I don't really think that years ago I bought into the concept of spiritual warfare.
I do now.
Pat Benatar says, "Love is a battlefield." I don't know about that, but I do know our mind is a battlefield. Recently I wrote a post about how Satan attacks us there. He puts doubts in our mind. Am I really saved? Could I really be forgiven for that big sin? Does He really answer my prayers? Is He really with me through this mess? Click on this link to read it. Do You Have Doubts?
We know Satan is a murderer - he murders our dreams and our relationships and our hope. We know he lies to us and is the father of all lies - I am alone... I am worthless... no one loves me... These thoughts are not from God. In His Word God has told us He loves us, we are important to him, He will never forsake us, He has a plan and a purpose for us.
Beware! We are in spiritual warfare with Satan and his demons.
I re-read Tramp for the Lord which is a sequel to Corrie ten Boom's book, The Hiding Place. Both are great books to read and I highly recommend them. The Hiding Place is about Corrie ten Boom's family in Holland helping and hiding Jewish people during World War II. They get caught and Corrie and her sister are sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp about 60 miles north of Berlin. Ravensbrück was a brutal concentration camp for women and children. 96,000 women and children were murdered at Ravensbrück. Wrap your head around that number. Corrie survived and afterwards went back to Germany to minister to the German people and traveled the world to more than 60 countries sharing the message that forgiveness is possible and that God is with you in the deepest darkest pit. God will not forsake or abandon you.
So what does this have to do with spiritual warfare? When I first read Tramp for the Lord, I don't think I had read the whole Bible. I didn't know how much the Bible talks about spiritual warfare. I wasn't sure I believed in spiritual warfare. Not completely anyways. I'm not sure how much I had really thought about it though. So some of what is written in Tramp for the Lord made me uncomfortable the first time I read it. It made me squirm.
I worked in a Christian bookstore years ago and the bookstore had a charismatic section. In this section it had books about spiritual warfare. I stayed away from them. I still do to be honest. I encountered many Christian customers who would talk about spiritual warfare and I would be silent. While I believed in spiritual warfare, I would try to fight it by not reading about it or thinking about it, but by staying in God's Word and focusing on Him. Anyways, later I was helping the owner of the book store stock a new store. A missionary from Africa was stocking books with me and I came across one of these spiritual warfare type books and I told him I avoid them. He wanted to know why. He told me African Christians are very aware of the spiritual battle going on. They talk about it and encourage each other to fight - to stand firm in their faith. Our conversation made me think perhaps I'm being an ostrich with her head in the sand.
Those of you reading this right now who think I'm a "crazy" - talking about spiritual warfare and believing in it - need to open your Bible and read about it. There are many verses and passages on this. [Ephesians 6:10-18/ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5/ 1 Peter 5:8-9/ Luke 10:19/ 2 Thessalonians 3:3/ 1 Timothy 6:12/ James 4:7/ 1 John 3:8/...] Revelation is all about the great battle at the end. Satan and demons are real beings, just as Jesus is with His army of angels and saints. Someday there will be a mighty battle - good against evil and we know that in the end, good wins. God wins. Amen (so be it.)
Here is what I was reading in Tramp for the Lord.
In chapter 10 Authority Over Demons Corrie had been traveling through Eastern Europe. This was back when the countries were communist. The Communists were strict about who could speak at churches, but they permitted this old Dutch woman. She spoke several nights and just got blank stares back. Back at her room one night God revealed to her they were kept in bondage by demons. God commanded her to cast out the demons in His name.
Mark 16:17 Jesus is talking here. "... in My name they will cast out demons,..."
The next night she was speaking and again, not reaching the people. She stopped her talk and trembling she said, "In the Name of Jesus I command all dark powers keeping people from the blessings of God to disappear. Go away! Get out of the hearts of these people. Get out of this church. Go to the place where God sends you." And then she prayed, "Lord, will You now protect us with Your precious blood. Amen." And a miracle occurred. The people came alive and began to rejoice!
(I know. I know. Some of you are skeptical. I was the first time I read it years ago.)
Later Corrie and her assistant were staying in Poland (at this time an Iron Curtain country) and the longer they stayed they became more exhausted. They felt a heaviness. When they told their friend about it, he told them, "Your tiredness is nothing less than an attack of the devil. He does not like your work in Poland, for the antichrist is busy here, arranging his army." Their friend read Scripture to them and prayed over them - rebuking the dark powers in the name of Jesus. They immediately felt relief.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
And here is the kicker from the end of chapter 10 of Tramp for the Lord:
God had taught us a valuable lesson that we would remember in many other areas of the world. We learned that in a country where a godless philosophy reigns, that only by claiming the blood of Jesus can you stand and not fall. The same is true in a city, or school, or even a church building. If Jesus Christ is not recognized as Supreme, then darkness rules.
Since then we have traveled in many countries and felt this same tiredness coming over us. Often I have felt it in American cities. Now I know it simply means that I am in a place where Satan rules. But praise the Lord! I can be an overcomer when I stand in the power of the blood of the Lamb.
C. S. Lewis said in 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 unhealthy interest in them! They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and they hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight."
Friend, believe in their existence, but don't toy with them.
Before I was unsure I believed in spiritual warfare. I believe in it now. I am trying not to be an ostrich with my head in the sand. I am trying to recognize when the devil and his army is attacking. And I'm claiming victory in the blood of Jesus.
Image from Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines,
copyright 2005, Rose Publishing, Inc., page 104
Are you going through a spiritual battle right now?
Put on your Full Armor of God - The Belt of Truth, The Breastplate of Righteousness, The Gospel of Peace, The Shield of Faith, The Helmut of Salvation, The Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God).