We all have bad days; we all get into disagreements; and we all have trying circumstances. But, have you ever had a season of life where it just didn’t stop? All the sudden you’re so distracted with firefighting your daily problems that you don’t even realize that you’ve been pulled into a battle that you never asked for. Welcome to spiritual warfare.
Take heart! For Christ has overcome. Here are 5 tips on how to beat spiritual warfare.
Overview of Spiritual Warfare
What is Spiritual Warfare?
Spiritual warfare is the unseen battle for your soul. God desires to give you everlasting life. Satan’s mission is “steal, kill, and destroy”, according to John 10:10.
It starts as a bad day, a bad week, a bad patch in a relationship, etc. Then, it snowballs into negative thinking, self doubt, and, ultimately, doubting God’s goodness for your life.
Spiritual warfare will involve the most meaningful, vulnerable and significant parts of your life.
Why is there a battle for your soul?
The Bible tells us that Satan, once an angel, fell from grace and turned his back on God. But, when he left, he didn’t leave alone. He took some angels – now demons – with him. Satan yearns for the power of God and for a bigger base of worshipers. Thus, starts the battle for our souls.
What Does Spiritual Warfare Look Like?
The story of Job is a great example of spiritual warfare. Just like with you, Satan’s goal was to get Job to curse God. His attempt to this included attacking EVERYTHING that was meaningful to Job: his family, his flesh, his money, home, etc.
Let this be your first lesson in spiritual warfare – Satan has no sympathy, no empathy and NOTHING is off limits. Satan will cut you at the core, hurting you in the worst way possible. He will use all things vulnerable to break you: your childhood, mental health, relationships, marriages, family, children, hobbies, dreams, work, the list goes on.
So, what does this look like in real life? This could be child abuse in your past, causing you to never trust a God that would let this happen to you. It could be losing a loved one to a crippling disease that no one should suffer from. Maybe it’s the loss of a job, causing you to lose everything. These are all deep spiritual attacks.
Spiritual Warfare and Free Will – How They are Connected
God’s most precious creation – you and I – were designed with free will. This is beautiful thing. This is what causes genuine love and joy among us; the bond between mother and child and love between spouses. Free will enables the human race to show compassion and servitude. All wonderful and perfect things.
The other side of free will is when it is used with ill intentions. This is what causes the sexual abuse to take place, the blood to be shed, the argument to explode, the gossip to be spread, and more. This is the side of humanity that is often blamed on God. However, what is almost never acknowledged, is that before the evil action took place, there was a battle going on – spiritual warfare.
What Does Spiritual Warfare Cause?
As mentioned, spiritual warfare can be acted out in a variety of ways. All ways will have something to do with Satan’s mission to steal, kill and destroy. Those might be used in physical ways or mental/emotional. For example, someone can steal the innocence of a child or kill a fellow human – this is physical. Or, a fight with your spouse can destroy the peace within your home and steal the joy from your marriage – this is mental/emotional. Anytime that you feel unrest around you or within you – take that as a sign that you are in spiritual warfare.
Here is what is important to know, “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers o this dark world” (Ephesians 6:12). This means your husband is not your enemy, your stubborn children are not your enemy, your boss is not your enemy. Yes, we have an enemy and it is Satan. He is the ruler of darkness. When you’re in the middle of a trial, especially if it involves a relationship of any kind, understand that they are not your enemy – they are who Satan is using to cause you unrest within your soul.
Where is God in the Mist of Spiritual Warfare?
At this point, we have clear picture of Satan, but there’s been little mentioned of God to this point. Do not confuse this with His absence, this was simple strategy. One of the first ways to win a battle is to know your enemy. Now, let’s become acquainted with our commander in war.
God is always patient, never changing, omnipotent, and it impossible to grasp the depths of His love for us. So, how can a good God let bad things happen? This is a loaded question, but a simplified answer is that God loves us too much to take away our free will. This consequence comes packed with the good and bad – depending on how WE use it. But God couldn’t be God without a plan!
How God Helps Us Beat Spiritual Warfare
One of the promises that we have in the Bible is that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28). This means, regardless of what you have or will go through, God can use it for good. He can help us beat spiritual warfare. Think about Moses. Terrible circumstances caused his mother to put him in the Nile River to avoid him being killed. God later used him to free his people from generations of slavery. This is a super simplified version, but the Bible and the world is PACKED with stories of God using man’s ill-use of free will and turning it into a blessing and furthering His kingdom. Genesis 50:20 says this beautifully, “you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose.”
Another way that God can help us beat spiritual warfare and use it for our good, is by shaping our character and faith through the trial. 1 Peter 1:7 says “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” Spiritual warfare is a time for us to cling to God and His word. When you are going through a difficult season of life, ask God what he wants you to learn during this period. Is it patience, grace, to be an example to someone, that you need distance from someone?
5 Tips to Beat Spiritual Warfare
1. Assess the current situation
Where are you feeling unrest within yourself and your family? What is this unrest causing? Does any of it fit in to the categories of steal, kill, or destroy? If so, you can bet this is spiritual warfare.
2. Study the Word
Simplify your battle and research what the Bible says about this. For example, you can Google ‘scripture regarding marriage’ or whatever the topic is. Then, read through the results and note things that speak to you. YouTube is another great resource and will usually result in a message from a top pastor.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this word” and Colossians 3:2 says to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” How is your lifestyle, attitude and mindset contributing to this battle? Are you acting worldly or godly?
Also, make note that, just as there are godly people doing God’s work, there are also people who are doing Satan’s work. This can show up in legislation, societal trends, the school systems, etc. DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO THINKING THAT SATAN HAS NOT HEAVILY WEAVED HIMSELF INTO OUR EVERYDAY LIVES. This is intentional and is part of the battle. Don’t forget to reflect on how outside factors are contributing to your battle as well.
If you’re needing an example of this, check out my blog on 3 societal trends that could be hurting your marriage. Sometimes we have to look beyond the obvious to find where our problem stems from.
1 Thessalonians 5 tells us to pray continually and the Bible provides us with examples of Jesus waking early in the day to spend time with God. Follow these instructions, especially when going through spiritual warfare. There are a number of guides on prayers to use during spiritual warfare. If you haven’t watched the movie War Room…this is a must. It is incredibly encouraging.
5. Journal the process
Something that is really helpful is to journal this entire process. Reason being, documenting things can help you frame up your circumstances, maybe even help uncover things you initially looked over. Also, when you document frequently, you are able to see how God works within the situation. Document your learnings, questions, prayers, etc. Numbers 33:2 confirms this, “At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey.”
Beat Spiritual Warfare: How to Use Mind Mapping for Stress Management
I find that mind mapping helps me in times of high stress. Mind mapping was formed within the practice of brainstorming, visual thinking and problem solving. It’s a diagram used to visually organize information in a linear fashion that evolves from a macro-to-micro view of a concept or thought.
Mind mapping allows you to organize and analyze your thoughts and emotions. You’re able to perform a root-cause analysis, identifying the reasons behind certain thoughts and emotions. Afterwards, you’re in a position to take action!
I’ve used mind mapping frequently to battle spiritual warfare. It helps me layout the various elements that Satan may be using to break me down and then I’m able to attach scripture and work through the steps above more easily.
Check out this easy to follow guide to get you started. This guide comes with detailed steps to walk you through the mind mapping process AND 5 templates to get you started! Simply print and follow along.