Do you remember the game show To Tell the Truth? Three contestants professed to be the same person. A moderator described the person’s occupation and a panel questioned them to figure out which one was telling the truth. At the end the host asked, “Would the real (person’s name) please stand up?”
Wouldn’t it be great if we could line up each of the views of spiritual warfare and ask “Would the real Spiritual Warfare please stand up?” I’ve identified eight key views people hold on this topic.
8 views of Spiritual Warfare
- Cosmic spiritual warfare. The ongoing battle between good and evil, God and Satan, good angels and bad angels to control people and the world.
- Demonism. Attempts by demons to exert total control of individuals with and without a person’s permission.
- Spiritual bondage. Attempts by demons to control specific areas of a person’s life by things like pornography, alcoholism, and depression.
- Territorial warfare. The battle between evil spirits and Christians for control of geographical areas including cities and regions.
- Circumstantial spiritual warfare. The activities of demons disrupting people’s lives by interfering with circumstances such as causing flat tires, broken pipes, financial problems and sickness.
- Invisible spiritual warfare. Attempts by evil spirits to disrupt Christian’s lives by attacking them mentally, emotionally and spiritually by deceitful hidden means.
- The Christian life. All the daily struggles to live a godly life in a fallen world.
- Three spiritual enemies. The daily battle by Christians with the sinful nature, the world system and satanic forces.
Will the real Spiritual Warfare please stand up? Are these all issues every Christian faces? No, they are not. Some have little biblical support. Even if they broadly fit into the overall topic, many don’t pertain to our daily lives.
When we turn to the Bible we find one key passage that best describes the kind of spiritual warfare battle all Christians face. In Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) the Apostle Paul says before we were Christians,
“You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
We have to begin any discussion of spiritual warfare by recognizing the three spiritual enemies that have negatively influenced our lives: the world, the prince of the power of the air (Satan), and our flesh. James tells us these three enemies are still fighting against us (James 4:1-8, see also 1 John 2:15-17; Ephesians 6:11-18; Galatians 5:16-21).
The good news is God’s word gives us a defense to defeat each enemy! How goes the battle?
What is your view of spiritual warfare? What scriptures support what you believe? Which of the three enemies gives you the most trouble? Why? Please leave a comment or question below.