibly difficult to face.
Spiritual warfare attacks can look like thoughts of depression, self-doubt, loss of a family member, your head being filled with lies, or anything that could potentially prevent you from furthering your calling.
We see multiples examples of spiritual attacks with in the book of Job.
a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”Job 1:14-15
This is just one of the many accounts of the spiritual attacks Job faced. The attacks kept progressing throughout his story and getting worse, but then in Job 1:20, we see how Job reacts to all the devastation that has occurred.
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”Job 1:20-21
While reading the first line we begin to think ” Man, Job is losing it and totally having a Brittany Spears moment”, but then we see the reason for his perceived madness. He falls down in worship. He doesn’t scream in anger towards God, run away, or even go into a fit of anger. Job worships and praises the Lord’s name.
This is what changes what Job was facing from spiritual attacks to spiritual warfare. He fought back at the enemy by praising the Lord and not allowing Satan to defeat him.
7 Signs Of Spiritual Warfare
Earlier I listed some examples of spiritual attacks, but it is important to be aware of every kind that you could face. The first step to battling spiritual warfare is recognizing that you’re in it, and this list will help you do just that.
- Facing sudden and constant loss/ problems: Yesterday everything seemed fine and dandy, but then all of a sudden it feels like your world is crashing down. One bad thing is happening after another. You feel out of control and unsure of why you’re going through this, but God is right there with you.
- Sudden illness or health struggles: Being sick and unhealthy is not something that God wants for us, but it’s something the enemy can use to defeat us. You may develop a small cold right before sharing the gospel, or even being diagnosed with something larger like cancer.
- Facing increased temptation to sin: We encounter opportunities to sin daily, but there are times when our temptation to sin grows even larger. The thoughts randomly start filling our mind with desires that are unpleasing to God. We then begin to be filled with fear that we are going back to our own ways, but that is a lie. This is a huge attack from the enemy.
- Feelings of anxiousness, hopelessness, and struggles with mental health: Our own minds are sometimes the biggest weapon Satan can use against us. We begin feeling anxiety, having thoughts of hopelessness, struggle with a desire to no longer be on this planet, and just feel like our mind is exploding with toxic never-ending thoughts. This can definitely be a spiritual attack, and we have to seek God first when facing this battle.
- Lack of sleep: Sleep is something that our minds and body need in order to fully function and be fully healthy. Losing sleep can cause us to not be able to be on guard and ready to attack. This is something that we can be facing as a spiritual attack because all of a sudden we go from 8 hours to 2 hours. Sometimes you can even begin to suffer from insomnia or face extreme nightmares when you do sleep. Though this can happen occasionally be aware of when it’s becoming a pattern, and go to God in prayer.
- Losing motivation: Motivation is a trait that God has blessed us with and is what helps us pursue His calling for us. Without it, we begin to become stagnate. Sometimes we want to push through the lack of motivation, but even that. can become tiring. When this occurs it is a sign that you may be in the middle of a battle.
- Doubting God: Doubting God is a characteristic that we developed as a result of the fall when Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. We begin to lose sight of who He is and His characteristics and doubt Him. This can cause us to spiral and struggle in our faith, but God still wants to help us even when we are doubting Him.
Though what you are facing is incredibly difficult know that your Heavenly Father is with you every step of the way, and by His strength, you will come out of this battle even stronger.
What To Do When Encountering Spiritual Warfare
When we are face to face with the enemy we can feel hopeless and like we don’t have a chance, but our heavenly father has given us resources to fight our enemy.
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that God has equipped us with. It allows us to seek Him in the midst of trial and invite Him into our battle with us. Prayer is not just us crying out to God in the midst of turmoil but also listening to what He has to say so that He can lead us.
God calls us to go to Him in scripture in every circumstance.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.1 John 5:14
When we go to our Heavenly Father in prayer, He hears us. He doesn’t just hang up His phone but instead takes time to listen and support us.
Put On Your Armor
We are commanded in scripture to put on the full armor of God not only facing trials but every single day. We can find this in Ephesians 6,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.Ephesians 6:10-11
The armor of God includes: The helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, field of faith, the sword of the spirit, and feet protected by the gospel.
Putting each of these on these daily is an act of surrendering each day to god, but also ensures that you are always on guard and ready to fight.
Click here to learn more about the armor of God.
Get In The Word
Though God’s word is a part of the armor of God, it is important to read it, even more, when the enemy tries to creep into our life. God’s word is our source of truth when lies begin to creep into our lives and steal our joy.
Reading His word allows us to stay focused on things above even in the direst situations.
Though the Bible is not a weapon to use to literally wound the enemy it is the best weapon we have available to us.
The weapons we fight with are not the 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 10:4-5
God’s word has the power to break down the enemy and stop him in his tracks.
Seek Wise Counsel
Though God is with us every step of the way we can still be inadequate to fight out battles alone or afraid of all that is happening. That is a perfectly okay thought to have and God calls the church the body of Christ for a reason.
If we one falls we all do. God wants us to seek out other members of His body when we need help.
Doing this allows you to be vulnerable and grow even closer to those around you. Before seeking others you must first seek Him in prayer. This will allow you to surrender to Him while also asking help with who to seek out for advice in this season.
Though your first instinct may be to go to your best friend, you might need to seek a mentor instead.
Viewpoints Of Spiritual Warfare
Though spiritual is something that we will all encounter at some point in our walk with God, others have different viewpoints of it.
Though I will list each below and give my opinion, I recommend you do your own research by diving into God’s word.
- We encounter spiritual warfare because we are not following God: Some believe that those who are not following God are punished by facing a spiritual attack. I do not believe this to be accurate. Those who are not yet following God can face spiritual attacks, but because of the fact that sin is still running wild in our world. The enemy preys on anyone insight and will try to keep them from coming to know our savior.
- We encounter spiritual warfare only when pursuing God: I’ve heard the same line many times when facing trials. It goes like this “This just means that God is calling you to something great, and the enemy doesn’t like what you’re doing”. Though I may get tired of hearing that line, it is absolutely true. The times that I’ve faced some of the most difficult things occurred when I was taking huge steps in my calling. Satan wants to keep us from fulfilling our calling because will bring good and he only wants evil.
- We can encounter spiritual warfare no matter where are at in our relationship with God: This viewpoint is the one that I believe to be most true. You see bad things don’t just happen to followers of Christ or those who are running from Him. Instead, they happen to every single person on this planet because of evil. Though the most important part to remember is that spiritual warfare is the act of battling the attack. Because of that, it is rare that unbelievers will engage in spiritual warfare since they do not yet know God, and are most likely not aware that what they’re facing is actually an attack.
Whether your viewpoint differs from mine or not, we must come to the realization that we need to raise others up in the armor of God so that they are capable of fighting their battles.
Why Christians Should Be Aware Of Spiritual Warfare
It is not a question of if you will face spiritual attacks, but instead a question of when. This is why it is of most importance to learn about spiritual warfare, because without we wouldn’t know how to fight our battles.
We are called to be on guard from the enemy and participating in spiritual warfare correctly allows us to do so.
Spiritual warfare may make you question your faith, doubt yourself, and even fall into a dark place. However, the most beautiful part of spiritual warfare is that we got tossed straight into the fire so that we are able to be refined.
If we stay stagnate we are unable to grow or fail. Though it may feel like the most comfortable option, it’s the worse option.
We see in Romans that He has made us conquerors so that we can come out of these battles victorious.
No, 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
God uses spiritual warfare to grow us and shape us even more into His image. Stay strong my friend and do not become disheartened because you can have comfort in His will and sovereignty. You are a warrior for the kingdom of Heaven, so put on your armor and go fight your battles.