Spiritual Warfare
By Nick Bibile

 Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

If you are a Christian you are a soldier for the Lord Jesus Christ, you are in a battlefield. And there is an enemy, there is a war going on. This is not a physical war, with guns and bombs but a spiritual war, it is not the war of the body but the war of the soul. This war is against the principalities of darkness of this world. We think our war fare is against men but in reality it is with invisible forces of the enemy Satan. The word principalities in Greek, arche ar-khay' means  origin. The root of the struggle is against  the demonic powers. The devil is called the prince of this world, why because, our father Adam who was created in the very image of God, fell from his uprighteousness and became a victim of the devil. If Adam remained upright then the devil cannot be the prince of this world.  We see in the story of Job, who is righteous before God, the enemy was looking to destroy Job, but he cannot do what ever he wants to the child of God without the permission of God.

The non Christian is a slave to the devil. They will prosper in materialism and wealth but still they are the slaves of the devil, they will not even believe there is a devil, and may be some may believe but if they are not truly regenerated they belong to the devil. But as for the Christian we are being set free.   "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (Joh 8:36) Christ delivered us from our sin, but we are still living in this sinful world in our flesh and we have to deal with a real enemy.  We see in Ephesians that Satan is well organized and he has legions of demons under him and his warfare is against the property of God. He is extremely intelligent and he knows our weaknesses, and he is called the tempter, he can tempt deceive people with great skill. The devil's war against the bride of Christ, he hates the purity, the holiness of the church. We see below how the demonic world tries to hinder the work of God. We see below an angel appeared to Daniel and said, " Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia." (Daniel 10:12-13) Their attack takes many forms.  Satan and his demons will are spirit beings and they use men and women as instruments to carry out their plans and programs. Just like how God uses his children as instruments. Sometimes the enemy will use a man with a Bible with great strategy to destroy the body of Christ. Apostle Paul warned the church with the following scripture,  "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (2Co 11:14) They attack God's work directly and indirectly. They are after you and your walk with God. Their desire is to break relationships, to depress you and to quench the zeal to the Lord and have a lack of  desire to serve the Lord, they will  attack you through your emotions and your circumstances. We also know that God is not taken off balance of the enemies attacks, God rules and governs everything according to his will, so that nothing happens in this world without His appointment.

There only two parties involved in the warfare, as there are only two masters. God and Satan, there are only two seeds, the seed of Satan all the unbelievers as their father is the devil, and the seed of Christ, as the believers Father is God. There are two religions, under God, there is only one religion and that is true Christianity. Then under Satan there are thousands of religions and also false Christians. There are only two roads, God's road is narrow and difficult to enter, Satan's road is wide and broad easy access. There are only two destinations, Satan and his followers will end up in hell and God's followers will end up in heaven.

The enemy that comes within the camp.

The devil is so crafty that he can even get into the our camp and dwell with us, and will use a weaker person or an unregenerate person to have conflict with us. This is very scary when we do not realize that the devil is in the church.  We know the story of Abel and Cain.
" And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him" ( Ge 4:3-8) The above scriptures shows how Satan used Cain as an instrument to destroy Abel. Jesus said, ".....He was a murderer from the beginning,..."(John 8:43) this was the first murder. The root of cause of the murder was Satan. He caused Cain to get jealous and angry, then he could not control his anger and he killed his own brother. The anger of wickedness if from the devil. The anger of a bad mouth comes from the devil, the anger of hatred comes from the devil.

We see another incident where the enemy came with in the house of God. "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman." ( Nu 12:1 ) Here we see the devil using Miriam (1.) The sister of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 2:4-10; 1 Chr. 6:3). Her name is prominent in the history of the Exodus. She is called "the prophetess" (Ex. 15:20). She took the lead in the song of triumph after the passage of the Red Sea. She was used by the devil to accuse Moses. Then we see in verse 10 what happened to Miriam, "....behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous." We know the devil is called the the accuser of our brethren.

Then we see Judas Iscariot who was an apostle, as an apostle he was used by God, knew the word, but was greedy for money. We see in the Bible Satan entered into Judas.  He was within the group of the apostles and no one ever suspected that he was a traitor. "When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." ( Joh 13:21 )    "Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake." (Joh 13:22 ) Yes, my friend there was an enemy within the camp and even the disciples could not recognize him as he did not portray as the enemy but as a friend, as a Christian brother. The disciples were looking at each other asking Jesus who is it? This enemy ate together with the disciples, fellowship together, prayed together, witnessed together and no one knew except the Lord Jesus.

Again we see how the enemy penetrated into the believers camp in the following.
 Mt 16:21  From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
 Jesus saw the origin of the problem it was not Peter but Satan. Satan was using Peter as an instrument. Here again we see how the enemy was able to use circumstances to penetrate into the camp, his timing is perfect, but this time it failed as our Lord was able to detect the enemy. Only time will tell us the enemy that came within the camp. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."(1Jo 2:19)

Instructions for the soldier.

 Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Martin Luther said, "Did we in our own strength confidence, our striving would be losing." We are absolutely  powerless when we face the enemy, there is no match, we cannot whip the enemy but he can whip us. Realize that we are feeble in our strength towards the enemy and we need to depend on the strength of the Lord.  Remember we have to fight every battle that comes on our way before we go to heaven, and it is a spiritual battle. Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord, as it is a spiritual battle we need to be strong spiritually, our relationship and walk with the Lord has to be strong, so when the enemy comes we can get assistance from our God and he will help those whom he loves. God gave Joshua the strength to overcome his enormous enemies. The instructions that God gave Joshua was,  "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Jos 1:8-9)

Thou therefore endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2 Tim. 2:3-4.
"Soldier of Christ" in a metaphorical sense, compares military warfare with the spiritual warfare of the Christian man. The soldier is submitted to the General and committed to obey his orders and will not do his will but the will of the General. An undisciplined soldier is not fit for the battle he will become a target for the enemy. Military discipline will make a strong soldier. In the same way our Captain and General is Christ Jesus. The battle belongs to him and he goes before us, and we as soldiers must obey his orders without doubting and questioning. We need to have good disciplined of prayer, fasting and studying our manual of life and get a good picture of the devil and his schemes. Good discipline will not procrastinate, will endure hardship with patience.
How many people we see every day who throw their spears away, in the battlefield they are soft soldiers and have not endurance and patience as they get into real fights with  people around them. They have anger and cannot control, they get hurt and suffer much loss. Sudden anger is very dangerous as it can cause your life. There was a man driving on the road and someone cut in front of him and the man raised his voice with filthy language, the other man had a gun and shot him to death.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
We as Christian soldiers need to weapons to combat the devil. The Lord had provided us these weapons. A good stong soldier will not only take the sword and neglect the shield. We need to be fully equipped to stand against the enemy and need to put on the whole armor of God. We do not meet the enemy only on open battlefield but also he lies in ambush with surprise attacks. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."(1Pe 5:8 )
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
In the ancient times the girdle (Belt) was one of the most important parts of the military armor. A lose belt will make all your armor lose. The belt of truth is the sincerity of the mind. This is the purity of the gospel that should be always in our mind. If we remove the purity of the gospel from our mind everything else is removed. The breastplate of righteousness is our devout holy life in the Lord. It is not only believing in the imputation of Christ's righteousness but walking daily in holiness with God.
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
If you have bad shoes, your it will affect your entire body. A good soldier will have good shoes that his feet will not injure in passing through rough ground. The only peace that we have is the gospel of Christ, that we were enemies of God before and now we are reconciled with God through the gospel of Christ. We wear our shoes in our life's journey to take the gospel out to all nations. And as our journey begins we are prepared for hindrances that comes from the enemy and prepared for war. They will come and tell us you cannot have church here, will bring all kinds of discouragement and hindrances. There is a rough road with many obstacles in ahead of us. We need to be prepared.
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
We walk not by feelings but by faith in the God's word. Our object of faith is in the word of God. The sword and the shield are compared to faith and to the word of God. In our spiritual combat these two hold the highest rank. By faith we expel all the attacks of the enemy, and by the word of God we can hurt the enemy. Satan's darts are sharp, powerful and penetrating and fiery. But the shield of faith will protect us from these powerful attacks of the enemy and will give us victory.  " For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1Jo 5:4)

 Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Our assurance of salvation is the helmet.  Our head is protected with the salvation we have obtained. The sword of God is a double edged sword, it is our offensive weapon we have against the enemy. When the enemy came to battle with our Lord in the dessert, it was a dual battle. There was no one else. It was a spiritual battle, and the Lord won the battle as he was calm, full of faith, and with much patience he used the word of God to chase the enemy away. Now it was a surprise attack  When we come to church we come prepared to hear the word of God and we bring our Bible the word of God, but in a surprise attack when you are on the road  or somewhere else you do not have your Bible all the time. Satan will always attack you on your weaknesses. Jesus was fasting for 40 days, and obviously he was hungry and he saw these stones shaped like bread, the enemy came and said,  "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." (Mt 4:3)  But he answered and said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". (Mt 4:4) We need to memorize scriptures so we will be ready to face the enemy in a surprise attack.

The Battle in preaching the gospel

Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. Phil. 1:27-28.

Paul is writing to the Phlipppian church as this time  the fires of savage persecution blazed almost everywhere, because Satan fought with all his force to prevent the inauguration of the gospel;The apostle, therefore, enjoins the Philippians to stand firm and not to be agitated. The missionaries who are in the front lines are in the battlefield against the enemy daily.  We read the remarkable stories of the missionaries who endure much hardship in taking the gospel to different nations and tribes.  "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Ac 14:22.  The early Christians were martyred for the gospel. The began to grow with the blood of the martyrs. One thing that enemy hates is witnessing and preaching the gospel. The Roman Catholics have put many early Christians to death, why they preached an uncompromised gospel.
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

We can fight the enemy with prayer. Our faith and hope is in God, and we need to call upon his name.  "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (2Co 10:4) We need to take everything to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes our prayers are hindered because of our sins, and sometimes for our benefit God takes time to answer our prayers.

 We are presented with two roads, the narrow road and the broad road. The narrow road is very difficult to enter, and much difficult to travel as there will be much hardship and sorrow to the flesh, on the other hand there is the broad road of life, where I will please what ever my flesh wants to do, I will do what my desires are and will go according to my feelings. This road I will enjoy my flesh in parties, movies, TV, drinking, dancing, Hollywood, Las Vegas, will copy the heroes of the movie stars, sports stars. Will work hard and ambition to buy what all I can enjoy life on earth before death. This road leads to hell.  The narrow road of self denial, trial and tribulations will lead to heaven. There is a warfare as the devil will tempt the Christian in every direction to follow the crowds and invite to enter the broad road.  The strong Christian realize this world is passing away. Like a wave of the sea. It rises, falls, and is seen no more, our life is like a wave then that wave is history.  Like a rainbow. The sun throws its colors on a cloud, and for a few minutes all is brilliant. But the cloud shifts, and the brilliance is all gone. Such is the world. With all its beauty and brightness; with all its honors and pleasures will be gone. Like a  beautiful flower in a few days it withers and gone. There are many who will come to church then later we find them having pleasure in the world. Paul said, ..."Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.." (2Ti 4:10). The devil will keep on tempting until we die. This battle will go on until we die. Pray without ceasing. (1Th 5:17) Our lust of the flesh will be powerless as we will be filled in the spirit of God always.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 1 Thess. 5:8.

This is not the time to sleep, if you are sleepy soldier in a middle of a battlefield, your life is going to be very short. The enemy is not going to warn you of his attack, he has no pity on you, he is like a roaring lion watching you with his demons for a good opportunity and his attack will be a surprise attack. But the Bible warns us  to be watchful while we have the truth of the gospel for light. If we are living kind of a lose life style, with lack of prayer and no time to read the word  we are a prime target for the enemy, as the enemy is breathing down your neck and ready to sift you like wheat. "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat." ( Lu 22:31 ) The word desired here in Greek is exaiteomai ex-ahee-teh'-om-ahee means begging, demanding to grind to a powder of wheat. Jesus said, " ... But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..."(Lu 22:32)  What comfort we have when we are in a good relationship with the Lord then we are strong in the Lord and he loves us and prays for us and intercedes for us. We have a high priest in heaven who are interceding for those whom the Lord loves. We need to pray for one another as the root cause of the problem is Satan and the demons , pray for your  pastor as the devil always keeps his eyes on him, to destroy the work of God as the devil is the root cause.  Study the word in humility and in repentance, crucify your pride, pray in confessing your sins, submit to God and the devil will flee from you.