efore Jesus did any miracles. Before He healed anyone from any disease. Before He brought deliverance to the oppressed and the faint-hearted. Before He fed the multitudes with some bread and fish. Before Jesus started his earthly ministry, He came face to face with Satan and embarked into a battle of spiritual warfare.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)
The Reality of Spiritual Warfare
The reality of Jesus being tempted by the devil before he started his ministry should be an alarm for every believer. If you are following Jesus, you are engaged in spiritual warfare, whether you believe it or not.
For many Christians, the subject of spiritual warfare (or any other evil in the heavens scenario) is way too far out there for them to think about. For others, it is a subject that they educate themselves to fill their daily obsession. I believe both are a mistake. I think understanding the subject is only healthy when the purpose of your study is to become more like the man who hung between two criminals.
I once was having lunch with a friend and the subject of the spiritual realm came up. My friend grew up in the church but had no radar for the supernatural. I never really put much thought into it as this person was truly a friend of mine. When the subject came up in natural conversation, I will never forget what he told me with a smirk on his face.
“If you are telling me that there are angels and demons in this place? Then no, I don’t believe that at all!”
When he said the words, something deep inside of me began to deeply move. I was dumbfounded, not at the words he just said but that he, a Christian, was so uneducated in Scripture. I thought to myself, “how could he not believe in the spiritual realm when it is apart of scripture.” The first scripture that came to my mind was Ephesians 6:12.
“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.
The Battle Between The Natural Realm and The Spiritual
In this Scripture, Paul states that the battle is not against flesh and blood but spiritual forces of evil. What Paul is describing here is the battle between the natural realm and the spiritual realm. The natural realm is the realm of our natural senses. What we can see, touch, hear, smell and taste. The spiritual realm is the reality of faith. What we cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch. It requires faith because it is something invisible to our natural eye. Therefore, when we engage in spiritual warfare, we cannot fight it with the things that appeal to our natural man, but the things in which engage in the spirit.
Paul gives us insight into how we rage war between spiritual forces in the next verses of Ephesians 6:10 - 17.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..”
Paul reveals to us that the war in spiritual warfare can be won by simply putting on the armor of God. He outlines the role of each piece of armor in waging war against the enemy. As many commentators have noticed over the years, each piece of armor can be used as a defensive tactic against the enemy, besides the sword of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God and it is the only offensive weapon we need against the enemy. This is the very same weapon that Jesus used against the devil in Matthew 4 when he was tempted by him for forty days and forty nights.
The Weapon of God's Word
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
When Jesus was engaged in spiritual warfare, what was the primary tool he used to defeat the devil? The Word of God. As Paul notes, the Word of God a sword in the spiritual realm and is a vital resource in destroying demonic yokes. Jesus used the Word of God to separate himself from the power of the enemy, and ultimately as a weapon for the devil's destruction.
Now, let me ask you a question. If the word of God has no power, why did Jesus quote it? Jesus could of used any resource on heaven and earth to defeat the devil, and yet he chose Scripture. Why? Because the Word of God is the single greatest weapon against the enemy.
Jesus used the word of God as a weapon against spiritual warfare, and yet, most of us treat it as a motivational tool. Sure, the Bible is highly quoted and is a great resource to motivate one into mental health, but that’s the main reason it was written. It was written so that we would not be controlled by the devil. It was written so that we would live a life of freedom and not bondage. It was written so that the power of the enemy would become nullified to the power of God.
When we are following Jesus, we must understand that we are engaged in spiritual warfare against the devil. To walk in freedom, we must fight with the correction weapon, the Word of God.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Paul states that the weapons in the spiritual are not born of the flesh. Jesus understood this the best. When he was engaged in spiritual warfare, he won the spiritual battle by the Word of God. Like Jesus, when we are faced with temptation from the devil, we must engage with the Word of God. The word of God is the greatest resource that we have on the planet. It is greater than any medicine or any other natural resource.
Winning The Spiritual Battle
In Christian life, you will engage in spiritual battles rather you know it or not. The battle has already been won between you and the devil, but the enemy does his best to convince you that it isn’t true. Like Jesus, in defeating satan, stand on the Word of God.
When you are faced with anxiety, fear, control issues, unforgiveness, pornography addiction, substance addiction, or any other form of bondage, you must understand that the battle can only be fought through the Word of God. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have access to resurrection power (see Colossians 3) Here are some encouraging scripture that will bring freedom into your life. Use these scriptures as a means for Bible study. If you would like to learn more scriptures that will equip you for spiritual warfare, read this post.
Hebrews 4:12 - “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Ephesians 6:16 - “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”
1 John 4:4 - "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”
Isaiah 54:17 - “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed”
Luke 10:19 - “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
Books on Spiritual Warfare:
The Bait of Satan by John Bevere
Victory in Spiritual Warfare
Blog Articles on Spiritual Warfare: