Spiritual warfare is the foundation of many Hollywood movies and best-selling novels. We all know stories that scared us and our nightmares are full of frightening images and visions. All these things have one purpose and that is to cause fear. That moment in the movie when we jump as the monster leaps out of the dark, that build up of suspense in the book until the killer is standing over the victim, and that scary thing under our bed cause us to fear the unexpected, the unnatural, or the spirit world. Is this fear warranted?
In this first in a series of articles on spiritual warfare, we examine that question.
I used to like monster movies and those weird TV shows looking for Bigfoot, Chupacabra, or Loch Ness Monster. These creatures were shown as bigger than life and portrayed as frightening, almost supernatural. As a child, The Mummy scared me the most.
Movies and TV moved into more powerful supernatural areas over time and evil spirits are shown as powerful unstoppable forces. People, even the dead, are possessed and the demons run amok over their victims. Then a disturbing twist happened in which evil was seen as good. Shows that depict magic and witchcraft as positive forces or even Satan as a good guy are feeding lies to our children and unsuspecting families. But more on that in a later article.
The entertainment industry is where many people receive their education about spiritual warfare. Heads spinning, objects moving, weird voices, and demonic activity make for great shock value. But are they true? Does this sort of thing really happen?
The short answer is yes it does, but it rarely happens. Satan is the father of evil and master of disguise. While there are times in which he may try to intimidate people, it is not his most common strategy. And while fear works to give Satan more temporary power, it is not as effective in deceiving us. Demonic manifestations can be frightening and cause even many mature Christians to take a step back. And that is what they are designed to do. Just like a show in which the bad guy jumps out at you, this causes us to be scared enough to stop what we are doing and forget who we are. This causes fear.
Fearing evil often leads to Christ because it puts us in a position of choice. In the movies humans defeat evil using human weapons or by outsmarting it. The victims do not call upon the power of the Lord. When they do call upon spiritual forces, they often call upon a stronger evil to defeat the one that is attacking them. This reminds me of the kings of Israel who would call upon the Pharaoh of Egypt to fight against their enemies who were attacking them.
And this is the more common way in which Satan works. Rather than an out an out show of force, he tries to convince us we don’t need God. The deceit is in two areas. We can handle even the darkest forces of evil without God or God can not or will not help us. The first makes us more powerful than we are and the second makes us less powerful than we are. Both take the focus off of reality and keeps us away from the only path to victory in spiritual warfare.
Christians are children of God. We have nothing to fear when it comes to Satan and the darkness of evil. There are many verses in the Bible that tell us we have authority over the forces of evil. One of my favourite ones is 1 John 5: 8 that ends with “and the evil one cannot ouch them (Believers in Christ).”
Christians therefore do not have to fear direct things like evil manifestations or demonic possessions. In reality, we do not have to fear anything. Satan has already been defeated, and we are already seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6).
That’s the end of the war, right?
Well, no. Satan knows he is defeated, and he knows that he cannot take on the Holy Spirit in a direct frontal attack. Instead, he sneaks around looking for opportunities to deceive us or tempt us. He tells us lies and helps us use our free will to do his bidding. How he does this is for the next time. Let’s just say that if the two people who were the closest to God in all history, Adam and Eve, can be deceived, and if a third of the angels were deceived, then we too can be deceived.
More in this Spiritual Warfare Series:
- Spiritual Warfare #1: Fear or Freedom
- Spiritual Warfare #2: Guerrilla Warfare
- Spiritual Warfare #3: Mind Meld
- Spiritual Warfare #4: Who am I?
- Spiritual Warfare #5: When Do I Win?
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. Andy and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministry in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest areas. He is a retired counselor, speaker, and writer. Andy Becker is working on his second book about spiritual warfare. His first book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.