I've been studying more about spiritual warfare. So many times, we think of lies, various addictions, gossip or hateful comments and attitudes as just plain sin, which it is. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." So where does all of this come from? From Satan and his army of adversaries "in the heavenly realms". Paul reminds us in Ephesians 1:3, "God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." According to this, there is a spiritual battle constantly going on in our lives in the unseen world and God has ALREADY blessed us in it! God wants us to be delivered from the power of Satan and his forces.
The good news is, that's already happened, so there's no need for us to fear our spiritual enemy. However, Satan still has the freedom to temp and harass Christians, but he has no direct authority over us. Instead, we have authority over him through Jesus Christ.
I'm sure you've dealt with it before, or possibly are dealing with it now in some way. For instance, take this blog. I normally leave the posting options open so anyone anywhere can post their comments on my blog, leaving their name or not. A few times, I've had some spammers who try to post a porn website, which I can delete. A couple of weeks ago, someone commented on one of my entries and made fun of my beliefs. They wrote how "stupid and wrong" they think I am as chief meteorologist for WLBT and how God is "laughing at me". I thought about leaving the comment on the blog so many of you could see what I deal with on a daily basis from the public, but decided it best to delete. It served no purpose and it was a personal attack. I saw it as spiritual warfare. Why? Because that person was simply a pawn in Satan's hand. The poster was being used by Satan to talk hate, ridicule my Father God, and the career I believe He has called me to do. The sad part about it--that person had no clue how they were being controlled. That is spiritual warfare.
Perhaps it is someone who has been spreading gossip about you, someone who has continued to make your life difficult, or even a disobedient child. We will, on occasion, have to confront Satan's work in people's lives. In Acts 13, we find where Paul and his friends met a false prophet (a phony) named Bar-Jesus. A high ranking official wanted Paul and Barnabas to teach him about Jesus but Bar-Jesus opposed them and tried to persuade the official not to listen. Verses 9-12 says, "Then Paul filled with the Holy Spirit looked straight at him and said, 'You are the child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.'" Did you see where Paul wasn't afraid to confront Bar-Jesus right there on the spot and tell him WHO was controlling him? Paul didn't get his feelings hurt, tuck his tail and slowly walk away, only to tell his friends how he had been so hurt my what had just happened. No, Paul talked directly TO Satan, without mincing words!
Spiritual warfare for Christians is fought in the mind, emotions and the will. The scripture is our first line of defense and that's why Paul urges us to be renewed with our minds. The more our minds are filled with the truth in God's Word, the less susceptible we are to Satan's musings through other people and temptations. Remember, Satan uses principalities to control personalities.