Spiritual Warfare


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Those words bring up mental images of exorcism or faith healing. But spiritual warfare is not merely about demon possessions. There are also fanatics who see a bad spirit in every vice like gambling and smoking. The problem with such blame-it-on-the-devil mentality is that people tend to use that as an excuse for engaging in those vices. They make it appear that they were victims instead of admitting that they were perpetrators or co-conspirators.

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Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile of Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC decried the lack of awareness regarding spiritual warfare among Christians nowadays.
It seems to me that many (most?) theologically conservative Bible believers (which includes me) don’t think very much about spiritual warfare.  Maybe it’s because there are some wacky Christians who seem to only talk about spiritual warfare, the way some young wacky Calvinists only talk about predestination and election.  Or, maybe it’s because it all sounds a bit spooky or scary.  Or, perhaps we don’t talk about it much because we’re infected with the skepticism of modernistic and “scientific” thinking, leaving us to disdain “all that spiritual warfare stuff”?  I don’t know.  But I’m thinking that if we don’t have categories for spiritual warfare, then we’re probably losing the war in some area of our Christian lives. [1]
But make no mistake. Even with those abuses and misunderstanding, spiritual warfare is alive and kicking. Ephesians 6:12 warns us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  (ESV)

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It will not do us any good if we close our eyes as if such a warfare does not exist. Instead of denying it, we are to deal with it by learning as much as we could about it. 
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. (1 Peter 5:8-9a, The Message)
However, we need not be afraid. We are not fighting this warfare in our own strength. Ephesians 6:10 commands us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” 1 John 4:4 assures us, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Spiritual Warfare” Step

Why do you think people tend to be afraid to talk about spiritual warfare? Reflect on Ephesians 6:10-20. What did you learn about spiritual warfare from that passage? What are God’s provisions for us?

[1] Thabiti Anyabwile (6 September 2012), “Notes On Spiritual Warfare,” The Gospel Coalition, retrieved from https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/. Emphasis added.

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