The Basics of Spiritual Warfare

The following is meant to equip you for the basics of spiritual warfare, and is an excerpt from chapter 7 of The Rogue Christian.

  • Remember who your enemy is.

Your enemy is not your spouse or other people, but the demonic forces that come to “steal, kill, and destroy” (Ephesians 6:12). Part of their strategy is to keep you fighting against your loved ones and other brothers and sisters in Christ instead of with them against the real foe. This is why unity is so important, assuming those around you agree on the basic tenets of the faith.

  • Spiritual attack can have a dark, invasive edge to it. Often demonic forces will throw subtle lie-darts at an emotional wound with unresolved pain, lies, or trauma from the past. You’ll want to get healing in those areas. Expose what you’re going through to the Lord, and ask Him for the wisdom and discernment for the next step.

Not every trial is about spiritual warfare. You wouldn’t want to treat a chemical or emotional issue like you would a battle with the enemy. Some believers make the mistake of thinking that if they can cast out the demon of lust, for example, that their struggles with sexual sin will go away. You can’t cast your flesh out, and temptation doesn’t stop this side of eternity.

  • Satan is attacking marriages today. We are seeing Christian couples going through intense strife and other trials. The enemy knows how to trigger one spouse to spark a fight while he gets the other heated up to keep them at it. You can spend days or weeks with a dark cloud over your marriage if you don’t realize the cause is warfare.

Not long ago, Michelle and I went on our first trip without kids since the early years of our marriage. We got on the wrong foot from the first day, arguing over seemingly small issues. The tension in our relationship continued to build until the morning of the third day, when it got so bad that we started talking about spending the day apart. I was confused and asked the Lord what was going on. His reply: “Your marriage is under assault.” I told Michelle what God said, and after several minutes of warfare praying that included commanding the enemy to stop his attacks on our relationship, the dark cloud lifted, and Michelle and I were at ease with each other again.

A 1993 Gallup poll revealed that among married couples who pray together daily, the divorce rate is one out of 1,153. The divorce rate is the same as the national average for couples who don’t pray together consistently.44 Pray with your spouse every day.

  • Praying scripture aloud is a powerful weapon that combines the living and powerful word of God (Hebrews 4:12) with the nuclear force of prayer. Psalms 91 is the great warfare chapter, and is my go-to.
  • There will be battles when you will need to take up your authority in Christ (Ephesians 2) to resist the enemy (1 Peter 5:9) and command him to stop.

It’s 2012, and I’m in the second day of a five-day Daniel fast. From the time I awoke that morning, my mind was being assaulted with dark thoughts. I can usually tell when I’m getting hit with a spiritual attack versus a set of random thoughts fluttering through my mind, because the thoughts are evil and keep coming. There is a sense I’m being wailed on, which is what was happening that morning.

I prayed Scripture, but the assault kept coming. As I drove to the office, I got angry and shouted at the top of my voice, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I who am a citizen of heaven, seated with Christ in heaven, command any evil spirits that are messing with me in any way to stop, leave my presence, and go where Jesus sends you to go!”

Instant silence.

  • Some battles must be won with a different approach. Ask the Lord to show you the steps He wants you to take for victory. I have had situations when nothing worked and God told me to do something out of the ordinary, such as praise Him. During Old Testament times, God often gave the children of Israel a different strategy for victory. Jericho is a classic example.
  • Warfare may be a result of sin that hasn’t been repented of or confessed. Frequent porn binges, or strongholds of bitterness or fear can be open doorways for the enemy to wreak havoc in your life and the lives of your family. Confess your sin to another brother or sister and ask them to pray for you (James 5:16), then ask God for the next step.
  • If you’re getting attacked with the same lie and it’s not going away, ask the Lord to break its power, confess it as sin if needed and/or renounce it, then ask God to fill your heart with the truth. If there is an emotional wound attached to the lie, you may need to pray through it with someone who can help you in this area (we offer counseling at Blazing Grace if you want help).
  • Surrender. “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). If the Lord has been telling you to obey in an area and you’ve put Him off, it could be that the key to victory lies in obedience. For example, if God has been telling you to forgive someone and you’ve refused, a spirit of bitterness may have a field day attacking you. All the spiritual warfare techniques in the world won’t help you. Once you’ve closed the door by forgiving the other person, it’s a simple matter of rejecting the enemy’s attacks by refusing to feed on the thoughts of bitterness.
  • Don’t fear. Once the enemy has established a beach-head of fear in your life, he can use it to torment you. You will need to take a stand against fear, which can be done by confession, having others pray for you, and driving the stakes of God’s word in the ground of your soul. “The Lord said to trust Him with all my heart in Proverbs 3:5 and I will do so. I will not fear”… “God said I am not to fear because He’s with me… I will not fear no matter how I feel” (Isaiah 41:10). Fear may also be attached to an emotional wound. If you continue to struggle with fear, you may need outside help to walk through the process of healing.
  • Filter every thought that comes through your mind with God’s word. Refuse to latch on to thoughts that don’t agree with His word or character. The only way to know God word is to saturate your mind with it. Read the Bible every day.
  • Ask for prayer. If I’m getting hit with an overwhelming battle, I’ll text a friend and ask them to pray for me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.