How to Win in a Spiritual War
Are angels and demons for real, or are they just characters on TV?
Does spiritual warfare still happen today?
How do I know if I’m experiencing spiritual warfare or a figment of my imagination?
Most of what we know about the spiritual and supernatural we’ve learned from TV and the big screen. Hollywood’s interest in angels, demons, and the afterlife has dramatized spiritual warfare so much that it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not.
What Is Spiritual Warfare?
There is a real battle over our soul that takes place daily in our minds, in our hearts, and in our spirit. The apostle Paul described it like this: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Spiritual warfare is the battle between good and evil inside the invisible, spiritual realm. At the same time God is drawing us to Himself, the Bible says Satan wanders around like a lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
When it comes to spiritual warfare, God has already given us victory. We can overcome because Jesus overcame.
Some people will blame every problem on Satan and his demons, while others ignore the spiritual realm altogether. Both are dangerous. Blaming everything on spiritual attack stops us from taking responsibility for our sin while refusing to believe in the possibility of spiritual attack leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s schemes.
The best way to approach spiritual warfare is to find a balance between owning our mistakes and staying aware of the temptations around us.
How Do We Fight Spiritual Warfare?
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul explains how we should fight this invisible battle for our minds:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17).
When we fill our minds with the truth of God, we can easily distinguish between thoughts that are real (I am loved by God and created with purpose) and what’s not (No one cares about you. Your life is a waste of space).
Likewise, when we’re doing our best to practice righteousness by loving God and others, we protect our hearts from giving way to bitterness and unforgiveness — places where Satan’s lies thrive.
James, Jesus’ brother, rolls all of these ideas into one concise command: “Be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you” (James 4:7-8).
When we give our lives to Jesus, we become subject to God and we receive the power of the Holy Spirit. The same power that lived in Jesus now lives in us! And with the Holy Spirit’s power, we win against Satan every time.
Spiritual Warfare FAQs
Are angels and demons real?
Yes, angels and demons exist in our world today. Angels are spiritual beings created by God (Colossians 1:16). Demons are former angels that were cast out of heaven with Satan (Revelation 12:4).
Does spiritual warfare still happen today?
Yes. Each day when we wake up we have the choice to either serve our flesh, which is our sinful nature, or listen to the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).
What we give our time to will determine our success in the spiritual battles we face each day. This can mean spending time reading the Bible, choosing to worship when everything is going crazy, and setting aside time to pray.
How do I know if It’s spiritual warfare or something else?
Most spiritual warfare will involve tempting us to disobey God’s instruction or follow our sinful desires.
Jesus is our ultimate example when it comes to resisting temptation. In Matthew 4:1-11, Satan tempts Jesus in an attempt to disrupt His God-given mission. Each time Jesus was tempted, He responded by quoting Scripture. The Bible is our most powerful weapon against the temptations we face every day. That is why the psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
When it comes to spiritual warfare, God has already given us victory (1 Corinthians 10:13). There is nothing to fear. We can overcome be- cause Jesus overcame. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Can a Christian be possessed?
No, Christians cannot be demon possessed. All instances of demon possession in the Bible involve a demon having direct or complete control over the thoughts or actions of a person (Matthew 17:14-18, Luke 4:33-35, Luke 8:27-33).
We were created with a mind, body, and spirit. We were meant to be occupied spiritually. Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19). Our bodies are referred to as the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” So just like when a hotel room is occupied there is no room for anyone else, a Christian is occupied by the Holy Spirit and cannot be filled by anything else.
John, one of the original 12 disciples, proclaims, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). In other words, Jesus in us is greater than anything the enemy, Satan, can put around us. Because of this, Christians have overcome the world of demons.