Spiritual warfare uses trust to deceive. Subtle deception is the direction our culture is taking. A direction that will deceive even the most faithful if one is not careful.
This whole deceit thing could be solved with one single question: Who knows more, man or God? The answer is obvious. Then we ought to trust in God and only believe Him, right?
So why don’t we?
Spiritual warfare is not just us as individuals being attacked and harassed by unclean and evil spirits. Sure we get tempted to lie, cheat, and steal among other things. And yes, the voice of the evil one is louder than the whisper of God or our own consciousness. I personally have gotten my butt kicked a few times by these things.
There is a wider spiritual war happening at the same time. The war for our trust. And this is where mass deceit is possible.
Remember the saying; “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”? This is true because the squeaks gets our attention. Let’s bring that into the spiritual realm. God whispers that He loves us. He rarely if ever kicks our door down, screams his love for us from the tree tops and gives us whatever we want. Instead of external material things, God gives us inner things like peace and strength and joy.
Now the enemy doesn’t want us to have such things. He wants us to be distracted and chase external things as a way to get peace, strength, and joy. God says pray and be still. Satan says be busy and get going. The only way to get peace is through a beer. The only way to get strength is to defeat others. The only way to get joy is through the new car, prettier hair, or through wealth.
Then people we think are better than us because they are so successful and wealthy tell us we can achieve what they have if only we pursue our dreams. We want to be a rock star, or famous actor, or incredibly rich. These things, we are told, will make us happy. when we are happy, we will have peace and joy. When we are successful we will have strength. We trust these rich and powerful people because…well…because they are rich and powerful. They seem to have the perfect life so they must know how to achieve it, right?
And there it is. The goal behind all spiritual warfare. It is a war over your very soul. By distracting you, by discouraging you, by convincing you that no one will know, by being a voice you think you can trust. These are the ways in which the evil forces, our enemy forces, attack us.
This is part of a two-pronged attack. The first is inside our own minds, causing doubt and discord. The second is controlling the culture to design our wants and needs. I don’t just want water, I need bottled water. Meatloaf is fine but the guy making millions says steak is the way to go. You get the idea.
Hollywood tells us that spiritual warfare is exciting and dramatic. Heads spinning around, undead creatures walking everywhere and monsters jumping out of trees. Demon possession is in the Bible but as Christians we don’t have to worry about that stuff. Demon possession can’t happen to us if we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
And while there are examples of wild spiritual warfare like that happening still today, the bulk of spiritual warfare is done in our own mind by shaping our desires and convincing us that what we need is far different from what our Creator tells us we need.
I’ve seen demons and watched the power of Jesus’s name in casting them out and away. Exciting stuff for sure. But after the demons are taken care of, I am left by myself. Just the man in the mirror. Standing with my accuser and tempter on one side and my Lord and Savior on the other side. One is trustworthy. The other tells me he is.
Free will is the freedom to choose which voice I trust. I don’t always chose wisely and neither does anybody else. It’s about trust. Who I trust determines if I am a victor or a victim. An overcomer or overcome.
I am an overcomer.
What about you?
This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on supernaturalchristian2017.wordpress.com, my now inactive blog site.
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon). He and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministries which offers love, hope, and encouragement to one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods, North Central Regina. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca