Spiritual Warfare Inspirational Stories

Welcome to the Spiritual Warfare Inspirational Stories and tips page. To understand the battle of spiritual warfare, we need to begin with acknowledging that we are in a war. Battles make up smaller components of the bigger picture. By definition, battles involve combat between two persons, between factions, between armies and they consist of any type of "extended contest, struggle, or controversy" (Webster-Merriam).  As Christians, we are in a spiritual battle of some sort on a daily basis. In warfare, battles are fought on different fronts, for different reasons, and with varying degrees of intensity. The same is true in spiritual warfare. Our spiritual battles and warfare are real, even though we cannot physically see the attacker. But, we can educate ourselves on how the battles are fought and how they impact our lives on a daily basis.

We have to ask ourselves, “Why do we even want to fight?” It will do us no good to educate ourselves on the battle if we see no reason for the fight. War is very controversial today in the physical realm. Those attitudes, beliefs and convictions will transfer over to the spiritual realm. However, in the spiritual realm, there is a battle going on regardless of our opinion. We are either victors or victims. Jesus has come and conquered. The war is already won in the heavens.

Jesus told us in Matthew 28:18 that, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” We now have the privilege of having an eternal relationship with God. Many of us enter into that covenant of salvation by grace.  But the Matthew 28:18 verse is not only about our salvation; it is also about our every day victory, which adds up to victorious living in Christ. Every day victory is achieved by knowing, believing and understanding the battles that we are enduring daily, regardless if we are passive or active in the battles.

Do you want all that God has for you on this earth right now, or do you want to wait until you get to heaven to receive the victory and blessings?

This Bible study on Understanding the Battle of Spiritual Warfare will give us a foundation on where, how and what the battles look like in our lives. We are going to examine three main areas of where the battles are fought: the Spiritual Battle, the Worldly Battle, and the Battle Within Us. We will review and discuss what the Bible says regarding these areas and will learn how to apply the scriptures to our personal lives to bring victory over these battles. It begins with learning the truth of God's Word and dispelling the lies of the enemy.

The Face of Spiritual Warfare & Five External Tactics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a chaotic world we are living in with uncertain answers in life, we are left with confusion, sometimes panic, sometimes a loss of words and thousands of other emotins and feelings. The common denominator in a world uncertain of it's direction is that of Spiritual Warfare....... whether we are aware of it or not, it finds it's way into our life on some aspect. The question we'd like to ask you all, is do you know how to handle it? Are you wearing your amor? Are you awake and on guard watching to see where satan strikes next? Tonight's article is the testimonial of 4 woman in ministry who have faced Spirtual Warfare head on and came out victorious as they always kept GOD on their side in the battle. They knew without GOD being there in battle with them the outcome might have been very different. We hear from these women as they tell about their survival stories with GOD getting them to being victorious in times where had they gone in alone, that victory very well may have been lost.

 

We will also be including some bonus content tonight called Five External Tactics which can be found at the bottom of the main content. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Now............ Let's get started.

 

"In an effort to give you a close up of what spiritual warfare looks like in modern-day life, four women – a couple of missionaries, a pastor’s wife, and a woman in leadership – candidly share very different personal experiences with spiritual warfare in their own lives, and how they have successfully battled against the attacks of their unseen enemy."

The Face of Spiritual Warfare

In an effort to give you a close up of what spiritual warfare looks like in modern-day life, four women – a couple of missionaries, a pastor’s wife, and a woman in leadership – candidly share very different personal experiences with spiritual warfare in their own lives, and how they have successfully battled against the attacks of their unseen enemy.

 

A Mission Field Encounter by Jean Robinson (Veteran Missionary)

 

It was one of those beautiful moonlit nights in the very center of Africa, when the stars shine so bright that you feel as if you could reach out and touch them. The girls in the mission boarding home were having a sleep-out in the middle of their compound; and like all young girls everywhere, they talked long into the hours of the night.

 

Nearby a very young, inexperienced missionary woman slept soundly in her house. Suddenly she was awakened by a voice calling for her to come quickly to deal with an emergency in the girls’ compound. Throwing on a robe, she followed the caretaker down the path to see what the problem was. She came upon a scene like one out of the Bible. A young girl was thrashing around on the ground with super-human strength, yelling out obscenities with a voice not her own. It took the combined strength of all of the other girls to pin her down and keep her from throwing herself into the fire.

 

I was that young missionary who had been called to help out in this situation. Never did I feel more helpless. I realized that this was a battle, not with flesh and blood but against the powers of darkness of this world, the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies. My heart cried out to the Lord for His help. He reminded me of something one of my professors at Bible school had said: “After you get out to the mission field, and when (not if) you encounter spiritual warfare in one form or another... remember that while you are weak and powerless, all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Christ. You can claim His authority and the power of His name and blood over the evil forces.”

 

So, that is what I did. I remember praying for that girl, and claiming the power of Christ’s name and blood for deliverance for her. As I did, she let out a horrible scream as the demon left her body, and then she fell into a deep, child-like sleep. Then, sometime later, that girl told me the history of her family. For many generations they had been Satan worshippers and had given themselves to demonic forces to be at work in and through them. The deliverance was a wonderful demonstration of the power of God that is always at our disposal. It was a good lesson for me to learn at the very beginning of my missionary career.

 

Later on, I worked among people who had been worshippers of the spirit-world. They were especially fearful of evil spirits. A large granite rock stood in the center of the area we lived in. This was the home of the much-feared “spirit of the rain.” It was next to this rock that the pioneer missionaries chose to build the mission station of Adi as the base for getting the gospel out among the Kakwa tribe.The Africans were appalled! Didn’t these white people know that if they desecrated that rock, the spirit of the rock would withhold the rains from all of the surrounding area, causing a widespread famine? It had been on that rock that the Kakwa people offered sacrifices to the rain-spirit, and even lacerated their own bodies, causing their blood to flow, to appease him. He was not one to be trifled with! They would watch the white people very closely and fearfully.

 

And so those pioneers of the gospel met on that rock, and prayed that the true God would break through the powers of darkness, and that the light of the gospel would someday shine brightly from that center to all the area around them. When I lived there at Adi, we would walk to that rock on Easter Sunday (together with hundreds of our Kakwa brothers and sisters in Christ) and praise Him for His resurrection power that had set us free from the power of sin and the fear of death.

 

But Satan didn’t give up his hold on that area or those people easily. During the ensuing years of my life in Africa, I was confronted with spiritual warfare in one form or another. While not quite as dramatic as my first encounter, the situations were nevertheless always very intense. I felt the onslaught of the evil one in many different ways. Always his goal was to hinder the spread of the gospel.

 

Some of the ways Satan attacked included:

  • Continued spirit worship, practice and fears on the part of many of the people.

  • Civil war, rebellion, slaughter, and evacuations, such as is going on in the Congo today.

  • Many personal encounters with drunken soldiers and their guns along the roads and pathways.

  • Border and travel difficulties through Idi Amin’s territory in Uganda at the height of his reign and power.

  • Life-threatening illnesses that attacked my family members and myself with no medical help nearby.

  • The sudden death of my husband.

 

But through it all, I found Christ’s grace, strength, power and victory to be sufficient.

Thank God we don’t have to fight these battles alone, but victory is ours through Jesus Christ, as we put on the whole armor of God, each part of which is really just a picture of Christ. I believe Rom. 13:14 sums it all up: “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” In Him, we have all we need, and we can be victorious over the attacks of the enemy. I can testify to the truth of that during my 42 years in Africa!

 

Battling The Enemy Within by Vicki Fleming (Ministry Wife/Leader)

 

Because I have a vivid imagination, I like to think of my unseen enemies as sinister, creepy-looking villains like extras in a low-budget horror film. Imagine my surprise, then, when the Lord gave me a glimpse of one foul creature, and the face was mine!

 

Supernatural forces can work against anyone in ministry; but I make the job easier for those working against me by just being me. The Bible calls this “walking in the flesh.” The Lord’s road is long yet scenic, and is called “walking in the Spirit.” It’s long for me because, being rather fond of my flesh walk, I tend to let go of it slowly. It’s scenic because the view from the Spirit’s road is beautiful though rough, yet God says this way is the only one that leads to spiritual freedom.

 

As the Lord invites me to move up higher with Him, I see three places where I allow myself to be robbed of the joy of His Spirit: fear, which robs me of my peace; greed, which robs me of my contentment; and apathy, which robs me of my passion.

 

About facing fear, Isaiah 42:16 says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.” When I hear those words, I nod and smile; but when the Lord allows me to walk with Him in the dark I want to tell Him that He’s taken the wrong road, as if He doesn’t know where we are! I’m afraid that He won’t turn the darkness into light and that I’ll fall head first down a steep embankment. It’s then that fear makes me want to return to something I know; and I freeze, unable to move on with the Lord. Slowly, however, He teaches me to stand, then walk, then even run a little over some very rough ground. Is the road getting smoother? Is He making me more sure-footed? I begin to notice the light that only He can provide, and I see things I couldn’t see without Him. Peace replaces fear and I experience real joy.

 

Then there is greed. People in ministry seldom look for greed in their lives. I mean – really? No one makes enough money to buy expensive cars, grand houses or designer clothes. So what is greed? Greed is simply wanting more than we need; and since Philippians 4:19 says that “my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” I must be wanting that which God has not provided. Ouch!! I don’t think this means that we must never long to own a home, or that it’s wrong to pray that the Lord replaces our rusted-out car; but it is wrong when our desires rob us of contentment. It’s greed, then, that tells me I can’t be filled with joy because I don’t have what I desire.

 

Finally, it is my apathy that robs me of my passion for Jesus Christ. It’s not that I don’t care. I care a lot; but what I care about can be easily misdirected. When I first came to know Christ’s saving love, I wanted to live there forever, enjoying His presence and telling a lost world about Him. I wanted to lay my belongings and family and future on the line for the gospel. How did it become so easy to trade that passion in for programs? Oh, I still care, but I’ve calmed down and “matured” and begun a love affair with programs. I spend months planning them – and minutes praying about them. I’ve learned to perfect programs to meet the needs of the people, but sometimes the programs become the focus while the people become a blur. My love affair with programs is measured by how strongly I feel when someone tries to change them or interrupts the process.

 

So what am I to do? How do I shed this flesh walk when I’ve woven it so carefully into my Christianity? I believe that I must go to God’s Word, perhaps Psalm 51, and ask the Lord to meet me there. I must ask the Holy Spirit to cut those things out of my life that keep me from walking in the Spirit; and to do it, please, with love and compassion. I must ask Him to “Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Only then will the Lord “restore the joy of my salvation;” enabling me to walk in peace, resting in contentment and finally restoring my passion for Him.

 

Assault On The Physical by Debbie Fortnum (Pastor’s Wife/Worship Leader)

 

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

Early in January 1980, I chose that hymn as my theme song for the new year. Little did I know how the Lord would use it as a means of comfort and as an incentive to trustful surrender for me and my family through the dark and difficult time we were about to face.

Later that month, what at first appeared to be a mere case of the flu turned out to be the beginning stages of an extremely painful and physically restricting illness that plagued me and perplexed doctors for the next three years. From the very beginning, my spine and muscles were affected. At times the pain was so intense that my family had to be careful when they hugged me. Within six months my vision deteriorated, and soon I had to use a magnifying glass to read.

 

Believers from several local congregations held a special time of fasting and prayer for me, but nothing happened. Elders and pastors from different local churches gathered for prayer and anointing. Still nothing. Much prayer was made on my behalf, but there was no physical improvement.

 

Various specialists and tests in two major hospitals brought us time and again to the same conclusion – nothing. The problem was obvious, but when it came to pinning down the cause we were batting zero.

 

I became totally dependent on God’s supply of strength and grace which He offered me daily. And then it happened. The songs of worship and praise started to flow out of me. Since I couldn’t physically do much more than sit at my piano and sing or read God’s Word, I began to develop an incredible intimate relationship with God. My love for Him grew deep as I would prop up my Bible on the piano and literally sing the Word and worship Him for hours.

 

Three years had passed and my condition was worsening. We were encouraged when we were able to enlist the services of a committed Christian doctor. For the very first time in our lives we experienced the support of a medical man who held our hands as he led us in prayer, seeking the wisdom and skill of the Great Physician.

 

On January 31, 1983, my eyes were tested again. The doctor declared me legally blind. My heart sank!

 

Shortly afterwards, I asked my mother to read to me from Psalm 91. No one knew at the time how beautifully God was preparing my heart for what was to take place later that night. “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of... the pestilence that stalks in the darkness... Because (she) has loved Me, therefore I will deliver (her)” (verses 5, 6, 14 ).

 

In the middle of the night, I awakened my mother in fear – something that I had never done before. We went back to my room together and prayed. Sometime later, unable to sleep, I began to sense the evil presence of the enemy, and then saw a dark, gray cloud in the corner of my bedroom. Suddenly, an overwhelming sense of faith welled up inside of me, and I sat up in bed and declared in a loud voice, “Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to get off my back and stop plaguing me – I am a child of God!” The evil presence promptly left. I began to quietly and joyfully worship the Lord. Then, almost as if a plug was pulled out at the bottom of my feet, I felt the pain literally drain out of my body. For the first time in three years, there was no pain!

 

Looking back almost 18 years, I realize that this whole thing started just prior to the missions conference that marked the first anniversary of the call of God on my life to serve Him full time – a fire that continues to burn in my heart as the wife of a senior pastor and a minister of worship. I can well understand the enemy’s strategy in attempting to prevent me from following that call. Not only did this painful experience give me a keen sensitivity to the hurts and needs of others, but it also developed the kind of faith that always steers me to the truth that even though the enemy always means it for evil, God means it for good. He sees the entire jigsaw while we can only see the one little puzzle piece in our hands! Healing is not everyone’s experience, but it was mine. Some have been healed much sooner. Some have waited much longer. Some are still waiting, but through this God has taught me that I exist for His purpose.

 

If His purpose is facilitated by pain, then pain is a blessed thing. I am convinced that pain became His life-changing tool to sculpt me into the likeness of Jesus. I am also convinced that God used the soil of pain to cultivate lifestyle worship in me. My prayer for us all is that we would be able to accept the words of the hymn writer, “Whatever my lot... it is well with my soul!”

 

Bended Knees & Battle Scars by Elizabeth G. Musser (Missionary)

 

I stared at the thermometer. My two-year- old had a 104 fever. Just five minutes earlier, my four-year-old’s temperature also had registered 104. I was used to high fevers, and I knew what to do; but on this Friday morning in March, fevers didn’t fit into my schedule.

 For months we had been planning and praying for the Billy Graham Crusade that was to take place in Germany. Twelve other European countries would air the event each night via satellite, and our small church in Montpellier, France had worked hard to have all the right equipment.

 

This weekend was already overflowing with ministry. After each broadcast, my husband and I would be involved in counseling individuals who expressed interest in spiritual matters. Additionally, we had invited different friends throughout the weekend to eat with us and then attend the meetings. These were friends who did not know Jesus; friends for whom we had prayed for years. I thought of all the food I had fixed ahead of time just to be ready for this weekend. Six people were to be at our house tonight and now both boys had high fevers. “What do I do, Lord?”

 

If you’ve ever found yourself in the middle of a spiritual battle, you’ll know I felt the powers of darkness aligned against me. I don’t cry “Satan’” every time my kids are sick. But that day, with so many prayers and hopes focused on these few nights, I knew the battle was raging around us. The enemy did not want our friends to hear the gospel. Relief surged through me as I recalled David facing Goliath against formidable odds, yet remaining steadfast in his faith in God as he proclaimed to the Philistine, “the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam. 17:47). Then the Lord reminded me of the hundreds of people who were praying for us, specifically interceding for this Crusade. I was greatly encouraged.

 

Often we are totally unaware of the spiritual warfare that surrounds us. I rarely thought about the spiritual battle affecting me until I became a missionary in France as a young, single woman. But once there, the atmosphere around me and my teammates seemed oppressive and dark. Unexplained occurrences frightened us. Just before we expected six young women for our first Bible study, a window in our apartment broke for no apparent reason. Another time, we screamed in fear as we were awakened in the night by an unearthly, satanic presence hanging over us; and the believers in our tiny church seemed constantly plagued by profound, disturbing problems. We felt homesick and lonely, and depression threatened us. Being new, young missionaries, we felt unprepared for these frightening events.

 

Then, remembering that the battle was the Lord’s, we stood in a circle in each room of each of our apartments and prayed that Jesus’ blood would cover our homes and protect us from evil. We prayed every time before we stepped into the open markets to tell of our faith, and we prayed beside the heartbroken brothers and sisters in Christ whose loved ones had been snatched away without warning. When I’d be tempted to think that all we did was pray, the Lord reminded me again and again that prayer was our best defense against the enemy’s weapons.

 

The passage in Ephesians 6 concerning spiritual warfare not only reminds us to put on the full armor of God, but “with all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit and...be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

 

It has been said that the best defense is a good offense. When Paul exhorts us to pray at all times in the Spirit, he’s reminding me to do likewise as I prepare for whatever ministry I’m involved in. When we pray, we acknowledge our weakness and our dependence on God, realizing that He sees all, knows all and controls all is never overwhelmed or taken by surprise. What freedom this brings!

 

Next, we must be aware of the spiritual battle around us. Scripture tells us to be on the alert against Satan’s attacks because he knows only too well where our weak spot lies. If we’re busy about the Lord’s work, perhaps especially in leadership positions, Scripture assures us that he’ll take aim and the battle will rage. During those times, however, we should not feel alone, remembering that Jesus is interceding for and along with us, as well as others whom He has prompted also to intercede.

 

How many times have I stumbled along in the battle, on my own, forgetting to arm myself through prayer? Even now, years after I first stepped onto foreign soil, I sometimes catch myself feeling totally overwhelmed by circumstances, problems and evil in this world. That’s when the Spirit nudges me again to pray. And peace comes back. I remember who is in control. The battle is the Lord’s.

 

I survived that weekend in March. Yes, I was a bit battle-weary and exhausted; but spiritually, God had renewed my strength. We were praying; others were praying; Jesus was interceding. And I remembered who was in control. The battle was indeed, the Lord’s!

 

Bonus content

 

FIVE EXTERNAL TACTICS


Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. Matthew 26:3-4


In the New Testament we see Satan using five external tactics against the church: rulers, priests, merchants, mobs and families—and of course, these often occurred in combinations. The followers of Jesus tend to unite the enemies of Jesus, so that quite unlikely alliances can be created. Jesus himself saw this when the Pharisees and the Herodians—two groups that never spoke to each other—got together to plot his assassination after he healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath (Mark 3:6).


It is surprising to some that the rulers are not the biggest persecutors of Christians in the New Testament. That dubious honor falls to the Jewish priestly caste. But there is no doubt that strong opposition came from the rulers. Pontius Pilate was complicit in the death of Jesus; Herod Agrippa killed the apostle James in Jerusalem (Acts 12:2); and of course Nero initiated a terrible persecution against the Christians of Rome in AD 64—the community most think Mark’s gospel was written to encourage.


Though it was Pilate’s order, it was really the Jewish high priest who pushed Pilate into giving the order for the crucifixion when he was inclined to let Jesus go (see John 18:31), and tried to accomplish this by arranging a crowd clemency scene. All throughout his ministry, Jesus’ bitterest enemies were the priests. And so it proved for the early church. The first flogging of Christians was administered under the auspices of the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:40), and the first martyrdom of a Christian (Stephen) was carried out by enraged clerics (Acts 7:54-59). And so it continued also for Paul, the main character of the early church, ironically a former Pharisee and a witness to the stoning of Stephen.


But it is a sad fact that the class threatened most by radical Christian faith is the clerical class, whether of one’s own religious persuasion or of a rival one. This is not to say all clerics are persecutors. Many Pharisees became followers of Jesus, and some, like Nicodemus and Simon, were the very model of courtesy and open-mindedness. Nevertheless, in the history of the church, other “believers” have perpetrated most violence on Christians.


RESPONSE:
Satan uses external as well as internal tactics to attack the advance of the Kingdom of God.


PRAYER:
Lord, help me show love to other “believers” who do not hear Your voice but are used as tools of the enemy.

Screenshot_2021-05-04 The Face of Spirit

To understand the battle of spiritual warfare, we need to begin with acknowledging that we are in a war. Battles make up smaller components of the bigger picture. By definition, battles involve combat between two persons, between factions, between armies and they consist of any type of "extended contest, struggle, or controversy" (Webster-Merriam).  As Christians, we are in a spiritual battle of some sort on a daily basis. In warfare, battles are fought on different fronts, for different reasons, and with varying degrees of intensity. The same is true in spiritual warfare. Our spiritual battles and warfare are real, even though we cannot physically see the attacker. But, we can educate ourselves on how the battles are fought and how they impact our lives on a daily basis.

We have to ask ourselves, “Why do we even want to fight?” It will do us no good to educate ourselves on the battle if we see no reason for the fight. War is very controversial today in the physical realm. Those attitudes, beliefs and convictions will transfer over to the spiritual realm. However, in the spiritual realm, there is a battle going on regardless of our opinion. We are either victors or victims. Jesus has come and conquered. The war is already won in the heavens.

Jesus told us in Matthew 28:18 that, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” We now have the privilege of having an eternal relationship with God. Many of us enter into that covenant of salvation by grace.  But the Matthew 28:18 verse is not only about our salvation; it is also about our every day victory, which adds up to victorious living in Christ. Every day victory is achieved by knowing, believing and understanding the battles that we are enduring daily, regardless if we are passive or active in the battles.

Do you want all that God has for you on this earth right now, or do you want to wait until you get to heaven to receive the victory and blessings?

This Bible study on Understanding the Battle of Spiritual Warfare will give us a foundation on where, how and what the battles look like in our lives. We are going to examine three main areas of where the battles are fought: the Spiritual Battle, the Worldly Battle, and the Battle Within Us. We will review and discuss what the Bible says regarding these areas and will learn how to apply the scriptures to our personal lives to bring victory over these battles. It begins with learning the truth of God's Word and dispelling the lies of the enemy.

Part I: The Spiritual Battle

How do we know that there is a spiritual realm? If we cannot see it, should we believe in it? Many believers and unbelievers today do not want to “deal” with a world we cannot see when the world we do see is hard enough to “deal” with. Before we can discuss the spiritual battle, we have to believe in the spiritual realm. We have a tendency to act like a two-year-old child who closes her eyes and places a blanket over her head, really believing that no one can see her because she cannot see them. Just because we cannot see the spiritual realm does not mean it is not there.

Keith Green, a Christian song writer, wrote, “I [Satan] used to have to sneak around. But now they just open their doors. No one’s looking for my tricks because no one believes in me any more.” However, if we choose to ignore or not believe in the spiritual realm, we will find ourselves confused, frustrated, and quenching the peace that God has promised to each of us. The best defense is a strong offense. Just educating ourselves about the spiritual realm is half the fight and God gives us everything else we need to be victorious with the other half.

Question 1: What words used in the verses below describe the spiritual realm and its invisible components?

 

  • Nehemiah 9:6

  • Luke 2:13-15

  • Ephesians 6:12

  • Colossians 1:15-16   


According to Hebrews 11:3, what is required for us to believe?

What does that mean to you?

We all have an innate sense that there is more than what the eye can see. However, since we do not see it, we often fail to believe in it. If we do not believe in it, then we cannot  be aware of all that is going on, for and against us. Whether we choose to believe in the existence of spiritual beings and places does not change the fact of their existence and their activities. Let’s step back a minute to assess what we do believe. As Christians, it took faith to believe in Jesus Christ. We cannot see Him but we believe that He died on the cross for our sins. We believe that God raised Him from the dead and we believe that He alone is the source of our eternal salvation.

All those beliefs are not physically seen by us today. We believe Jesus accomplished these things in the spiritual realm when He lived in the physical realm on earth. We know that we, too, need to believe in this physical realm to be welcomed into His spiritual realm. Thus, it is faith that confirms to our hearts that we will be going to a very real place called heaven some day. The Bible is filled with references to the heavenly realm or a place that is invisible to our eyes physically today, yet very real in its existence. We believe with the eyes of our heart, instead of with the eyes in our head. There have been others who were able to see with their physical eyes into the spiritual realm.

Question 2: From the following Biblical examples, describe the scene. What is taking place in each situation?

 

  • 2 Kings 6:11-17

  • Daniel 10:7-17


The stories above represent two different scenarios of activity that are taking place in the invisible realm around us. God allowed these men to bridge the gap in the physical realm to see into the spiritual realm. The Lord opened the eyes of Elisha's servant to see the host of God's army. His spiritual eyes were opened to see into the spiritual warfare around him. And only Daniel saw the angel standing before him as everyone else felt the "terror" and fled from the scene. Daniel was granted an access to see, hear and speak spiritually, as he could communicate with the angel.         

These examples clearly demonstrate the workings of an invisible spiritual realm around us. The Lord is with us and provides for us through His angels as He chooses. The Lord loves us and protects us physically as He works it out spiritually. However, we must be extremely careful of not delving into this place with the wrong motives. The Bible explicitly warns against the practice of spiritual fascinations. Just as the agents of God exist in this invisible place, so do the agents of Satan. The demonic forces want to lure us into their deceptions of power and supernatural activities. Witchcraft, horoscopes and psychic phenomenon can seem innocent on the surface yet are a dangerous influence causing great harm to those who get involved.

Question 3: There are those who believe that fortune telling, horoscopes and ouija boards are harmless fun, but what does the Bible say?

 

  • Leviticus 19:26-31

  • Deuteronomy 18:9-14


Have you ever been involved or participated in these types of activities? Discuss what happened and how it started.

We have learned in this first section that the spiritual realm, these invisible or unseen forces, is real. If we believe in Jesus Christ, then we believe that He died to conquer the works of the devil to set us free. There would have been no need to come to die for us if this is all there is. There are forces, both angelic and demonic, that are actively working around us. There is evil that we fight in our spiritual warfare. Jesus told us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. He told us that the gates of hell will not prevail against the work that God has purposed for us to accomplish, as His will is being worked out in our lives.

But we do hit opposition. We need to understand that the battle is not against flesh and blood but against powers in the heavenly places. As we begin to get a revelation of the spiritual warfare, we will begin to understand how the enemy moves against us in the physical realm.

Job is a perfect example of a spiritual conflict that was manifested in the physical form. Job was a real human being living here on earth, but the Bible gives us a clear look at what was happening concerning Job’s life in the spiritual realm. God looked upon Job as a righteous man but, because Satan wanted to prove God wrong, Job became the victim of Satan’s attacks. Job’s family, finances and home were destroyed and his health and friends turned against him. Job experienced very real physical and circumstantial conflicts because of the conflict in the spiritual realm. Job also became the victor because of his faithfulness to God in words and actions throughout the trial. His victory was spiritual, physical and material…on earth as it is in heaven.

In the next section, we need to examine more closely the Worldly Battle. Why is the planet or the world in a battle in the first place? What factors play a role in this battle in our physical lives? Is there anything that we can do on this large scale?

Part II: The Worldly Battle

The Strong’s Greek and Hebrew dictionary defines the “world” as the “earth (as moist and therefore inhabited); by extensive the globe; by implication its inhabitants; specifically a participle land, as Babylonia, Palestine :- habitable part, world.” The world is where people dwell. So the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2) refers to how the people collectively choose to live on the earth. We, as believers, are told to not conform to the norms of how others live but to live to please God, who is not of this world. Jesus said in John 17:14-16, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” So, we are called to live in the world but not be a part of the world. Let’s study this passage more closely to understand what the Lord desires from us.

Question 4: In John 17, Jesus gives a clear message through His prayer to the Father about the seriousness of our lives in this "world." From the text below, circle the word "world" and underline (or highlight) every reference to Jesus or God the Father.

  “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will[believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:6-26)

 

  • What does verse 14 say about the world and us?

  • What does Jesus ask on our behalf in verse 15?

 

  • What is the main point of Jesus' prayer for us (verse 21)?

 

  • In your own words, how would you describe the Christian' s place in this world?


After reading John 17, it becomes clear that if we are in the world but not of the world, we are going to have conflicts. Those conflicts are spiritual warfare. Why? Because the physical manifestations of the world, such as the trees, the ocean, and the sky are not the problem. It is the forces that control the world that are in conflict with God. We, as Christians, are God’s children. Thus, if the world is in conflict with God, the world is also in conflict with us. The prayer of John 17 expresses the heart of Jesus, as He knows the battles that we will face in this world. The world hates those who follow Jesus. We are not called to be of the world, or worldly, but we are sent in to the world to be a witness of Jesus Christ.

This is a miraculous calling and it takes the miracle of the Holy Spirit living in us to fulfill it. It also takes training to discern between the ways of God and the ways of the world. Because we are born into this world, we naturally think according to it. We have to be transformed to understand God’s ways instead (Romans 12:3). God’s ways are not natural to us. We constantly need to crucify our natural inclinations and desires to receive all that God has for us.

God’s gifts are far greater as they are filled with love, joy and peace than what the world offers. The world promises instant satisfaction and pleasures that fulfill the desires of our flesh, a tempting offer but one that Christians must be constantly on guard against. Jesus understood the temptations of the world. He knew that Satan would use every kind of enticement possible to lure man's heart away from God. Jesus also knew how difficult it would be for those who believe in Him but do not remain faithful due to the cares of the world.

Question 5: Look up Mark 4:1-20 to answer the following questions.

What is being sown? See verse 14.

Briefly describe the scenarios of how the seed is sown and what happens to each.

How does the world influence a new believer and what is the result? See verse 19.

The battles of spiritual warfare are intense when a person decides to accept Jesus as their Savior. The enemy will attack from all angles, hoping to dissuade the person from fully giving their heart to Jesus. He will use circumstances, events, people, things and even doubt in their minds to steal their heart back to his ways. The seeds that are sown in people's hearts will either take root on good soil, which is a heart fully surrendered to the Lord. Or, they will be sown in places where the word is snatched away from them until they fall away. These types of battles are fought in the world but involve the spiritual forces of darkness that exist in the invisible realm around us.

Once we are made aware of the world's influences and how they are in contrast to God's ways, we must then learn how to operate in the world as a true follower of Christ. It is one thing to be naive to the world's deceptions, claiming innocence by ignorance, but once the truth is revealed, we have a responsibility to obey the Lord's directions for us.

Question 6: What does James 4:1-4 say about our relationship with the world? How can you personally apply this verse to your life?


Part III: The Spiritual Battle Within Us

For some of us, the hardest battles of spiritual warfare are fought within ourselves. We can understand the circumstances and situations that the enemy uses to destroy us. We can accept the truth of how the world lures and tempts us. We can understand to some degree that the battle in the spiritual realm is ongoing and real, even though we cannot see it. But, to get a grasp on what is going on within our own hearts and minds can be the hardest, most exhausting, battle of them all.

In this section, we are going to explore what the Bible teaches about the war within us, the constant struggle between flesh and spirit. Our battle with sin “wars” within our members.

Question 7: To begin to examine the battle within us we must first understand its nature. The desires of the flesh are part of our human nature and its history goes back to the beginning of time, as we know it.

Describe the setting in which the word "sin" is first used in the Bible. See Genesis 4:3-7.

What was God's warning to Cain?

Have you ever felt that overwhelming desire within you to let sin master over you? We make decisions according to how we think, feel and want. So, at times, we find ourselves struggling with anger, bitterness and hatred leading us into areas of temptation. But God tells us to fight against those sinful feelings. We must learn to fight against the very nature within us. Paul tells us to put off the old nature and put on the new man (Colossians 3:8-13). The Lord has given us His Spirit who will empower us to overcome but we must be willing to allow Him the authority to be in control of our emotions and behaviors.

Question 8: From the following verses, describe the battle of flesh versus spirit.

 

  • Matthew 26:41

  • Romans 7:14-20

  • Galatians 5:16-17


How do these examples reflect similar situations in your life?

We suffer in our flesh, whether we feed its desires or deny its pleasures. We are constantly battling between what we want to do versus what we know the Lord wants us to do. "All have sinned and fall short" but the blood of Christ has saved us from destruction. The battle is waged because we are given the power to overcome sin's grasps. There is no battle when there is no opposing side. It takes two to fight. When we are dead in our trespasses, there is no spiritual battle within us because there is no spiritual life. The Spirit of God brings us to life spiritually, yet we live in these bodies of flesh that still have a sinful nature. Thus, the battle rages in the lives of believers but the victory is assured because we are in Christ.

Question 9: From 1 Peter 4:1-6, answer the following questions:

What is the advantage of suffering in the flesh?

Describe the sins of the past (of the Gentiles).

What happens when we decide to follow the will of God? See verse 4.

At this point, we have to ask ourselves a few questions like “Is Christianity about fighting and suffering or about love and joy? Isn’t the Christian life about peace? Didn’t Jesus do it all so I would not have to? Do I really have to think this much about my faith when it only took one prayer to be saved?” Even if most Christians do not conscientiously ask these questions, their lives reflect the answer. The Christian life is not passive. Jesus told us in Luke 9:23, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Christians are not living the abundant life of love, joy, and peace because they are unaware of how to maintain and claim those promises. Jesus promised us an abundant life that starts here on earth. Until we understand the forces that are against us, and are prepared to fight for what is rightfully ours, we will not be able to receive all that God has for us.

Jesus Christ came to earth in the flesh. He lived a life of much suffering as He denied the desires of His flesh and the temptations of the enemy. Our flesh will suffer just like Jesus but we can be victorious just like Jesus. The victory may not look the same as defined by the world, but nothing compares to a life that is victorious in the ways of God. Think about it: Don’t you want the desires of your heart fulfilled? Don’t you want to know that God heard your prayers and then answered them? Don’t you desire to be all that God wants you to be because He is so good that He only gives you good things? And don’t you want to have all that God wants you to have because He wants the best for you? Don’t you want to do even greater things than Jesus did because you know the Lord and love Him?

If you answered, “Yes. Oh Lord, help me, change me, send me. Don’t let anything prevent me from being all that You want me to be or from receiving all that You want me to receive.” Then, you have to accept that there are forces set against you to prevent you from having any of theses things fulfilled in you. And we must fight those forces in the spiritual realm, worldly realm and within ourselves.

Question 10: What have you learned in this lesson regarding the spiritual warfare and battles in your life? How will you apply what you have learned to your life?
Pray over Spiritual Warfare:

Lord, there are parts of me that do not want to understand the spiritual realm because it seems too scary and too foreign. However, I do realize that I am not where You want me to be. I want to understand what it takes to be victorious. So I ask that You will give me a discerning spirit and I ask that I can be equipped to become victorious. Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear and then, change me for eternal purposes.

In Jesus Christ name, I pray,

Amen

                              Water, Spirit, Fire: The Three Baptisms of Christianity by Marissa Baker

How many times have you been baptized?

Scripture talks about baptism — full immersion in water — as a first step in believers’ walks of faith. It’s an outward sign of our identification with God’s people and our commitment to leave our old lives behind. Some church groups stop there, some sprinkle people from a baptismal instead, and Messianics continue to mikvah on a semi-regular basis.

I thought practicing mikvah once a year (more or less) was an odd idea when I started attending a Messianic group. Part of me still does, though I don’t really see anything wrong with it. However, while we are supposed to undergo water baptism at least once, it doesn’t stop there. When Scripture talks about multiple baptisms they’re not all done with water. Here’s what John the Baptist said about the baptism he was doing and the baptisms Messiah would do:

I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I am, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matt. 3:11

Water, spirit, and fire — those are the three baptisms that John tells us believers in Jesus will go through. I think this is what the writer of Hebrews means when he describes “the doctrine of baptisms” (plural) as a foundation of Christianity (Heb. 6:1-2).

Water

The baptism of water is the easiest to study. We have multiple examples of it in the gospels and throughout Acts. When someone became a believer in Jesus as the Messiah, they were baptized in His name. It was the next step after repentance as part of their commitment to follow His teachings.

Baptism in water acts as a sign that we’re committing to Christ and identifying with His people. It also serves a symbolic purpose that Paul talks about in his letter to the Romans.

  Or don’t you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:3-4

When we’re baptized, we put our “body of sin” into the grave as if “our old man was crucified with” Jesus (Rom. 6:6). Coming up out of the water aligns you with His resurrection. Now, you’re ready to live a new life as a servant of God. You’re also ready for the next baptism, which gives you what you need to keep following God.

Spirit

After Christ’s water baptism, the spirit of God descended on Him in the form of a dove (Matt. 3:16). Peter tells us that new believers’ baptisms follow a similar pattern: “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, WEB). There are exceptions recorded (Acts 10:44-48), but for most people water baptism is followed by spirit baptism.

The spirit of God is a precious gift. It’s God’s mind connecting with our’s making it possible for us to understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:9-16). Baptism in water prepares us to walk in newness of life, but it’s baptism of the spirit that actually lets us do that.

  Those who are in the flesh can’t please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. … as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. Rom. 8:8-9, 14

Once we commit to following God with water baptism, God commits to making us His children with spiritual baptism. We dunk ourselves in water and He washes us with His spirit, beginning a life-long process of us walking in the spirit.

Fire

Fire in the Bible is often referred to as a refining force. It heats up metal for purification and it burns off wrong things we’re building in our lives. Paul says that fire will reveal what each of us has been building on the foundation, which is Jesus Christ. Sometimes what we’re building comes through the fire intact, passing the test. Other times “If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:10-15). The fire is meant for our good, checking us to make sure we remain in the spirit and building us up to become like Jesus.

Right after His water and spirit baptisms, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” Matt. 4:1. Like our Savior, we have to face temptations and trials as part of our walk in faith.

Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you. But because you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy. 1 Pet. 4:12-13

Like baptism of the spirit, baptism of fire is an ongoing process. Even in the midst of His earthly ministry, Jesus said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished” (Luke 12:50). We follow in His footsteps, sharing in His sufferings as He refines us. But we also get to share in His spirit and we know that with Jesus as our Baptist the work God is doing in us will have a good outcome.

                                                            A Story of Battle And Victory by Marissa Baker

Once upon a time, a great King and Prince decided to they didn’t want to be alone anymore. There were other beings in their realm, but none like them. No one else to share their love and unity with, at least not in the way they longed for. So they came up with a plan. They created a beautiful garden and from the earth they molded living, breathing people patterned after their own image. They wanted these