This is concluding post to our series on spiritual warfare.
Spiritual warfare should concern the life of every true believer because every true believer is in engaged in this war. To deny this reality or to ignore this truth sets one up for tragic consequences. As believers we must be mindful that Satan and demons exist and they are out to harm Christians. However, this should be no cause for worry to the faithful believer because God has provided detailed intelligence of the enemies’ plans, and his given us his own armor and weapons. More than that, God promises to fight to battle for us, having secured ultimate victory at the cross.
There are a number of areas where understanding spiritual warfare translates into some practical steps and applications to a believer’s life.
1. Believers need to be cautious but not anxious about demonic powers. In my years as a believer, I have experienced the anxiety of believers who think (a) that they are possessed, (b) that they are under siege by demons, and (c) that demonic powers are to blame for all their sin. True believers have both God’s armor and his weapons of warfare. No true Christian can be terrorized by a demon if they put on their armor. The failure of some Christians to overcome demonic influence can only be attributed to not being prepared. They put down the armor as it were and open themselves up to sin. Another thing they do is to ignore the weapons of war. Using God’s word and prayer are both key to this battle.
2. Believers need to know how to use the weapons of warfare. As noted above, we should not go demon hunting by using the weapons God provides, since he is the one who is active in battle. Instead, a simple yielding of oneself to God’s Spirit, prayer and the use of God’s word are required. God is the warrior who fights on the saint’s behalf.
3. Believers are called to stand firm. Focusing on the offensive or retreating into a corner because of fear fails to meet the biblical expectation. Scripture exhorts believers to ‘stand firm’ ready for battle. Speaking of Ephesians 6, David Powlison explains,
Though the classic mode of spiritual warfare portrayed in this passage we learn how to “stand” and wage successful warfare. The enemy lies at our feet defeated. When we live by faith and love we stand on the battlefield. This does not mean, however, that a Christian is invulnerable or insulated to dark persuasions. If that were true, Scripture would not need to warn us of the nature of our battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We are to be faithful even in the midst of a viscous attack. However, when we stand firm using the resources provided for us, victory is assured. The Apostle Paul summed it up well, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
As far as prayer being key to this battle, see James E. Rosscup, “The Importance of Prayer in Ephesians,” MSJ 6, No.1 (Spring 1995): 57-74.
David Powlison, Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), 114.