6 Lies about Spiritual Warfare and How to Overcome Them
- Hope Bolinger Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2019 24 Oct
Ephesians 6:10-18 (known as the armor of God passage) stands out because it easily identifies several of Satan’s tactics of spiritual warfare. As Christians, we understand a battle wages around us every day, invisible to the naked eye (Ephesians 6:12). But because this battle is often waged in the ‘unseen’ realm, we’re susceptible to believing lies we may be hearing. We may naturally drop our guard and become vulnerable to attack.
Christians should take note that the majority of the elements in the armor of God are defensive instead of offensive, meaning the devil attacks more often than we think.
So, what are some of most common lies the devil has created? Let’s look at six of them as they pertain to the world of spiritual warfare, by evaluating the purpose and power of each part of the armor of God to equip us against these six lies:
Lie #1: Satan isn’t as active in our world as one would think.
One of the best ways Satan can operate in peace is if he’s to purge himself from our thoughts: an out-of-sight, out-of-mind tactic.
In American society in particular, we tend to shy away from spiritual topics and often don’t like to acknowledge that the spiritual realm exists. But when we doubt the existence of any evil forces, we allow easy access for Satan and his armies to carry about business as usual, because we decided to look the other way.
Which part of the armor of God helps us combat this? The belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14) can help us combat this lie. We can discern where the devil is working and has kept himself hidden (1 Peter 5:8). The devil doesn’t want us sober-minded and alert because then we can see him as he is: a liar.
Lie #2: Satan and his armies can possess Christians.
A number of Christians who I’ve known over the years who had formerly lived sinful lives until they came to know Christ especially struggle with this fear. They believe Satan and his army have a certain sway or amount of power over them because they’d not given their lives to Christ until later in life, after living in sinful patterns.
We often forget that with Christ living inside of us, God holds power over the evil forces of this world (Colossians 1:13). That means Satan cannot overpower us. God is stronger than Satan. Not to mention, Satan wouldn’t want to be in close proximity with someone as holy as God.
Satan and his armies hate everything good, so why would they indwell someone who has the most good thing in the world inside of them (Matthew 12:43)?
Which part of the armor of God helps us to combat this? The helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17), when placed upon our heads, guarantees we have life abundant inside of us, and no power of Satan can take that away from us. Although there are no Scripture verses that specifically say demons can’t indwell a Christian, we see no examples of this happening in Scripture. Anyone in Scripture who is possessed is not a believer, such as the man possessed by demons called Legion (Mark 5:1-20).
What happens if we slip up and sin? Even if we offer the devil a foothold, can he still get a stronghold over us?
The answer is no, if we turn to Christ and confess our sins (1 John 1:9) he is faithful enough to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Lie #3: Little sins don’t affect believers much, since they’re already saved.
Paul talks a great deal on why we should leave our former life behind (Romans 6:1-2). We can often forget that sin is like a parasite, like gangrene. It eats away at the soul, until we become nothing more than a grumble (see The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis and Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.).
Once we allow Satan to have a foothold (Ephesians 4:27), we stunt our growth in our spiritual walk, being unable to do the tasks God has given us. When we become complicit with “minor” sins like gossip and white lies, we run the risk of damage.
The corrective action to take, when we commit these sins, is to confess our sins to one another. Even if we are saved, the damage we risk is that we may cause others to stumble by our actions (1 Corinthians 8:9), especially those young in the faith or those on the outskirts of Christianity. They may see our actions and deem Christianity to be false since we are acting hypocritically.
Which part of the armor of God helps us to combat this? The breastplate of righteousness, Jesus’ righteousness, covers our sins (Ephesians 6:15). The Holy Spirit inside our hearts (where the armor covers) convicts us when we have sinned, so we don’t let the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4) and we can choose not to give into sin.
Lie #4: God will take your salvation away if you sin too much.
Throughout my life, the devil has planted doubt in my heart. Can God really save me if I keep messing up? Maybe there’s a limit to how much you can sin before God takes away his salvation.
Satan likes to infuse doubt into a Christian’s mind to prevent them from focusing on their God-given tasks at hand. Scripture makes it clear that Satan doesn’t snatch you out of God’s hand if you sin too many times (John 10:28). We’re secure in God’s hand.
However, if we do sin, we should confess our sins and attempt to restore the relationships we have damaged by our sin.
Although there are entire books written about apostate Christians, Christians in name who made it seem like they followed Christ but fell away, there is a difference between those who had salvation in the first place and those who made it appear as though they had salvation. Only God can know our hearts (1 Kings 8:9), but if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).
God knows how much we’ve messed up, and he loves us anyway. He welcomes us with open arms, waiting for his prodigal to come back home.
Which part of the armor of God helps us combat this? The shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) helps us extinguish the devil’s flaming arrows and assures us to Whom we belong.
Lie #5: Satan and his armies have overcome the world.
Ever get depressed when scrolling through the news on social media or watching horrific events on TV? It can often seem as though Satan has infiltrated every crevice of the world, and that darkness has won.
Satan wants us to think this so we despair and lose hope. But Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). It isn’t a matter of: Is God going to win? God has already won.
Which part of the armor of God helps us combat this? The shoes of the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) will help us to stand firm when all the world appears to give way. Just following Jesus and walking with him, step by step in faith, is warfare that works. We can observe the events in the world around us knowing that God will make everything right in the end.
Lie #6: We need to find truth and peace outside of God’s word.
The reason does this is he wants us to avoid our calling to the great commission (Matthew 28:19), our call to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The only offensive piece of the armor is the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Satan, on the defense here, will do anything in his power to prevent us from using this weapon.
Which part of the armor of God helps us combat this: In everything, we need to be in the word, the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:17) and to pray without ceasing (Ephesians 6:18). In fact, we need to put on the whole armor of God through prayer. Satan will attempt to prevent us from using the sword of the Spirit to spread the Gospel, so we need to engage in the Word every day to be able to discern when he is trying to attack (1 John 4:1).
Stand strong and hold fast to knowing that Satan will battle us with doubt and insecurities, but he will not win the war. Outfitted in the armor of God, we know how the story ends.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 450 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly in the Serious Writer newsletter. Her modern-day Daniel, “Blaze,” (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel “Den” for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/tomertu
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 600 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021) Find out more about her here.