Focus on the Family

Prayer and the Spiritual Battle

Some might scoff at the mention of a spiritual battle, but the Bible makes it clear that Christians have a very real enemy.

by Dean Ridings

Anyone who seeks to have a vital relationship with God through prayer — ever growing toward greater intimacy with the Father through the finished work of the Son, Jesus — is a prime target for satanic salvos.

The Bible says that there is an enemy who is bent on destruction and will do whatever it takes to leave us discouraged, doubting and defeated Christians. In our "scientific" society where nothing you can't see, feel, touch, taste or smell seems real, some scoff at the mention of a spiritual battle. The Bible, however, makes it clear: We have an "enemy the devil [who] prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

But Jesus promises that His followers can both survive and thrive through the battle: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).

Satan Has a Terrible Plan

To get an idea of the activities of the Devil and his fallen-angel followers, just look at the names for them throughout Scripture. Among many descriptive titles, the Devil is called the wicked one, adversary, father of lies. Fallen angels are called evil spirits, demons, unclean spirits. Together, their expressed activities include:

• Tempting (Matthew 4:1)
• Lying (John 8:44)
• Accusing (Zechariah 3:1)
• Corrupting (2 Peter 2:10-12)
• Deceiving (1 Timothy 4:1)

We must realize, however, that God limits the activities of Satan and his demons. Jesus' death on the cross sealed the judgment of demonic forces: "When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him" (Colossians 2:15; also see John 16:11;19:30; Hebrews 2:14).

Because of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, someone has said that Satan is like a bee without a stinger. Jesus took hold of the bee and was "stung." Now the bee does a lot of buzzing and annoying, but he has no stinger (see Romans 6:23).

It's been said that the Devil and his demons are like collared dogs, with leashes that extend only as far as God determines (see Job 1:9-12; Luke 22:31). In His perfect wisdom, God allows their activities, but He's always working above and beyond them (see Genesis 50:20-21; Romans 8:28-29; Jesus' crucifixion — and its results — is the ultimate example).

Yet the Enemy and his followers are in denial, for they still think victory is within their grasps. They continue to do whatever they can to affect people — made in the image of God and with the potential of glorifying and being glorified by Him.

Though the ultimate war has been won, we are engaged in a daily battle against the prince of this world. We are clearly warned in God's Word of the damage that can be inflicted by the kingdom of darkness. The Enemy schemes against us, throws flaming missiles at us, seeks to devour us, and wages direct warfare upon us (2 Corinthians 2:10-11; Ephesians 6:11-12,16; 1 Peter 5:8) As a result, we are to arm ourselves, stand against, refute, resist and overcome (Ephesians 6:12-18; Isaiah 54:7; James 4:7; Revelation 12:11). Everything we need to successfully do battle was appropriated on the Cross. We simply need to appropriate it.