Kingdoms in Conflict
Basic Training in Spiritual Warfare
This teaching on our spiritual warfare is just one lesson of our free eCourse for personal transformation, 'Matters of the Heart.' All 24 lessons will be helpful to the person seeking restoration and freedom.
All scripture citations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
Introducing the 'Adversary'
In The Keys to the Kingdom we saw that Jesus has given us keys that give access to the peace and joy of His Kingdom on earth. These are divinely powerful keys guaranteed to work - but it is not so easy to get them to work. Someone is resisting us practically every step of the way! That's why we need 'basic training' in spiritual warfare.
Satan's name actually means 'Adversary' - the one who 'opposes' and 'plots against' God and us. In a strange way it is comforting to learn this truth that we didn't mess up our lives or the planet as a whole just by our own foolishness alone. We evidently had lots of help coming from an invisible realm that we may have had no idea even existed. There are plenty of people - including Christians - who don't believe the devil is real or that knowing about him could have any relevance for daily life.
Watch these short videos about spirit world realities on our YouTube channel.
An amazing reversal of fortune when a 'drifter' got set free!
If you have ghosts in your house, who are you going to call?
C. S. Lewis wryly commented upon this way of the world in his preface to The Screwtape Letters.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.
We certainly don't want to fall into the ditch of error on either side of this truth. The great thing in the Christian life is our relationship with Christ - not with the enemy. Even so this very deceptive enemy must be exposed in order to be successfully resisted. We would be wise to learn from the elders of the early church who tell us that they took care to beware.
To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions. 2 Corinthians 2:11 AMP
The Invisible Battle for All of Life
Did you know that you have a personal enemy, even legions of enemies? Did you know that they know your weaknesses and will stop at nothing to bring you down? How can you survive on a battlefield, if you don't know that a war is going on? How can you fight back, if you don't know who your enemy is, or how to recognize him or how to use your weapons?
We have been given free will in a real world that is besieged by an invisible enemy. None of us volunteered to be involved in this war - we were born into it. We can learn to fight in the great battle of our age, or be rendered ineffective, taken captive, or destroyed. We can even have a great love for God and still be defeated by a lack of knowledge.
Therefore my people go into captivity for lack of knowledge. Isaiah 5:13 WEB
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6
This invisible kingdom of the enemy was in the Garden, but it was kept separate from Adam and, before the Fall, could not interfere with his fellowship with God. Tragically, after Adam and Eve sinned, the nature of Satan - his way of feeling, thinking and believing - began to operate in them and seemed like their own reasoning process.
There are literally hundreds of references to evil spirits, fallen angels and Satan in the scriptures. Instances of demonic oppression abound. In the New Testament there is a linking of sickness and oppression, just as there is a linking of sickness and sin. There is not a shared identity of the two, but a relationship: Not every sickness required deliverance from demons: Not every deliverance from demons involved a physical illness. Nevertheless, disease and death come from the Fall, not the blessing of God. Hence, it is the enemy's kingdom that is at work behind sickness and disease to enforce the curse of the law.
Consider these examples:
They brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. Matthew 4:24
Behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up. When Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.' Luke 13:11-12 WEB
This Is Not an Impersonal Dark Force
The spiritual realm of darkness is not inhabited by ethereal forces, but by intelligent beings with malignant natures. Evil spirits have personality, will and desire, but lack bodies through which to carry out their assignments. Jesus says evil spirits prefer to occupy our bodies and think of us as their 'house.'
'When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.' Matthew 12:43-45
The evil spirits that have been cast out and sent into 'waterless places' are in torment because they need a means of expressing their nature. They need our agreements with them and the use of our bodies so that they can sin through us.
Being in terror of their dark lord, they urgently desire to fulfill their mission by expressing themselves within us and to propel us by inward pressure (fear, anger, lust, shame, etc.) into outward sins as well. All the while they take an unholy pleasure in feeling inside of us the very feelings we don't enjoy; hence, their primary goal is to return to the person they were cast out of.
We need to clean our 'house' and keep it filled and guarded. Evil spirits gain dominion over us by tempting us to agree with the sin they represent (i.e. a 'spirit of fear' promotes fear). Christians cannot be possessed by the enemy, since they are the Lord's possession. However, they can be and often are oppressed from the inside and/or the outside by this infernal kingdom.
Discerning the Enemy's Operations
The enemy seeks to veil his work with darkness and deception - that's why discernment is one of the four keys to freedom (see Lesson 3). If we can recognize the working of this kingdom, we can overcome it for light drives out darkness. If we do not discern the spirits, their position and power continues unchallenged.
We enter into agreement with the evil spirit whenever we let it express itself through us. When that happens it is no longer sinning by itself - against us - its sin has become our sin - within us. Sin is an agreement with the enemy - with his ways, his perspective and his desires. Until we fully forsake a sin, we are still in 'secret' (unrecognized) agreement with it at some level deep inside our heart.
Because the evil spirits so thoroughly believe in the 'rightness' of their demented perspective, we have to learn how to break our agreements with the compelling power of their entrenched beliefs. We will have to work hard at believing God's truth instead. This is war and war is never easy, but our freedom is well worth the effort it takes...
We have to fight to stay surrendered!
Father, thank You for the Blood of Jesus, the Name of Jesus, Your truth, Your Spirit and Your armor - my weapons for the 'right hand and the left' for offense and defense. You have truly equipped me for fighting the spiritual battles that lie ahead! I place the helmet of salvation over my mind and the righteousness of Christ over my heart. May I always be girded about by Your truth and may my feet remain upon Your path of peace. I take up faith as a shield against the Accuser and wield Your Word as a sword to cut through the darkness so that I can keep walking in Your light, praying always for Your Presence and power to guide me!
Read the rest of this article by taking our free eCourse or look it up in the Downloads section (Kingdoms in Conflict).
True Life Illustration
A Stunning Story of Demonic Deliverance: This Battle Is Real!
Next Healing Lesson
Understanding how your Father sees you
Interested in Going Deeper?
Don't just give these truths a 'head bob' - take our free eCourse for Healing. For further study and for help working these truths into your heart and life, see Kingdoms in Conflict Part 2 (Head to Heart Guide 4). In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!