What is spiritual warfare? It is many things to many people who believe in a spiritual world. Here are some categories of religious belief and my view of their perspectives on spiritual warfare.
New Agers—Combating negative energy from emotionally psychic vampires.
Calvinists—Doing nothing to battle evil because, for the elect of God, Satan has already been defeated.
Charismatics—Proclaiming “prophetic words” without attempting to engage evil.
Neo-Charismatics—Soaking in prayer to avoid actual demonic engagement.
Fundamentalists—Erecting barriers of behavior to keep the saints safe.
Megachurch ministries—Evoking pleasant platitudes to existentially ignore spiritual bondage.
Liturgical communions—Finding safety in structure as a bulwark against spiritual uncertainty.
Catholics—Thinking an extra “Hail Mary” will take care of things.
International School of Exorcism alumni–Active spiritual engagement with the devil and his demons in confrontational combat.
You can’t engage in spiritual warfare unless:
You believe that Christians can have demons. How can you fight to rid a believer of spiritual attack unless you believe that the enemy can infiltrate the camp?
You are prepared to get down and dirty with the devil. War is hell. It is combat, conflict, and bold, engagement. It can be messy and strenuous.
You are sold out and all-in. The soldiers who win wars charge without fear of defeat and no thought of retreat.
You believe in actual demons who are active everywhere, every day. Evil spirits are relentless in their efforts to torment the people of God.
You accept the importance and necessity of exorcism to rid souls of invaded evil. In most cases interrogative engagement with demons is necessary to liberate the oppressed.
Real spiritual warfare is prayer and perseverance, fasting and faith. It requires knowing the Word, recognizing spiritual authority, and directly engaging the devil with inner healing, deliverance, and exorcism. It often demands demonic manifestations to get at the root of evil. Anything less may be spiritually helpful and hopeful, but it isn’t spiritual warfare. The Warrior of Christ who engages in spiritual warfare is combat ready, armed and dangerous, and prepared for confrontation with evil, without giving quarter or flinching in battle. Spiritual warfare is prayerfully facing real demons with all their malignancy and conquering them with a bold display of God’s power that puts them to an open shame. As Colossians 2:15 says, “Having disarmed principalities and power, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
An encouraging word: THE REAL WONDER OF HIS LOVE
If King David were alive today, he’d love to see deliverance. “Show the wonder of your great love,” he said in Psalm 17:7. Every time I see the devil defeated and cast to the Pit of Hell, I see God’s love in action. Every deliverance is a “wonder.” David wanted God to show his power, His awesomeness. Too many Christians today are content to put the Almighty on display for an hour a week, carefully choreographed, and suitably respectable. But like David, I want more than that. I want to see the wonder of who the Lord is, and His love in action by setting the captives free.