By Dr. Roger Barrier, Crosswalk.com
I believe I’m in a spiritual battle right now. What are some things that I need to keep in mind when I’m fighting Satan?
God’s Word tells us that as His children, we will encounter the evil one—that we are fighting a spiritual battle. As a long-time warrior, I’d be glad to share with you a list of key truths to keep in mind when you’re fighting against Satan. My hope is that you’ll find them helpful and encouraging in your struggle:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
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1. Demons Really Exist!
Jesus, Paul, and Peter certainly said they did. In their hearts and minds, they fought numerous spiritual battles over temptations and trials:
For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
Did you know that \the demons that Jesus battled in the first century are still around today?
The manifestations and infiltrations like the ones encountered by Jesus, Peter, and Paul occur often in Third World countries. Ask some of your missionary friends for verification.
But you might ask, why don’t we see that sort of activity in America?
The answer is twofold. First, most satanic work is hidden. Second, Satan does not need to bring out his big guns for America, he has us drowning in materialism.
2. Deception Is Satan’s Fundamental Tool for Attacking Christians. Beware!
Think about it. Before the Fall, Eve was perfect.
Fortunately, we have a good chance. God gives us the tools we need to avoid being swallowed up in deception.
First, when we are preparing for an action, we can check that our intended behaviors line up with the truths of Scripture. Next, God can speak to us in prayer as we seek His guidance. Finally, Solomon tells us that there is much wisdom with many counselors. Seek out the advice of godly people in order to ascertain that you are not being deceived.
3. Recognize That There Are Three Classes of Christians
It’s important to know your “class” when you’re fighting Satan.
Class 1: Unsurrendered – Deceived
These Christians have yet to fully surrender their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. However, they still think that everything spiritual comes from God.
Class 2: Surrendered – Deceived
These Christians have surrendered their lives fully to Christ, but they still think that everything spiritual comes from God.
Class 3: Surrendered – Undeceived
These Christians have fully surrendered their lives to Christ, and they understand that not everything spiritual comes from God.
4. Can a Christian Be Possessed? Can a Christian Be Oppressed? The Answer Is Both Yes and No
Let’s get our terms straight.
The terms “demonic oppression” and “demonic possession” are not in the Bible. The term used to describe demonic battles is the Greek word “demonized.”
“Demonized” means that every area of our lives not “filled” with the Holy Spirit is open to attack by demonic spirits.
That’s why Paul constantly encouraged Christians to be on guard against Satan and his demons. We Christians can be attacked and defeated if we are not careful (see 1 Peter 5:8; John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18).
They will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)
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).
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5. Spiritual Young Men and Women Have Overcome the “Evil One” (1 John 2:12, 14)
There are several levels of spiritual maturity. “Young men and women” is the middle range of spiritual maturity, between children and mothers and fathers. One of the characteristics of this level is the ability to overcome the evil one.
“Overcoming the evil one” has several dimensions. First, it means that we are no longer deceived by his attacks. We can see them for what they are. Next, we are able to fight against Satan in overt demonic manifestations.
I was in the process of counseling an elderly grandmother who had been involved in demonic spiritism. Others taught her how to pray to receive a “spirit guide.” She had experienced an “out of body” experience and was terrified. She wanted help.
I was not quite certain what to do. I was still a spiritual child at the time, and I had yet to learn how to overcome the evil one in a battle like this.
“They are going to kill me,” she repeated again and again.
“Who are ‘they’,” I asked.
“The spirits,” she replied.
Finally, I got her settled down and prayed for any demonic spirit attacking her to be bound and unable to touch or hurt her. That’s the best prayer that I knew to pray. She left.
The next morning her daughter called to tell me that the woman had slipped in the bathtub, hit her head on the spigot, and died.
I performed her funeral three days later.
If you know Jesus as your Savior, you are protected. You will never engage in a spiritual battle like that. But the spiritual world is real. You will encounter people who are experiencing demonic oppression, and as you grow in your faith, you will have the opportunity to help.
Long-term discipleship is the best way to help someone demonized in a particular area of their life. And remember, every demonic attack is a prayer project.
6. What Does it Mean to Be “Taken Captive” By the Enemy?
Pray… that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)
When Christians are involved in sin, illicit behaviors, or backsliding away from Christ, they are behind the lines and in Satan’s territory. These Christians are ripe for taking. Satan can enslave, confuse, and trap them in all kinds of horrific situations and activities. They become useless for the kingdom of God.
Do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27)
7. The Battle Is Over Who Will Control Our Minds
Paul tells us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
God wants us to be in control of our minds, growing in our relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit wants us to be free, so that we might respond positively to his guidance and to enjoy the “abundant life” that He promised in John 10:10.
The Holy Spirit may guide and lead, but He will never take control. It’s up to us to open our hearts and minds to Him.
Satan, however, is delighted to take control of our thought life. Spiritual warfare is all about having freedom in Jesus Christ so that we can choose God’s way. Satan’s attack strategies and tactics are designed to take control of our thought life in order to do his dastardly work in and through us.
8. Stay Away from Doors Leading into the Occult
Paul mentioned a number of these entry points, like dabbling in occult practices like Ouija boards and spiritism, personal invitation, perpetual sin, drugs and alcohol, transference from one person to another, and believing lies.
God delineates a litany of occult practices in Deuteronomy 18:9-12;
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.
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9. Submit to God; Resist the Devil, and He Will Flee from You (James 4:7)
If we are struggling with a particular sin, “submitting to God” is the basic tool that He uses to set us free. First, we confess our sins and repent. If we find freedom, then we know that this sin was a sin of the flesh.
But, if we have submitted our lives to Christ as Lord and Savior and still find little or no freedom from this particular sin, we know that we are struggling with a “sin of the spirit,” and we need spiritual warfare to find freedom.
Then, we put the third part of the verse into play. We rebuke the devil and his lies, and then we demand that he leave us because of the power of Jesus Christ who lives within us.
10. Put on Your Spiritual Armor Daily (Ephesians 6:13-17)
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.
I try not to leave the house spiritually naked. I pray that each of these seven things might be a significant part of my life that day.
Finally, Peter, let me encourage you that sharing your personal testimony of receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior is absolutely critical. You and I have been called to help open the eyes of lost people who have been blinded by Satan; “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:14).
I hope this helps. May God grant you spiritual power as you overcome the evil one.
For further study, please read:
A complete curriculum is available by Dr. Jerry Wilkinson on this topic in conjunction with my spiritual warfare sermons: