Spiritual Warfare, Spiritual Warfare Prayers, Spiritual Warfare Scriptures, Spiritual Warfare Deliverance

Spiritual Warfare, Prayers, Scriptures, Facts, Deliverance

The difference between deliverance and spiritual warfare is that deliverance is dealing with demonic bondages, and getting a person set free, whereas spiritual warfare is resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy’s lies and cunning (in the form of deception, temptations and accusations) that he sends our way. Deliverance involves the breaking up of legal grounds, the tearing down of lies, and the casting out of demons. Spiritual warfare on the other hand, is dealing with three key things the enemy sends at us: temptations, deception and accusations.

What is Spiritual Warfare?


Spiritual warfare is the struggle to have life in this material world reflect as much as possible God’s loving governance. It is a war because there are forces working vigorously to thwart man from reaching God. God is in charge, but there is an enemy that is in full-scale revolt, and it has powerful influence all around us. Spiritual warfare exists in the unseen, supernatural dimension, where God is all-powerful and Satan is in revolt. As any Christian soon discovers, although spiritual warfare is unseen, it’s absolutely real. As with the unseen God, the forces behind the revolt are unseen, non-physical, and supernatural. They lust after power, adoration and worship in the world of the visible, material beings. Just because the battle is unseen doesn’t mean it isn’t going on. The Bible speaks of spiritual warfare in many places, but most directly in Ephesians 6, where Paul speaks of putting on the full armour of God:

Ephesians 6:10-17 “[10] Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. [11] Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. [12] For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. [13] Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. [14] Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, [15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: [16] In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. [17] And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).”

The Apostle Paul instructs us to put on our spiritual armour because our battle in this world is a “spiritual” one. A warfare that involves the trickery and power of the devil, as opposed to a human battle. Even though human beings will certainly play a role in line with the schemes of the devil, but they are being used by these entities for the purposes of accomplishing evil. Evil spirits are the true power behind those who oppose the things of God (knowingly or unknowingly).

The Devil has already lost. But the Devil is trying to take as many with him as he can, apparently just to hurt God. And however much the Devil succeeds in doing this, God hurts -- like a parent does over losing a child. This sort of spite is very much in keeping with the Devil’s character. Satan is a leech; he is so lacking in life that the only life he has left is what he can suck out of the living.

The good news is that Satan and his forces have already been defeated and disarmed (Colossians 2:15). Consequently, there’s no need for believers to fear their spiritual enemy so long as they walk upright in the commandments of God. While Satan still has the freedom to tempt and harass Christians, he has no direct authority over them except what God has given him. The armor of God pictures the protection Jesus gives us against demonic attack, so that we may loose not heart when tribulation strike. We must look at the wonderful example of Job to further illustrate this point:

Job 1,6-22 “[1] There was a man in the land of Hus, whose name was Job, and that man was simple and upright, and fearing God, and avoiding evil... [6] Now on a certain day when the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, Satan also was present among them. [7] And the Lord said to him: “Whence comest thou?” And he answered and said: “I have gone round about the earth, and walked through it.” [8] And the Lord said to him: “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a simple and upright man, and fearing God, and avoiding evil?” [9] And Satan answering, said: “Doth Job fear God in vain? [10] Hast not thou made a fence for him, and his house, and all his substance round about, blessed the works of his hands, and his possession hath increased on the earth? [11]But stretch forth thy hand a little, and touch all that he hath, and see if he blasphemeth thee not to thy face.” [12] Then the Lord said to Satan: “Behold, all that he hath is in thy hand: only put not forth thy hand upon his person.” And Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. [13] Now upon a certain day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, [14] There came a messenger to Job, and said: “The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them, [15] And the Sabeans rushed in, and took all away, and slew the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell thee.” [16] And while he was yet speaking, another came, and said: “The fire of God fell from heaven, and striking the sheep and the servants, hath consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell thee.” [17] And while he also was yet speaking, there came another, and said: “The Chaldeans made three troops, and have fallen upon the camels, and taken them, moreover they have slain the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell thee.” [18] He was yet speaking, and behold another came in, and said: “Thy sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their elder brother: [19] A violent wind came on a sudden from the side of the desert, and shook the four corners of the house, and it fell upon thy children and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell thee.” [20] Then Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head fell down upon the ground and worshipped, [21] And said: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.” [22] In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God.

Haydock commentary: Ver. 6. The sons of God. The angels, (Challoner) as the Septuagint express it. (Calmet) --- Satan also, etc. This passage represents to us in a figure, accommodated to the ways and understandings of men, 1. The restless endeavours of satan against the servants of God. 2. That he can do nothing without God’s permission. 3. That God doth not permit him to tempt them above their strength: but assists them by his divine grace in such manner, that the vain efforts of the enemy only serve to illustrate their virtue and increase their merit. (Challoner) --- A similar prosopopeia occurs, 3 Kings xxii. 19., and Zacharias i. 10. (Calmet) --- Devils appear not in God’s sight, but sometimes in presence of angels, who represent God. (St. Athanasius, q. 8. ad Antioc, (Worthington) or some ancient author.) --- The good angels can make known their orders to them, Zacharias iii. 1., and Jude 9. Both good and bad spirits may be considered as the ministers of God. (Calmet) --- They appear in judgment; though the latter could not see the Lord. --- Ver. 22. By his lips, is not in Hebrew but occurs [in] chap. ii. 10. --- God. Much less did he blaspheme, as satan had said, ver. 11. He did not consider all as the effect of chance, or like a mere philosopher. His thoughts were regulated by religion and the fear of God. (Calmet) --- The virtue of Job was so much the more wonderful, as he lived among the wicked. (St. Gregory) He bore patiently with the loss of all things: and English Catholics have often imitated him. (Worthington) --- He might well record his own good actions, the gifts of God, being moved by divine inspiration, like Moses, etc. (St. Gregory)

Spiritual warfare for believers, therefore, is fought in the mind, emotions and the will. Scriptural truth is our primary line of defense when we walk according to its precepts. That’s why Paul frequently urges us to be renewed in our minds (Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-3). The more our minds are filled with the truth of God’s Word, the less susceptible we are to Satan’s deceptions and temptations.

However, because Satan still rules the unbelieving world, we will, on occasion, have to confront Satan’s work in people’s lives (for example, Acts 13:9-12). To dislodge Satan’s influence in someone’s life, a supernatural encounter of God’s power and truth may be required.

Spiritual Warfare: How do we go into battle as Christians?
Spiritual warfare is an image that many of us would rather reject. However, since the Bible uses terms of warfare, it’s best that we accept God’s imagery, so that we’re properly prepared for real battle. As Christians, we’re going through more than a mere “struggle” on earth – and its seems that war imagery captures this reality better than anything else. Since it’s warfare, God instructs Christians to use a very specific set of armor and weapons in Ephesians 6:14-18:

“[14] Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, [15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: [16] In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. [17] And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God). [18] By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints...”

God’s list of weaponry is rather unique – these are “weapons of peace.”

Throughout the Bible, you will find examples of God’s weaponry in action. For instance, King Jehoshaphat sent out praise singers in front of his soldiers to cause disarray among the enemy; Joshua used singing and trumpets to bring down the great city of Jericho; and what better example of using faith in battle than David fighting Goliath with a slingshot. Of course, the lesson in all these examples (as in all spiritual warfare today) is that it’s only God who allows us to claim victory over evil!

Spiritual Warfare: Be strong in the Lord
Spiritual warfare is a reality of the Christian life. But remember, we know the ending – our side wins so long as we remain faithful to Jesus. Since the Devil has already lost, he has nothing to lose in trying to take as many people with him in defeat. Therefore:

“Finally, my brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

Different warfare

The difference between deliverance and spiritual warfare is that deliverance is dealing with demonic bondages, and getting a person set free, whereas spiritual warfare is resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy’s lies and cunning (in the form of deception, temptations and accusations) that he sends our way. Deliverance involves the breaking up of legal grounds, the tearing down of devilish lies (offensive spiritual warfare), and the casting out of demons. (Read more on Exorcism and Exorcism deliverance). Spiritual warfare on the other hand, is dealing with three key things the enemy sends at us: temptations, deception and accusations.

Offensive vs. defensive warfare
Spiritual warfare comes in two ways: offensive and defensive. Offensive warfare is tearing down the lie the enemy has formed in your mind through deception, temptation or accusation, and defensive warfare is guarding yourself against the tactics or schemes of the devil.

The enemy’s three primary weapons
There are three things that we can expect from the devil. The Bible tells us that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against demonic forces. (Ephesians 6:12). The three primary things we struggle against include:

#1 Deception: To deceive somebody means to make another person believe a lie or something that is not true. When the enemy sends deception your way, it is an attempt to deceive you into believing something that is not true, so you will fall into error. Lies are built through deception. A lie is formed when deception takes hold in a person’s mind. A lie is an incorrect thinking pattern that stems from believing something that is not true.

From the very beginning, Satan deceived Eve into believing that God’s Word was not true. In Genesis 3:4, the devil told her that she will not surely die as God said she would in Genesis 2:17. The devil thus lied, and the lie led to sin, and the sin lead to death.

#2 Temptation: Temptation often follows deception. First the enemy tells us, “You won’t surely die!”, then he makes the fruit on the forbidden tree look good to us. Since Eve accepted Satan’s deception (his lie), now the tree that she was not supposed to touch looked good to her. She was tempted (enticed) to sin, because she allowed herself to first be deceived. Temptation is when we are enticed or encouraged to sin in one way or another.

In Matthew 4, Jesus was led out in the desert to be tempted by the devil. The devil tried to convince Jesus that it would be harmless to jump off a building. Often people will be so drawn to breaking God’s laws when the enemy tries to convince them that it is all harmless and fun to do so, when it’s not harmless at all, but an open door to the influence of the devil, and to eternal hell. Jesus saw through Satan’s deception, and resisted the temptation by speaking God’s Word. King David said in Psalms 118:11 (Psalm 119:11 in protestant versions), “Thy words have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 11. Heart. To guard against the temptations of vanity. (Calmet) --- Christians formerly concealed the mysteries of religion with the utmost care. (St. Hilary and St. Ambrose) --- Moses had given the letter of the law only, insinuating, that it must be kept with all the heart, as David here more fully explains. (Berthier)

When the enemy tempts you, he’s showing you the worm... but behind that worm is a hook. The Word of God, a steady prayer life, and a clean conscience, helps you see the hook behind the worm.

#3 Accusations: The devil is known as the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). He will be accusing us of all our wrongdoings before God at judgment, all in the hope of our eternal condemnation; but this will be to no avail for him, so long as we have confessed our sins, and had true repentance for them, along a firm will to sin no more. But he is also known to take a believer who has done an embarrassing or gross sin in their past, and continue to rub it in their faces and beat them down with guilt and condemnation over their past so as to make them fall into despair. We must not mistrust in God’s mercy or forgiveness, but when we have sinned or fallen, we must stand back up again, stronger than before.

Dealing with deception

We have two main weapons to deal with deceptions: one defensive; the other offensive. The defensive weapons are: the belt of truth; the breastplate of justice (Ephesians 6:14); the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16); the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:16) and the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). The offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) which is the Word of God.

Haydock commentary: Ver. 14. Your loins....with truth, both as to doctrine and a good life, keeping your baptismal promises. --- Having on the breastplate of justice, not only of the particular virtue of justice, but of all virtues in general. (Witham) --- Ver. 15. Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel; i.e. prepared to walk in the ways of the gospel, as a soldier must be prepared and in readiness to march or to fight. (Witham) --- Ver. 16. The shield of faith. A lively faith working by charity, which will enable you to conquer your greatest enemies, and to escape their fiery darts, their greatest temptations, and attacks. (Witham)

God’s Word is meant to be both a defensive and offensive weapon against the devil. A belt, sword and breastplate are something you wear to guard against an attack, and this could be likened with a firm resolution not to sin against God again; while a sword is used to slaughter the enemy, which could be likened with destroying all vices through love or fear of God and hell).

You use the weapons of truth (God’s Words) to guard against the enemy’s deception (lies and temptations) he sends your way, while you use the sword of the Spirit (also God’s Word) to tear down existing lies (deception and temptation that took hold) in your mind (or in your conscience) and that may be disguising itself is if it were the truth. So an examination of conscience is crucial for overcoming the evil one. We can read the following points about this in St. Bridget’s Revelations:

“Again, many good people sometimes fall into sin, and their conscience is darkened by the treachery of the devil, but then they get up again, being stronger and more steadfast than before through the virtue and power of the Holy Spirit. There is no one who does not understand in his conscience whether the suggestion of the devil leads to the ugliness of sin or to the good, if he would only think about and examine his conscience carefully. Therefore may you, bride of my Lord, not doubt whether the spirit of your thoughts is good or bad, for your conscience tells you which things to exclude and which to do.

“But what should the one who is full of the devil do, since the good Spirit cannot enter him who is full of evil? He should do three things: First, he should make a pure and complete confession of his sins. Even if he cannot directly feel a complete remorse for his sins due to his hardened heart, still the confession will benefit him so much that the devil ceases with his treachery and yields to the good spirit. Second, he should be humble and wish to amend for all the sins he has committed and do the good deeds he can, and then the devil will begin to leave. Third, he should beseech God with humble prayer in order that he may get the good Spirit back and have contrition for the sins he has committed along with true divine love, since the love for God kills the devil. This devil is so envious and full of malice that he would rather die a hundred times than see someone do God the least little good deed out of love.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 54.)

In Romans 12:2, we are told to “And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.” How do we renew our minds? By examining our conscience daily!

Haydock commentary: Ver. 2. Take care, lest you imitate the practices of worldlings. Let your heart, your ambition, carry you to heaven: ever despise those things which the world admires, that every one may see by your actions that you are not of the society of worldlings, and have neither regard nor friendship for them. (Calmet) --- Transform yourselves into new men, by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern on all occasions, what is most perfect, most pleasing and acceptable to God. (Bible de Vence)

Dealing with temptation

In James 4:7, we are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. “Be subject, therefore, to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you.” But it’s not that simple, and only those with a firm resolution will succeed. In the same verse, we are also told to draw near to God. Dealing with temptation is a two fold process of resisting the devil and drawing near to God. The closer you get to God and the more you start to love Him, the less power temptation will have over you. But this does not mean that you will not be tempted, but rather that you will not be overcome by the temptations or be lead into sin by them, since in this way of perfection, we would rather be dying than to sin willingly against God.

Haydock commentary: Ver. 7. Be subject therefore to God; humble yourselves in his sight, considering your own nothing. (Witham)

In the teaching Spiritual Information You Must Know About, it shows you how the power of sin (temptation) can be broken in our lives.

Dealing with accusations

When the devil tries to accuse us of our past sins, we are to have faith in the work of the cross and know that our sins are forgiven us if we have confessed them and had true sorrow for them, and not look back. Faith is what we use to put out the fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16). We are not to meditate or think too much about our past with sorrow, for otherwise we might fall into despair, and the old things have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17), and our sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17), and we must truly believe that God will forgive us if we are sincere. So we should be looking forward to be seeing God in Heaven, and to live with Him forever. We should say with the psalmist: “[4] One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple. [5] For he hath hidden me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.” (Psalm 26:4-5; or Psalm 27:4-5 in protestant versions)

Haydock commentary: Ver. 4. House; ... he may... allude to God’s presence and union, or his enjoyment in heaven. (Berthier) --- "When we love what God approves, he will surely grant our request. (St. Augustine) --- Delight of the Lord; beauty and sweetness, as the Hebrew implies... (Calmet) --- To comply with God’s will, is the only means of arriving at his beatific vision. (Haydock) --- David was more grieved at being kept at a distance from the tabernacle, than from his own family. He envied the happiness of those who could attend the divine worship. (Menochius) --- Ver. 5. Tabernacle; in the Catholic Church, so that the enemy can either not find, or at least cannot hurt, my soul. (Worthington) --- I hope one day to enjoy rest in the temple. (Calmet) --- The verbs are in the future, in Hebrew both here and in the following verse. But they may be as well explained in the sense of the Vulgate. Those who find themselves in danger, must still have recourse to God’s presence, (Berthier) where, as (Haydock) in the asylum of the tabernacle, (Menochius) or of the temple, they will be protected. (Calmet) --- God rewards those with glory in death, who have suffered for his name. (Worthington)

Ephesians 6:14, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, (knowing your sins have been forgiven through your faith in the work on the cross), and having on the breastplate of justice [or righteousness] (not our righteousness obviously, but the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus).”

Therefore when the enemy tries to remind you of your past, have sorrow for it, but do not despair, and believe truly it has been washed away (2 Corinthians 5:17), your sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17) and you have the justice of God if you do His will (Romans 3:22)!

The tearing down of lies
A lie is deception that’s taken hold in a person’s mind. It’s an incorrect thinking pattern based on a believed lie. People can get incorrect perceptions of God by listening to Satan as he tells them how God doesn’t love them or how He will not forgive them, etc. People can feel like dirty old sinners when they believe Satan’s accusations as he continually reminds them of their past (which has been washed away if they have been truly sorry and ceased with sin). Lies are based on more lies or by half-truths that might seem promising and true from the devil, but are not. They can come in the form of deception, temptations or accusations. Satan deceives us when we believe in his lie: that bad is good, or good is bad. “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20). Accusations always lead to guilt and the feeling of unworthiness, which weighs you down and tears you apart spiritually. Although it is good to accuse oneself of ones past mistakes, and to feel unworthy of any good or God (since it breeds true humility), yet we must not let ourselves be conquered by these feelings of sorrow and let ourselves fall into despair because of them.

Since lies are built upon more lies that we have been fed, the way we tear down lies is by feeding on truth, which is the opposite of what the enemy has been feeding us: “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor as the son of man, that he should be changed. Hath he said then, and will he not do? hath he spoken, and will he not fulfil?” (Numbers 23:19). “Unto the hope of life everlasting, which God, who lieth not, hath promised before the times of the world.” (Titus 1:2). If the enemy has been feeding us a lie, we need to stop eating the lie and start feeding ourselves the truth, God’s truth. The weapon we use to tear down lies is found in Ephesians 6:17, “...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” A sword is an offensive weapon and is meant to tear down and kill the enemy’s troops. Lies are the devil’s assets in war, and he uses them against us. Take up the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word, God’s Law, God’s Justice, God’s Peace, God’s Love, etc.) today, and start slaughtering the enemy’s assets that he’s been using against you!

When did the world, the flesh and the devil become our enemies?

Spiritual Warfare and the "World"

The moment a person believes in Jesus Christ and is baptized into the Church he receives God’s Holy Spirit, and that person is instantly and literally translated from the kingdom of darkness of this world into the kingdom of God’s light and truth as one of his dearly beloved adopted son or daughter. The Apostle Paul describes this process as the “mystery” revealed, which is “Christ in you” the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love,”

Colossians 1:27 “To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory.”

Paul reminds us that we have spiritual authority and blessings in the unseen or heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3). God wants people to be delivered from the power of Satan and his forces (Ephesians 2:1-2).

God rescued us from the power and bondage of the world, the flesh, the devil, and supernaturally empowered us with the light of His truth, love, and Holy Spirit. The power of darkness is anything that blinds a person to the reality of sin, the true love of God, and the victory we have in Christ. It is the power of darkness that blinds a person to his or her need for salvation, and from receiving God’s free gift of the Holy Spirit. God draws humanity from enmity towards Him to an illumination of truth that leads to salvation in Christ by the cross, preaching of His Word, and the conviction of His Holy Spirit. The world represents people, religions, governments, or worldly systems that oppose Christ. The world that rejects the truth of Christ is under the control or deception of the god of this world, which is the devil. Scripture states:

1 John 5:19 “We know that we are of God; and the whole world is seated in wickedness.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 19. And the whole world is seated in wickedness; i.e. a great part of the world. It may also signify, is under the wicked one; meaning the devil, who is elsewhere called the prince of this world, that is, of all the wicked. (John xii. 31.) (Witham)

2 Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god [the devil] of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.”

Jesus Christ sent the Apostle Paul to preach for the following reason:

Acts 26:18 “To open their eyes, that they may be converted from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a lot among the saints, by the faith that is in me.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 18. That they may be converted from the darkness of error to the light of the gospel, and from the power of Satan to the liberty of the children of God.

1 John 4:6 “We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 6. We (Christians) are of God, have received the Spirit; we, the apostles of Christ, were lawfully sent by him. --- He that knoweth God, heareth us, etc. That is, they who love and serve God, and comply with the doctrine of his Son, Jesus Christ, hear and follow the doctrine which we were commissioned by him to teach. --- He that is not of God, heareth us not. They are not of God, who refuse to hear and obey the voice of the Church and those whom Christ appointed to govern his Church, as hath been observed elsewhere. --- By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Here St. John gives them the second general mark and rule, to preserve them and all Christians from errors and heresies to the end of the world. He that knoweth God, heareth us Apostles, whom he sent, and heareth our successors, invested with the same mission and authority, whom Christ sent, as his heavenly Father sent him, whom he appointed to govern his Church, and with whom he promised to remain to the end of the world. (Witham)

Another aspect of our spiritual warfare is the flesh.

Spiritual Warfare and the "Flesh"

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 16. All that is in the world, is the lust of the flesh, under which is comprehended all that pleaseth the senses, or the lust of the eyes; i.e. a longing after such things which enter by the eyes, as of riches in gold and silver, in apparel, in houses and palaces, train and equipage, etc., curiosity as to vain arts and sciences; or, the pride of life, as to honours, dignities, and preferments. But the world passeth away, and all these things that belong to it. --- He that doth the will of God, abideth for ever, with God in heaven. (Witham)

The second part of our spiritual warfare as Christians concerns the flesh. What is meant by the flesh? In this context, the flesh is the fallen, natural, carnal state in which we are born, or our sinful nature that seeks to satisfy its own lusts and expresses itself in our thoughts and actions in a way that opposes the spiritual nature and life of God. The Apostle Paul said:

Rom 7:22-25 “[22] For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: [23] But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members. [24] Unhappy man that I am: who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [25] The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with the mind, serve the law of God: but with the flesh, the law of sin.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 22. I am delighted with the law of God according to the inward man. As long as the inward man, or man’s interior, is right, all is right. --- Ver. 23. (I perceive another law in my members, fighting, and different from the law of my mind: this is true in any man just striving against and resisting temptations, but not of the sinner, whose mind also and will consent to them. A man can never lose God’s favour and grace, unless his mind and interior consent. --- These hold me as it were captive in the law of sin, or sinful inclinations, but which are in the members only. --- Ver. 24. I cry out, who shall deliver me from the body of this death, from this mortal body with its sinful lusts, which if consented to would bring death to the soul? --- Ver. 25. Nothing but the grace of Jesus Christ can secure me from such temptations, and by freeing me from this body, can make me perfectly happy; which cannot be hoped for in this life. But I have still this greatest of consolations, that I myself, with my mind and will, still serve God, and remain firm in obedience to his laws; but with the flesh, or in the flesh, I am subject to the law of sin, i.e. of sinful inclinations. --- We must avoid here two heretical errors; that of those late pretended reformers, who denying man’s free will, hold the commandments of God impossible, even to a just man. See also the first heretical proposition of Jansenius. Next we must detest the late abominable error of those called Quietists, who blushed not to say that a man might yield and abandon himself to the most shameful disorders of the flesh, pretending that it was not they themselves, but sin and the devil that caused these abominations in their flesh. St. Augustine foresaw this frivolous excuse: (lib. i. de. nup. and Concup. chap. xxviii.) “That man (saith he) is in a grievous mistake, who, consenting to the concupiscence of the flesh, and to do what the flesh prompts him to, thinks he can still say: It is not I that do that,” etc. (Witham)

When we walk according to our fleshly lusts we are walking according to the law of sin from which we must break free from.

The inclination to sin is present in our flesh and we continue more or less to struggle in some of these areas. It is the part of our nature that is spiritually destructive, or wasteful to ourselves and others because it’s fruit is spiritually dead. Whereas, when we walk according to God’s truth we bear the fruit of God’s Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23).

If we sow according to the flesh we will reap sins and dead works, but the fruit of the Spirit gives life to the soul. Abiding in the realm of the passion of sins renders us powerless against our spiritual enemies, the devil and his kingdom. At this juncture, we are on his territory and not God’s. When we received Christ, He gave us His righteousness and we are made righteous through Him, and will remain a friend of Him if we do the things that He command (John 15:14). However, the manifestation of that righteousness in the life of a Christian is experienced only if we walk in the righteousness of God’s laws that He has given to us, for the Lord calls us to righteousness.

Colossians 2:11 “In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of the body of the flesh, but in the circumcision of Christ.”

Colossians 2:13 “And you, when you were dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh; he hath quickened together with him, forgiving you all offences.”

Philippians 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, who in spirit serve God; and glory in Christ Jesus, not having confidence in the flesh.”

Galatians 5:24 “And they that are Christ’s, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and lusts.”

Romans 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 6. Old man...body of sin. Our corrupt state, subject to sin and concupiscence, coming to us from Adam, is called our old man, as our state, reformed in and by Christ, is called the new man. And the vices and sins which then ruled in us, are named the body of sin. (Challoner) --- The old and sinful man we must look upon as crucified with him, and the body of sin, or our sinful body, destroyed. We must look upon ourselves as dead to sin, and that we must sin no more, as Christ being once risen, dies no more. (Witham)

Some of our greatest conflicts will be experienced in overcoming our own fleshly nature.

Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 17. So that you do not the things that you would. He does not say, so that you cannot do, as others falsely translate; as if men were under an absolute necessity of sinning, or doing ill; which is also contradictory to the foregoing words, walk by the spirit, and you will not accomplish the works of the flesh. Here some suppose, says St. Augustine, that the apostle denieth that we have free liberty of will: not understanding that this is said to them, if they will not hold fast the grace of faith conceived, by which only they can walk in the spirit, and not accomplish the lusts of the flesh. (St. Augustine, in chap. v. Gal.)

Galatians 6:8 “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 8. He that soweth in his flesh, etc. The apostle represents the flesh and the spirit like two fields, on which men sow good or bad seed, according to which they shall reap. (Witham)

The life of God that is given to every believer is made manifest in our hearts and lives when we walk in the Spirit. But if we live according to the lusts of the flesh we continue to reap corruption.

Galatians 5:19-21 “[19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, [20] Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, [21] Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The battleground between the flesh and the Spirit is between the life of the Spirit and the fruit of the flesh which is spiritual death, therefore our spiritual warfare also takes place in the realm of the flesh to be overcome by the power of God’s Holy Spirit on a daily basis. This is also a battle between love and hate. The Apostle John states in the book of 1 John:

1 John 2:9 “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.”

1 John 2:10 “He that loveth his brother, abideth in the light, and there is no scandal in him.”

Spiritual Warfare and the "Devil and His Devil Spirits"

The third part of our Christian battle is the devil. The devil or Satan is the god of this world system and is called “evil” in 1 John 5:19 as demonstrated above. The idea that the devil is the god of this present age in which we live is confirmed in the gospel of Luke, when Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. We read:

Luke 4:1-13 “[1] And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert, [2] For the space of forty days; and was tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. [3] And the devil said to him: “If thou be the Son of God, say to this stone that it be made bread.” [4] And Jesus answered him: “It is written, ‘that Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” [5] And the devil led him into a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; [6] And he said to him: “To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them. [7] If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine.” [8] And Jesus answering said to him: “It is written: ‘Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’” [9] And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and he said to him: “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself from hence. [10] For it is written, ‘that He hath given his angels charge over thee, that they keep thee. [11] And that in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.’” [12] And Jesus answering, said to him: “It is said: ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’” [13] And all the temptation being ended, the devil departed from him for a time.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 2. In collating the present narrative with that of St. Matthew it appears that Jesus Christ was not tempted till the expiration of forty days. (Bible de Vence) --- Many reasons may be assigned why Christ permitted himself to be tempted. 1st. To merit for man the grace of overcoming temptations. 2d. To encourage us under temptations. 3d. To teach us not to be cast down with temptations, however grievous they may be, since even Jesus Christ submitted to them. 4thly. To point out to us the manner in which we ought to behave in time of temptation. (Dionysius) --- Ver. 3. The tempter here appears to endeavour to discover by stratagem whether Christ was the Son of God. He does not say, if thou be the Son of God, "pray" that these stones be made bread, which he might have said to any man; but "command," effect by thine own authority, that this come to pass. If Christ had done this, the tempter would have instantly concluded, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, since only God could effect such a miracle. (Dionysius) --- Ver. 13. For a time, viz. until his Passion, in which he again most grievously tempted him, by the hands of impious persecutors, whom he could not overcome with sensuality, covetousness, or vanity. The devil now deals with men in the same manner. He tempts them, and, being overcome, leaves them for a time, to prompt them to rest in a fatal security; that indulging indolence, they may at some future period be attacked, with greater certainty of success, when unprepared. Knowing, therefore, the trick and design of our infernal enemy, how much does it behove us to be on our guard; and having overcome in one temptation, prepare ourselves for another; never resting in the presumptuous thought, that we are sufficiently strong in virtue to resist the enemy, without fresh preparation. (Dionysius)

This position and power of Satan over the world and humankind as we read in Luke 4 was obtained when both Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, being tempted of the devil in the Garden of Eden, and they yielded their obedience to him. The lure of the temptation of Adam and Eve was to be like God. Satan hates God and His creation and seeks to win humanity over for its destruction. All dominion over the earth was originally given to Adam and Eve, but because of their sin, all of humanity and nature itself fell under the destruction and power of the devil. All of God’s creation, the plants, the animals, sea life, and of course humanity itself began to suffer and die. This account is found in the first 3 chapters of the book of Genesis. The sins of Adam and Eve brought the curse of sin to all the earth, in which we have our redemption only in Christ. It is only Christ, the Son of God, Who suffered the penalty of this curse to set us free and bring us back to God; therefore Christ is the only way in which we can be saved.

Satan, who is the author of all sin, sickness and death, was once a beautiful angel of God, but fell from his original position when he attempted to overthrow God so that he himself would be glorified as God. These records are found in the Old Testament in the prophetic books of both Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. Satan’s original name before his rebellion against God was Lucifer.

Isaiah 14:12-17 “[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? [13] And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. [14] I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High. [15] But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit. [16] They that shall see thee, shall turn toward thee, and behold thee. Is this the man that troubled the earth, that shook kingdoms, [17] That made the world a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof, that opened not the prison to his prisoners?”

Ezekiel 28:12-19 “[12]And say to him: ‘Thus saith the Lord God: “Thou wast the seal of resemblance, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. [13] Thou wast in the pleasures of the paradise of God: every precious stone was thy covering: the sardius, the topaz, and the jasper, the chrysolite, and the onyx, and the beryl, the sapphire, and the carbuncle, and the emerald: gold the work of thy beauty: and thy pipes were prepared in the day that thou wast created. [14] Thou a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set thee in the holy mountain of God, thou hast walked in the midst of the stones of fire. [15] Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day of thy creation, until iniquity was found in thee. [16] By the multitude of thy merchandise, thy inner parts were filled with iniquity, and thou hast sinned: and I cast thee out from the mountain of God, and destroyed thee, O covering cherub, out of the midst of the stones of fire. [17] And thy heart was lifted up with thy beauty: thou best lost thy wisdom in thy beauty, I have cast thee to the ground: I have set thee before the face of kings, that they might behold thee. [18] Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities, and by the iniquity of thy traffic: therefore I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, to devour thee, and I will make thee as ashes upon the earth in the sight of all that see thee. [19] All that shall see thee among the nations, shall be astonished at thee: thou art brought to nothing, and thou shalt never be any more.’”

However, below is a brief summary of an account of Satan’s rebellion towards God found in Isaiah chapter 14, he said:

    1. I will ascend unto Heaven.
    2. I will exalt my throne above the angels of God.
    3. I will sit also upon the mountain of the congregation.
    4. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.
    5. I will be like the Most High.

Instead, Satan was overthrown by God, however, he took one-third of the angels with him (Revelation 12:4). Defeated in his quest to overthrow God, he decided he would attack God by overthrowing humanity, in which he did by causing Adam and Eve to also rebel against God, after which he gained power over humanity. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world from the powers of darkness and the curse that fell upon mankind as a result of their sin of disobedience, and will save anyone who calls upon the name of Christ with a sincere heart.

By our understanding of the aforesaid, we can see that ultimately our spiritual warfare is against the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The Apostle Paul gives us this scripture in a letter he wrote to the Ephesians’ church, he states:

Ephesians 6:12 “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 12. Flesh and blood, which may either signify temptations of the flesh, or raised by mortal men. --- Principalities and powers; i.e. devils, or apostate angels, who before their fall were in such ranks of spirits, and who are permitted to rule over the wicked in this world of darkness. (Witham) --- By which we are to understand the fallen angels. For as by nature, and from their creation, they were the governors of this corporeal world, and were deprived of this their power on account of their pride, they received it (though limited by certain restrictions) in order to tempt man. (Estius) --- Rulers of the world of this darkness. By these are meant the devils who exercise their power and authority in our inferior and dark atmosphere, by raising winds, storms, tempests, etc. By darkness may be understood the wicked, in whom Satan reigns as in a citadel. (Menochius) --- Our inferior world is called dark and misty in comparison of the world above, which is always bright, serene, and clear. Our atmosphere is called the cloudy and dark heavenly. --- Against the spirits of wickedness: or wicked spirits in the air, says St. Jerome. Literally, in celestials. (Witham) --- High places. That is to say, in the air, the lowest of the celestial regions in which God permits these wicked spirits or fallen angels to wander. (Challoner)

Our battle against the devil is a battle against good and evil, the goodness and power of God against the evil and power of the devil. Therefore we are in direct conflict with the god of this world, “the devil.” He has power over the world and our flesh, through the temptations, to which we must not yield or give our consent, lest we perish. The devil is our ultimate enemy. However, we are promised the victory in Christ, if we do as he command!

John 15:10-14 “[10] If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, as I also have kept my Father’s commandments, and do remain in his love. [11] These things I have spoken to you: that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled. [12] This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. [13] Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [14] You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 10. As I also have kept my Father's commandments. He still speaks of himself, as man. (Witham) --- This frequent admonition, of keeping the commandments, proveth, that a Christian’s life consists not in faith only, but in good works. (Bristow) --- Ver. 14. You are my friends. A wonderful condescension, says St. Augustine, in our blessed Redeemer, who was God as well as man, to call such poor and sinful creatures, his friends; who, when we have done all we can, and ought, are still but unprofitable servants. I have called you my friends, because I have made known to you, etc. We can only understand these words, as St. Chrysostom takes notice, of all things which they were capable of understanding, or which it was proper to communicate to them; for, as Christ tells them in the next chapter (ver. 12.) I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. (Witham)

Reflection: Is it any wonder why Scripture says, “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). We are in conflict with our sinful fleshly lusts and desires, the world systems, and the god of this world, the devil. But, God is more powerful than all of these.

1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 4. You....little children, born anew in Christ by baptism, have overcome him, (i.e. every such antichrist) not by your own strength, but by the grace of Christ, because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world; i.e. the Spirit of God in you is above all your enemies. (Witham)

2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 17. Worketh. In the Greek, katergazetai, which the English Bible of the year 1577 falsely renders by prepareth, unwilling to allow, with the apostle, that tribulation worketh eternal glory. The ardour with which the apostle speaks is sufficient to inspire the most timid with courage. A life full of crosses, labours, persecutions, injuries, etc., he calls momentary and light, if compared with the eternal, immense, and incomprehensible glory prepared for us. (St. Augustine) --- All earthly substance, compared with the happiness of heaven, is rather a loss than a gain. This life, when put in comparison with that to come, is rather a death than life. (St. Gregory in Evangel.)

2 Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Revelation 22:20 “He that giveth testimony of these things saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

Haydock commentary: Ver. 20. He that giveth testimony of these things, i.e. God, and Jesus Christ by an Angel, saith, surely, (or even so, or truly, these are certain truths) I come quickly, to reward the good and punish the evil. To which words St. John himself replieth with a zealous prayer and earnest desire, saying, Amen, let it be so. --- Come, Lord Jesus: come, and remain always in my soul by thy grace, and make me partaker of thy glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Witham) --- Conclusion. The Church in sighs and groans, and by the mouth of her children, solicits the coming of Jesus Christ, her divine Spouse. The fruit to be drawn from the perusal of this sacred book, is ardently to desire the kingdom of God, to sigh after the day of eternity, to feel the weight of the yoke of the present life, and the disgrace of our exile, and to live here below as strangers. Enkindle in me, O Lord, this desire; enable my poor soul to join with the beloved disciple in this prayer: Come, Lord Jesus; that she may go and lose herself in Thee, who art her Centre, her God, her All.

Spiritual Warfare Prayer

Do not be afraid---I am with you! I am your God---let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you. (Isaiah 41:10)

Prayer is being in the presence of God. It is the place where pride is forgotten, hope is lifted, and supplication is made to Abba through our Lord Jesus. Prayer is the place of admitting our needs, of taking on humility, and claiming total dependence upon God.

Have you experienced the mysterious, the strange quietness of The Stillness of God in Prayer?

Not the stillness brought about by the absence of noise or of the cessation of auditory invasion, but the quietness brought about by the sealing of the ears by the Spirit of God, when we are deep in Prayer.

It is the stillness of God; the Stillness of the Holy; The stillness of the Soul; The stillness of the presence of God when we are deep in our Prayer closet. The Psalmist records God’s counsel, “Be still and know that I am God.”


Power of Prayer

Prayer

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