Spiritual Warfare: What We Really Face on the Battlefield
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
Most people believe that spirits, demons and other such supernatural phenomena are just the products of people’s imaginations. That they are make-believe. Fairy-tales. Not real. But this belief is so far from the truth it’s not funny. There are many instances throughout Scripture that paint a terrible picture of what the spiritual realm contains, and demonstrate a very grim reality for those that meddle with such entities. There are many unfortunate people in Scripture that are tormented by spirits, both innocent and unrighteous (by this I mean people like King Saul, who so displeased the LORD that He sent a distressing spirit to punish him for his actions (1 Samuel 16:14-23)). Admittedly, many of the instances of spirits being mentioned are contained within the New Testament, but this doesn’t impact the seriousness of the issue at all. The fact remains; spirits are neither to be trifled with nor taken lightly.
Ephesians speaks of our true enemies as being ‘principalities and powers’. A principality is a parcel of land, sometimes confined to a city’s limits, but is usually larger, that is ruled by a prince. And considering the fact that Satan is often referred to as ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2), this is a very apt description of the spirits and demons that form Satan’s hordes. If you think about it, Satan’s power on Earth is formidable, especially since the invention of the television, computer, and the Internet. Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that these things are ‘of the devil’, and that we all need to get rid of all of our electronic devices lest Satan corrupt us. What I am saying is that Satan has tremendous power over these things, and he seeks to distract us and destroy us through what we absorb through these media.
I can definitely tell you from experience, the things displayed on TV, movies and the Internet can be very alluring, and are very distracting. I’ve often found myself sitting down to do one thing, and later on finding myself on something completely unrelated and wondering how in the world I ended up on it. This is because of the spirits behind the things we see and watch. One such spirit is that of obsession. Obsessions can start off as being an occasional thing; watching a few minutes of a show, having a quick scan over a page on the internet. It can seem very innocent at first, but this is where the danger lies; most if not all obsessions start off as little more than a passing interest.
But a passing interest can quickly grow out of control. As the Lord Jesus said in Scripture, ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump’. It’s a little out of context, I admit, but I think that it still applies in this case. Leaven, or yeast in modern-day terms, is a living organism that requires very little in order to multiply, and multiply explosively. Such is the same with obsessions. I can tell you from my own struggles with this exact problem; interests become obsessions very quickly, so quickly that you don’t even know that you have a problem until someone else points it out. You can protest against it until you turn blue in the face, but the truth remains; you have an obsession, and it needs to be dealt with.
You may not think you are obsessed; in fact, in my experience, you often think that everything is fine and dandy, and it’s everyone else with the problem. But just try going without it for a while, even just for a couple of days, and you’ll quickly find out that things aren’t what you originally believed. If you try going cold turkey, especially in your own strength, you’ll quickly find that you can’t stop thinking about whatever it is you’re obsessed over, in my case fantasy/science fiction, even when you’re asleep. This is the mark of the spirit of obsession, and this is when you need to seek deliverance from the LORD. Believe you me; it will make an exponential difference to your life.
When I prayed to the LORD for deliverance from the spirit of obsession over my life, I tell you, it was like feeling a physical weight being lifted off my chest. When I was under the power of the spirit, I felt suffocated, and that feeling multiplied when I tried to stop my obsession on my own. Trust me, this is the worst possible thing you can do when trapped under the power of a spirit. But when I fell on my face before the LORD and prayed for release, the difference was like night and day; I truly felt freed from my obsession.
This is what I mean about not taking principalities and powers lightly. People might scoff and say that there are no such things as spirits or demons, but they are very wrong. Spirits and demons exist everywhere on this earth; this is their playground, after all. If you’ve ever heard people talking about run-ins with ghosts, or aliens, or any type of supernatural happenings, then you can almost always be sure that it is demonic activity. Granted, there are mysterious occurrences that have solid scientifically-based explanations, but more often than not the inexplicable usually has only one source: the demonic servants of Satan.
Case in point; aliens. If you’ve ever seen a science fiction program on TV or watched a movie that is based on aliens, take a moment to stop and actually look at the creatures that are portrayed as the non-humans. If you think about it, these creatures look like demons. Really, think about it. The Alien franchise, Predator, the V TV series, and everything else that comes out of Hollywood looking like something originating from the pits of hell, actually does come from hell. These are creatures that are purportedly from another world. The spiritual realm is another world, albeit one that we cannot view with our natural eyes. And they cannot be vanquished by a dashing rogue with a laser pistol. These entities are real, and they are dangerous. Don’t be fooled. These are creatures that you do not mess around with.
Again, granted, we need not be afraid of these terrible and destructive entities when we have the Spirit of the LORD residing within us. Is says in Isaiah 59:19 that ‘When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will raise up a standard against him.’, which means that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us whenever the hordes of the enemy seek to make our lives difficult, and will protect us against the machinations of the spirits of this world. But, this does not mean that we can simply indulge in worldly pursuits with abandon and expect to be protected from these spirits. We need to be very careful about what we allow into our hearts and minds, because, as I said, it is ridiculously easy to be overtaken by obsession and be influenced by the principalities and powers of this world, and very difficult to get out from under these influences without the power of the LORD.
Also, be aware; when praying to be released from these spirits, speak against them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray in the Spirit. There is a very clear picture in the Bible of what happens when people try to banish spirits in their own strength, something I think I can relate to. When I tried to be rid of the spirit of obsession over my own life, especially in my own strength, and I wasn’t truly praying with my whole heart for release, it didn’t work. In fact, I felt even more trapped than before; the spirit of obsession became even stronger, making me feel imprisoned by the things that I had obsessed over. Let me tell you, this is not something I would want anyone to experience. It’s not an easy thing to explain what it felt like to be shackled by this spirit, but I can definitely tell you of the sheer and joyous relief that I felt when I was finally set free by the power of the LORD.
In the Bible, specifically the Gospels and Acts, there are a couple of examples of the difference between the power of the LORD and the ‘power’ of men when it comes to spirits and spiritual warfare. Jesus was an obvious example of the Power of God compared to the powers of hell; in fact, just His presence was enough to send demons running in fear of the Judgement of the LORD and the lake of fire. They feared Him, greatly so! So much so, that even they pleaded with the LORD for mercy from judgement, because they knew what was coming for them at the end. All Jesus had to do was speak a word, and they would be sent fleeing in terror. How powerful is our Almighty LORD!
However, when certain people tried to banish spirits (Acts 19:11-20) they failed spectacularly; because they didn’t speak in the name of the LORD, nor, I believe, did they truly speak in faith. This is because they spoke to the spirit and said ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus that Paul preaches.’ They didn’t say, ‘We speak against you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ’, or something to that effect, which make me think that they didn’t truly understand what they were doing, nor did they understand the power of the name of the LORD. This is made pretty clear when the demon answers the men by saying, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’. This makes me think that these men didn’t have a true faith in the LORD; the Bible says that we are the light and salt of the world. We shine in the world because we have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, and because we have the Spirit of the LORD living within us. I don’t really think that these men had that, otherwise they wouldn’t have failed in their efforts to banish the spirits.
When I prayed in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I was released from the spirit that had held sway over my life for a long time, and I gave the glory to the LORD because of it. There is no power of hell that can withstand His magnificent Light, and I encourage you to read all you can about His power and mercy to those that cry out for release from torment. If we have true faith in the LORD, and pray to him for release from the principalities and powers of this world, we can and will be released. And this isn’t just confined to spirits over our own lives. I would also encourage you to pray for those you know that are imprisoned by obsessions and other things that have their claws deeply embedded in their lives. I can tell you from personal experience, your prayers will have an effect. Scripture tells us that ‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’ Pray effectively and fervently for those that are trapped under the power of the world, brothers and sisters; I know that your prayers will be heard, and that you will see the power of the LORD working wonders in their lives, and your own.
May the Lord keep you and bless you abundantly,