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3 Primary Misconceptions About Spiritual Warfare

There are several famous optical illusions. When I teach on spiritual warfare I show some to demonstrate that it is possible to look right at something and not see everything. Here’s a link if you’d like to look at some really fascinating ones.

Optical Illusions - like misconceptions
What do you see? A vase or two faces?

An optical illusion is something you look at but don’t see fully. Spiritual warfare is like an optical illusion in that everyone looks at it but we don’t all see the same thing. The result is that there are some common misconceptions about spiritual warfare.

Consider this: The Bible says there’s a spirit being called Satan who along with his followers attack people.

Do you agree? Everyone who has read the Bible and believes it is the authoritative word of God will answer “Yes.”

Here’s a follow-up question. What do those satanic attacks look like in terms of type, frequency, and intensity?

It’s at this point that our universal agreement is thrown out the window! I believe this is because of the misconceptions people have about it. Here are the three most common misconceptions about spiritual warfare.

Misconception # 1: It’s something everyone has to deal with every day.

We all agree that it’s real. However, from a biblical perspective it’s not something that everyone has to deal with every day. Why do I say this? Think about just three biblical examples.

  • In the biblical account Job there is no description of Satan attacking Job before or after the attacks described in Job 1 and 2.
  • After Jesus was attacked by Satan in Luke 4:1-13 Satan left him “for an opportune time.” He didn’t attack Jesus every day.
  • In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus told Peter that Satan asked to be able to attack the apostles. If Satan were attacking every day why would he need to ask?

Misconception #2 It’s uncommon, even rare for the average Christian, at least in America.

This is a more common view than #1 and I think quite dangerous. The primary reason why this is wrong is that Satan hides his attacks. We can learn to recognize them but he and his followers are masterful at hiding them. Consider these three biblical examples.

  • Eve didn’t know it was Satan attacking her Genesis 3.
  • Job didn’t know it was Satan that attacked him Job 1-2.
  • The prophets didn’t know an evil spirit filled their hearts with deceitful thoughts 1 Kings 21:19-23.

Misconception #3 It’s scary.

This is really interesting. So many people are afraid of satanic attacks. Consider this.

  • Was Eve afraid of Satan? No she didn’t know it was him. Neither was Job or the prophets mentioned above.
  • The only “scary” kinds of attacks in the Bible are extreme demonization issues.
  • Neither Jesus nor his disciples were ever afraid of even those extremes.

One could say that the reason these misconceptions are so commonly held is that Satan is good at being deceitful 2 Corinthians 11:3 and I would agree. Yet by careful study of the Scriptures we can learn to recognize and resist them. That is the goal of these posts and this ministry, to equip you to Stand Firm!

What do you think? Have I stepped on your toes here? If you don’t agree with me, please let me know why below. Are there other misconceptions people have about satanic attacks? Please comment below.

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Ward Cushman

My journey of faith started when I was nine years old when I realized that Jesus died and rose again to pay for my sins. At the age of thirteen I felt the call of God on my life for ministry.

I have been fortunate to work in the marketplace for over ten years and in full-time Christian ministry for over thirty years.

My passion is to teach God's Word in such a way that it is easy to understand and so that God uses it to bring about life change in those who hear it.

It is my greatest joy to see God work through me to produce fruit for His glory!