Where is our battleground in spiritual warfare?

I’ve often heard it said that the battleground in spiritual warfare is for our minds. That’s certainly true, although I’m not convinced it’s the whole truth.

Photo Credit: micaeltattoo (Creative Commons)

Jesus tells us that our enemy is a liar (John 8:44), that he seeks to steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10). This can certainly affect our minds. For example:

  • He destroys our peace–we suffer from anxiety and fear
  • He steals our joy–we become depressed
  • We believe his lies–we suffer from low self-esteem and guilt

What gives him the opportunity to attack us in this way? I find it useful to think of five main categories of opportunity for Satan to gain a foothold in our lives, for convenience, although somewhat contrived, all beginning with an “S”:

  1. Sin–three sections here:
    • Our own sin–for example, we don’t deal with anger in a godly fashion. We can go from the occasional sin to becoming an angry person, to having anger dominate our life (Ephesians 4:26-27).
    • We have been sinned against–for example, all kinds of physical, emotional and spiritual abuse, Another example: a baby is born to an unmarried mother, As he/she gets older, she may suffer from rejection. It wasn’t her sin, but a parental sin that allowed the enemy in. When this door is closed, she can be set free.
    • The effects of sin being passed down from one generation to another. We can inherit a tendency to certain traits such as depression, alcoholism etc.
  2. “Seance”: Any contact with the occult–ouija boards, fortune tellers, illegal drugs that affect the mind and thinking
  3. Shock: A sudden surprise can give the enemy a foothold. For example, one day I returned from the store and surprised a burglar inside our house. For some time I experienced fear whenever I unlocked our front door. Natural? Yes maybe, but it disappeared when we prayed against it.
  4. Siege: It says in Daniel &:25 that Satan wears out, or oppresses the saints of the Most High. We all know what it’s like to feel under pressure for a prolonged time. Finances are tight, there’s a painful medical condition. Satan takes the opportunity to undermine in every way.
  5. Subtlety: Satan can attack our minds in ways we don’t recognize. For example, we are fascinated by a TV program we would never choose, simple because we’re too lazy to change the channel. It leaves us feeling contaminated.

Praise God, He has given us spiritual weapons to fight against Satan, and we know we are on the side of victory. We’ll cover our weapons in a future post.

But where else can this warfare take place?

  • Bill

    The way of the intercessor or prayer warrior
    is a rocky path, where you will stumble and fall to the ground onto jagged stones
    and you will get up torn and bleeding.
    Sometimes you will fall down and not get up for a long time. It is the
    way of the cross. The ways of the Lord
    are often painful, usually strange and mysterious, they are certainly not our
    ways. You will say “This is too much, I can’t take anymore,” but you
    will carry on because you are now trusting in the Lord and His power – you have
    no choice! Perhaps some people started
    out with you, but they stop after a while and leave you. It is one thing when the devil attacks you,
    but it is very hard when Christian brothers and sisters start to do it
    too. The devil does not like
    intercessors. He can attack directly or
    through others, sometimes through people in your own church or circle of
    friends. Over the last 30 years I have
    found it is usually those in leadership positions who reject what I say when I
    give my testimony.
    A little more:

    One evening I discussed with my wife a
    situation in which I believed the appalling affliction I had seen in a small
    child was caused by evil powers, and I said to her that I intended to pray
    specifically for this child. The devil
    must have been listening, because that night while asleep I was attacked by a
    black hooded figure with no face which woke me up. Next morning when we both talked about this
    very unpleasant event, the only conclusion we could come to was that we must be
    right in the middle of God’s will. That
    is not always a nice and comfortable place to be!

    One evening I discussed with my wife a
    situation in which I believed the appalling affliction I had seen in a small
    child was caused by evil powers, and I said to her that I intended to pray
    specifically for this child. The devil
    must have been listening, because that night while asleep I was attacked by a
    black hooded figure with no face which woke me up. Next morning when we both talked about this
    very unpleasant event, the only conclusion we could come to was that we must be
    right in the middle of God’s will. That
    is not always a nice and comfortable place to be!

    • Felicity Dale

      Bill, your comments remind me of a saying my husband likes to use. If you never meet the devil face to face, it may be because you’re going in the same direction. Those of us who engage in Kingdom activity do well to be aware of the spiritual realm and the battles we may face there.

    • felicitydale

      Your story reminds me of a saying my husband likes to use. “If you never come across the devil face to face, it may be because you are going in the same direction.

      You are right, intercession can be tough, but if we will press through, oh, so rewarding

  • Dori

    Where can this warfare take place?
    It takes place in the spirit realm and is manifest in the physical realm. We wrestle with spiritual demonic powers through spiritual weapons, both Jesus’ and the devils weapons and warfare are displayed in the physical. For example, a word of knowledge is spiritual, praying and sharing it or obeying it is physical. Or a demon is spiritual but what he does is seen in the physical.
    The manifestation of godly warfare produces life from the fruit of love.
    Just as in all aspects of a Christians walk, we must walk and share our spiritual battles and burdens with one another. There is nothing that applies to just one person, but all things are about the whole body. It is extremely sad and problematic that people have come to think they are lonely intecessors. That is just one of the manifestations that the body of Christ has been so dysfunctional, not joining together, and living in one anothering realizing each of us is part of each other.
    Yes, many things in prayer are secret for the sake of “love covers”, but are never manifested without the body working together.
    I strongly believe that there is such a lack of understanding about spiritual warfare because of the lack of understanding in the body receiving and giving to each other, joining together. We neglect to connect Paul’s discourse of spiritual warfare with how he

    • felicitydale

      Dori
      These are very insightful thoughts.

      In 2 Corinthians 10 it talks about these spiritual weapons being mighty to pull down strongholds of human reasoning and false arguments. As you say, we wage war with spiritual weapons in the spiritual realm, and the effects of our warfare are seen in the physical.

      The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (Matt 16). If we, the church, realized the power we have together against the enemy, we would see far more victories for the Kingdom

  • Dori

    We neglect to see Paul’s conclusion of his discourse of spiritual warfare in Ephesians which is a plead to the body to join with him in prayer.
    See my previous post which I hit the done button too fast. Ha ha!!!

  • Dori

    Amen, “the power we have together” we would see strongholds removed.
    Even intercession for a mother single person requires that you have placed yourself together with them in their need as well as together with Gods need for them.

    • felicitydale

      And it implies that you walk together with them at a practical level too. For example, babysitting for them so they can take an evening off.