How to Combat Spiritual Warfare
I’m a little Type A. I’m also slightly sarcastic. But you know this already. I have a point. It’s coming. It will be here soon.
Oh, yes, when I am told to do something at which I am inexperienced, I need instructions. Step by step, tell me how to do it, on account of the Type A in me.
One subject in the Christian world where there seems to be great confusion and hocus pocus is spiritual warfare.
I mean, we hear about it. We read about it in our Bibles. We’re told we’re all in a battle that is not of flesh and blood but is somewhere out there in the 4th dimension we can’t see (Ephesians 6:12).
(Or is it the 5th dimension? I’ve never been friends with the science.)
The point is spiritual warfare is invisible and intangible and the majority of Christian instruction about it has proven unhelpful for me.
Things like “Take every thought captive to Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
What does that even mean, really? Handcuff our thoughts? I can’t deal with this ridiculous imagery.
Most people explain this verse to mean that when you have a thought, check it against scripture to see if it is true.
Ah, now that is more practical.
However, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but the Bible IS A HUGE BOOK. How can I check my every thought against thousands of pages of words, especially when I am emotional about something? I did an exercise the other day that proved helpful.
Step 1 – Don’t wait until you’re upset and begin to think unclearly to do this exercise. Be proactive and do it before you need it.
Step 2 – Write out the lies Satan baits you with most often. Off the top of your head, write them out until you can’t think of anymore. You may end up with a list of 10-20.
Step 3 – Look for similarities in the lies, and reduce the list to the Top 5 Lies Satan Gets You to Believe on a Regular Basis. Write this list on the left half of a piece of paper.
Step 4 – For each lie find a specific scripture that refutes it. The Bible is huge; there are lots of details in it. Use a Bible search engine and enter the key words from your lie to see what truths are returned about it. Sift through them and find one that speaks to your specific lie as well as your heart. If it doesn’t encourage your heart when you’re calm, it won’t encourage you when you’re emotionally involved in spiritual warfare. Write this list of scriptures on the right half of the paper, lining up each truth across from the corresponding lie.
Step 5 – KEEP THIS PAPER WITH YOU. Take a picture of it with your phone. Save the list to your computer. Post it on your fridge, in the car, everywhere you frequent.
Step 6 – When you sense Satan baiting you in one of the usual ways, look at your list, find the corresponding truth, and read it OUT LOUD. This is the model Jesus left for us; refute lies by saying, “It is written…” and quote the scripture (Matthew 4:1-10).
Step 7 – Tell Satan to leave. This is also what Jesus modeled (Matthew 4:10-11). Because the Holy Spirit – i.e., God – resides in us (1 Corinthians 3:16), we quite literally possess the same power Jesus had, also being God, to tell Satan what to do. And he must obey, not because we’re hot stuff, but because God in us is the authority over him (1 John 4:4).
Step 8 – Be aware that Satan will leave, but he will also return at a more opportune time (Luke 4:13).
I know the temptation is to think, “Huh, this is a good idea,” and close the page and not think twice about it.
Guess what? THAT WON’T HELP YOU. Do the exercise. Now.