How to Do Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual warfare is an ever-constant battle of good versus evil, God versus Satan. Since it takes place in the spiritual realm rather than the physical realm, it can be easy to ignore, but the outcome of each fight can have eternal consequences. To do spiritual warfare, you must understand the nature of the battle, the weapons and defensive tools you have available to you, and the types of attacks you can expect to face.
Understanding the Battle
Shift your focus to the spiritual realm.As the term suggests, spiritual warfare occurs primarily in the spiritual realm. It may have repercussions in the physical realm, but if you don't address a problem at its spiritual root, you won't be able to combat it effectively.
- In Ephesians 6:12, the Apostle Paul explains, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."This verse defines spiritual warfare as warfare against powers that are not “of the flesh,” meaning powers that are not physical or tangible in nature.
- Since the spiritual and physical realms are connected, things that happen in the physical realm can have spiritual consequences and vice versa. Obedience to God in your earthly life, for instance, strengthens your spirit. Violating God's law in your earthly life will also weaken your spirit. As James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." You have to first submit to God in order to resist the devil.
Rely on God's power.Only by God's power can you hope to win against the enemy. Relying on God's power requires you to accept the salvation offered to you by Christ. You must also understand that each victory belongs to God.
- When you rebuke the devil, you must do so in Jesus' name while relying on God's authority over evil. Even the archangel Michael says "The Lord rebuke you" when fighting with the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 9). If even angels must rely on the name of God to rebuke evil, it is little wonder that the Christian must rely on the name and power of Christ to do so.
- It is also important to understand that the name of Christ alone does not do the work. It is your relationship with Christ as a Christian that you must lean on.
- Acts 19:13-16 describes the story of the seven sons of Sceva, who used the name of Jesus to drive out evil spirits without having a solid relationship with Christ. One day, an evil spirit fought back and overpowered them because they placed their faith in the wrong aspect of the process. They simply used the name of Jesus, but they did not really know Jesus.
Cast down any proud thoughts.You have the power to do battle within the greater spiritual war, but this power is granted to you through Christ. If you begin taking pride in that power as though it were your own, you need to cast that pride aside before continuing. Satan might be able to use the sin of pride against you in spiritual warfare.
- To truly submit to God, you need to be humble. It is impossible to truly submit yourself to the might and will of another if some part of you believes that your own power can possibly be equal. If two powers are comparable or similar, then you hold neither one as absolute over the other.
- You must fully rely on the power of God to do spiritual warfare. Let go of any pride you have concerning your own power. As the Bible says, "Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Demonstrate obedience and self-control.Doing spiritual warfare requires you to remain obedient to God in all things. Oftentimes, you must exercise great self-control in order to achieve such a level of obedience.
- The Apostle Paul instructs believers to "be strong in the Lord" (Ephesians 6:10). It is important to note that the term is "in," not "by." It is not enough to rely on God's power to win your spiritual battles for you. Instead, you must be in fellowship with Christ, fighting alongside God in the battles you face.To do this, obedience and self-control are necessary.
- You must be obedient to God by following God's commands and by resisting or ridding yourself of any force that would influence you to do otherwise.
- Self-control requires you to rid yourself of any excess. You need to balance yourself spiritually by resisting the urge to indulge in things that are wicked or in excessive amounts that can cause spiritual decay.
Remain alert.1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Know that an attack may come when you least expect it. You must remain aware of the spiritual battleground, and you must also continually guard yourself against potential attacks.
- Treat the battle seriously. The enemy is always ready to attack, so you must always be ready to defend yourself.
- When you wake up each morning, take the time to prepare yourself spiritually through prayer and meditation. Ask God for His help each day. A good prayer to pray is "God I can't do this, but you can."
Putting on the Full Armor of God
Know what the “armor of God” is.The "armor of God" refers to a set of metaphorical spiritual armor that Christians should wear at all times to protect themselves against Satan.
- The whole armor of God is described in Ephesians, 6:10-18.
- The passage instructs you to "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). In essence, arming yourself with the protection and weapons offered to you by your faith in Christ, will allow you to stand strong and hold out against evil attacks of a spiritual nature.
Wear the belt of truth.Ephesians 6:14 states, "Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth."
- The opposite of the truth is a lie, and Satan is often referred to as the "father of lies." Arming yourself with the "belt of truth" means protecting yourself from the evils of deception by clinging to the truth. In the Bible, Jesus refuted Satan's temptations in the wilderness with truths from Scripture. You can also do this; quote Scripture to refute the lies of Satan.
- To cling to the truth, you must seek the truth in all things and speak the truth to all people, including yourself. Don't let yourself be deceived about anything.
Put on the breastplate of righteousness.The second part of Ephesians 6:14 refers to the "breastplate of righteousness."
- "Righteousness" refers to the absolute righteousness of Christ, not the halfhearted and fallible righteousness of mankind.
- Through your faith, you must rely on the righteousness of Christ to protect your heart against spiritual attacks just as a physical breastplate would protect your heart in a physical battle. If Satan tries to tell you that you aren't righteous, quote Romans 3:22, "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."
Slip on the sandals of the gospel of peace.Ephesians 6:15 instructs believers to "shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace."
- The "gospel of peace" refers to the gospel or good news of salvation.
- Preparing your feet with the gospel of peace suggests that you will need to take this gospel as you travel into enemy territory. By stepping forward with this gospel, your soul is protected with each step. As Scripture says, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you." This includes spiritual protection from Satan.
Grab the shield of faith.You are also instructed in Ephesians 6:16 that, above all, you should take "the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."
- Faith is an absolute essential to have when engaging in spiritual warfare. Like a shield, faith can protect you against otherwise piercing attacks launched by the enemy. When Satan tries to tell you lies about God, remember to keep your faith that God is good, and that He has good plans for you etc.
Don yourself with the helmet of salvation.As Ephesians 6:17 states, "take the helmet of salvation."
- The salvation spoken of in this passage refers to the spiritual salvation Christ offers through His death and resurrection.
- A helmet of salvation can be interpreted as the knowledge of spiritual salvation. Just as a physical helmet protects the brain, the helmet of salvation protects the mind from spiritual attacks and false claims that would turn your mind away from God.
Wield the sword of the Spirit.The second half of Ephesians 6:18 instructs you to take "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
- The sword of the Spirit is directly described in the passage as the Word of God, or the Bible.
- To yield the sword of the Spirit, you need to have an understanding of the Bible. Your knowledge of scriptures can then be used as a rebuttal to spiritual attacks. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
Pray in the Spirit.The verses regarding the whole armor of God finish with Ephesians 6:18, which states that you should be "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints."
- In choosing these words to wrap up the passage on the armor of God, the Apostle Paul highlights the importance of relying on God for spiritual strength through the practice of steady and ongoing prayer. The Bible tells us to "pray without ceasing." Continually pray over every situation in your life for God's protection and help.
- The armor of God is a set of tools and protection that God grants believers, but it is the power of God that the believer must ultimately rely on.
Fighting Against the Enemy's Weapons
Prepare for both offensive and defensive warfare.Offensive warfare requires you to actively tear down enemy strongholds previously built in your mind. Defensive warfare requires you to guard yourself against future attacks.
- An enemy stronghold is a lie that has already been built inside your mind. It gains strength by deception and accusation, and it may make it harder for you to resist the power of temptation or to see through Satan's lies.
- These strongholds have a tendency to become stronger or louder when you are alone, which means you need to actively work at tearing them down using the spiritual weapons God has granted you. As these strongholds lessen, it will also become easier to guard yourself against future attacks.
Fight against deception.The enemy uses deception to trick you into believing something untrue so that you will fall into error and sin.
- A notable example of this would be when Satan deceived Eve into believing that no harm would come to her if she ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
- In reference to the armor of God, you actively rely upon the belt of truth and the sword of the Spirit when you battle against deception. The belt of truth is your defense against deception, while the sword of the Spirit allows you to fight against deception.
- In simpler terms, fighting against deception requires you to understand truth. To understand truth, you need a thorough understanding of Scripture.
Battle temptation.When the enemy uses temptation, he tries to make something wicked look good and appealing in an effort to entice you towards it.
- Temptation usually follows deception. For instance, Eve was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit after being deceived into thinking that doing so would be acceptable. Something wicked can only look desirable to you once you have been tricked into thinking that it is in some way good.
- Dealing with temptation requires you to resist the devil while drawing closer to God. Both elements are necessary, and both naturally go hand-in-hand as you put them into practice.
- Draw near to God through prayer, Bible study, obedience, and worship. As you draw closer to God, you will turn away from evil and temptation will have less power over you.
Deal with accusations.The enemy will accuse the believer using past faults and sins in an effort to weigh that individual down with shame and hopelessness. The Bible refers to Satan as "the accuser of the brethren" so he will even try accusing you to yourself. Remind yourself always of the verse, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
- With regards to the armor of God, one of your best defenses against accusation is the shield of faith. When the enemy fires an attack against you using your past failures as ammunition, you must guard your entire self against the attack by relying on your faith in Christ.
- You can also use the breastplate of Christ's righteousness to guard your heart and the helmet of salvation to guard your mind against such attacks.
QuestionDo I need to learn to parry to do spiritual warfare?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSpiritual warfare doesn't involve physical battle with physical beings. Warring spiritually typically happens through prayer.Thanks!
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Video: Spiritual Warfare - Casting Down Strongholds - The Armor of God - Two Invisible Spiritual Kingdoms
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