Spiritual warfare. What can I say about it that hasn’t been said before? Is it real? Absolutely!
The doldrums, the blues, Jonah days — call them whatever you want. They are dark days mentally and spiritually depressing.
Dark nights of the soul.
Like most things in life, it doesn’t come in one shape or size. Each experience is different for each person. I suppose there can be similarities, but since no two people are alike no two experiences can be exactly alike. I am not sure if what I experience is the norm in these instances or not, but this is what it feels like for me:
I feel like I am slipping into a deep dark hole drowning in darkness. It leaves me feeling hopeless and lost and lonely. And it is the loneliness that gets me the most.
I feel isolated and completely alone. All hope is gone. Which I know is not true. I know that I have ever-present hope and I have been cleansed and saved but in the midst of the darkness it feels like I have lost all hope.
It feels like I’m alone and that is how he attacks me.
He isolates me and separates me and makes me feel as if no one in the world cares about me in any way shape or form and I am a lonely island adrift in icy cold dark waters.
So is there a spiritual warfare? Yes, unequivocally yes — and the reason that no one can explain exactly what spiritual warfare is like is because it’s tailor-made for each and every one of us. The devil and his demons pick out their target and then look for the weaknesses and put together a custom plan of attack specifically for you, specifically for me.
The devil and his minions don’t stick to one plan of attack either.
Once they have done all they can with their frontal attack, then they become even more covert and spring up from the sides or come from behind. They continue with other little attacks when you’re already feeling lost and hopeless and alone.
The evil army begins to make you question things like your confidence in yourself as a professional. Or perhaps it is your dependability or worthiness as a mother or a wife or a homemaker . Maybe it is centered on your physical appearance making you wonder if anyone can take you seriously because you don’t fit into the super model mold.
Why do these attacks happen?
Not because Satan has anything against you per se, but because as soon as you make that choice to step out in faith and strive to be all that God has called you to be you have captured his undivided attention.
You see we are the front lines in our communities spreading the love and good news — Light bearers in a dark and broken world.
Satan’s issues are with God not man . He is using his attacks at us to attack God.
Our Father in Heaven is just like any earthly parent and wants to protect us. We are after all made in God’s image. He wants to keep us safe and sheltered and covered with his love.
How far do we go to protect our loved ones? Can you imagine how much farther our Father God goes to protect and care for us?
He went so far to protect and care for us that it cost him his Son!
So what can we as brothers and sisters in Christ do when faced with spiritual warfare? How do we help each other and support each other when in the midst of a great attack? In the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians, we stand firm, ready for battle, clothed in the full armor God has provided to us:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench 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.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. – Ephesians 6:10-18 (NRSV)
It has been said that we Christians have forgotten how to pray. Our prayers ask for safety. We ask God to watch over us and to watch over those we love and to keep us all safe. We pray that no harm ever come to us.
The Christians in the early church, as well as Christians in times of persecution, didn’t pray for safety. They prayed for boldness. For the ability to go forward proclaiming the goodness and saving grace of Jesus on the cross no matter what the cost.
We also need to be more diligent in wielding the sword of spirit.
The Spirit-breathed words of God.
We need to study and immerse ourselves in these words committing them to memory and storing them away in our hearts. That way when the attacks come we are at the ready with our sword to defend ourselves. Jesus himself gave us this example when he was tempted by Satan in the desert.
Perhaps the biggest enemy we have when it comes to spiritual warfare is ourselves. We have become so caught up in the concept of self-reliance in twenty-first century America that we try to take on the battles alone.
We need to embrace the examples of our ancestors and rely on our mighty and powerful God to fill us with his strength. We need to leave behind the preconceived notions that we must handle things on our own or be considered weak.
In the end we are all weak. We need to cling to and place our hope and faith in God. Only he can can equip us for the battles and only he can lead us through them. We are engaged in a battle for today, but Jesus has already won the war for eternity.
Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord lightens my darkness. By you I can crush a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect;
the promise of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all who take refuge in him. –2 Samuel 22:29-31 (NRSV)