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The Demonic Affects Us All!

Many contemporary Western Christians think we only engage in spiritual warfare when we encounter somebody who is exhibiting bizarre, demonically-inspired behavior, such as the demonized people Jesus confronted in the Gospels. Since most Western Christians rarely hear about, let alone personally encounter, such people, the concept of spiritual warfare plays little to no role in their lives.

Once we understand that people can be demonized to various degrees, we can begin to appreciate that spiritual warfare cannot be restricted to these sorts of extreme cases. Rather, spiritual warfare encompasses every area of life. Consider these biblical teachings that speak to a pervasive demonic presence in our world:

  • Whenever we try to buttress our credibility by taking oaths, Jesus says our speech “comes from the evil one” (Mt 5:37).
  • Our thought life is a battlefield. We must continually resist the enemy by striving to take every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:3-5).
  • Legalism is a doctrine inspired by demons (1 Tim 4:1-3).
  • Christians are to live life as if they are soldiers stationed on foreign soil, always focused on pleasing their commanding officer (2 Tim 2:4). As soldiers, we are involved in a constant struggle not against “flesh and blood” but against principalities and powers (Eph 6:12).
  • Christians are to live life as if they are soldiers stationed on foreign soil, always focused on pleasing their commanding officer (2 Tim 2:4). As soldiers, we are involved in a constant struggle not against “flesh and blood” but against principalities and powers (Eph 6:12).
  • Whenever we let anger simmer in our heart, we give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:26-27), and whenever we fail to forgive others, we play into Satan’s schemes (2 Cor 2:10-11).
  • When Paul was prevented from going on a missionary journey to Thessalonica, he interpreted this as Satan blocking his way (1 Thes 2:18).
  • Satan is called “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph 2:2), the “prince” of this world (Jn 12:31, 14:31, 16:11) and the “god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4) who controls “the whole world” (1 Jn 5:19). He owns all the authority of the world governments and gives it to whomever he wishes (Lk 4:5-7). This implies that the world outside the kingdom of God is, for all intents and purposes, owned and operated by Satan.
  • The NT views all infirmities as being ultimately due to the oppressive work of Satan (Lk 13:11ff).

From this small sampling of passages, it’s clear that spiritual warfare is not an activity that’s limited to freeing overtly demonized people. Rather, our entire life is engulfed in spiritual warfare. We live in the middle of a spiritual battlefield. Though the vast majority of Westerners are completely unaware of it, there are, if you will, spiritual bombs and grenades going off all around us. Our job as Kingdom people is to remain aware of this warfare and to continually seek to please our “commanding officer” by carrying out his directives.

Image by TumblingRun via Flickr

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