So, in case you didn’t know, I am just going to come out and say it: I believe in spiritual warfare.
Now I realize that by saying that I might have just inadvertently triggered about a million thoughts and feelings for some of you.
And, I realize that talking about spiritual warfare isn’t exactly popular. Conversations about it can get weird quick. Weird and superstitious.
But I think it is worth risking a little weirdness in order to break the Church’s collective scared silence on the subject.
Why? Because the Bible makes it pretty clear that we have an enemy; an adversary who prowls around like a fearsome lion looking for opportunities to pounce on us (1 Peter 5:8).
If we take the Bible seriously, then we have to come to terms with the fact that it depicts a world full of spiritual conflict. And, our savior, Jesus, Prince of Peace though that he is, came to bring a sword (Matthew 10:34). He came to equip us to face the conflict.
Our world is at war. We were born into a battlefield and our lives bear the scars.
Yet, much of the combat we face happens without notice. Many battles take place and we don’t even realize it. Sadly, we lose simply by being caught unaware.
Our awareness of what spiritual warfare really looks like matters immensely. For how are we to fight a threat that we fail to notice?
Now, to be honest, I have had a few crazy experiences with spiritual warfare. One happened years ago when I used to work in a psychiatric unit. I was with a patient who I had never met before. Then suddenly her body contorted in this unnatural way, she snapped her neck to the side and spoke in a husky, creepy, demonic male voice. She said “You’re a Berean. You go to Lincoln Berean church!” Then she quickly snapped her body back to normal and lay down flat, like she had passed out.
Personally, I don’t think I have ever come so close to soiling myself as I did that day. The way she moved, the demonic voice that came out (which clearly wasn’t her normal voice), the fact that the demon voice knew which church I was a member of, all of that was just a little too… intense.
Now, events like that are pretty infrequent and most of us don’t usually encounter the unseen realm like I did with a demonic voice speaking out of the mouth of someone else.
Instead, most warfare that we experience comes from hearing demonic “voices” speaking inside our own heads, but with us failing to notice.
I think there is a lot of truth in the old caricature of having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Both Heaven and Hell are speaking to us. But have we paid enough attention to be able to discern the difference between their “voices”?
Often the “voices” that we hear inside our thoughts pass by without us giving any thought to where they might come from. Most of those thoughts don’t necessarily sound demonic.
But, if you are completely honest, how would you describe the mental dialogue that goes on inside your mind on a daily basis?
Are the thoughts you think about yourself heavenly uplifting or hellishly diminishing?
Would you describe your own self-talk as being kind, loving and affirming? I think that few Christians would.
Most of us struggle with fending off thoughts that tell us “You are not good enough,” “You could never do that,” “It’s hopeless, why bother,” and a thousand other variations of ungodly limiting beliefs.
We entertain thoughts all the time that tell us that our choices are wrong, our bodies are wrong, and that the people in our lives would reject us if they really knew what we were like deep down.
Generally, the things we think about ourselves are so harsh that we would never say them about someone else. Furthermore, they are not the kind of things that God would say about us.
So, if these kinds of negative, demeaning, limiting thoughts don’t come from God, and they don’t help us actually live good and godly lives, then why do we want to listen to them?
Here is what I am proposing: let’s make it a habit to pay attention to the thoughts that we think. Then let’s ask ourselves if these thoughts are ones that we want to agree with or reject.
Spiritual warfare plants its seeds in the lies and half-truths that we agree with. We need to intentionally take our thoughts captive and root out the ones that would keep us in bondage.
Our agreements with those thoughts give them power. Yet, Jesus promised that we would know the truth, and the truth will set us free (John 8:32). When we confess the truth of what God says and repent of listening to the lies evil whispers, we find freedom in our own minds.
Spiritual warfare hits close to home and the biggest battles you will ever face will likely happen within your own mind.
So, suit up and take your stand. It’s time to own your own headspace!
If you are interested in hearing more on this subject, you can listen to a recording of a presentation I recently did titled “Spiritual Warfare: War Stories.” My aim was to talk about Spiritual Warfare in a way that would help normalize it and take away some of the taboo and stigma surrounding the subject.
I think the material is solid, but I will be honest with you, I am a little green when it comes to public speaking. So, please bear with me as I grow in this area. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it. Blessings!