Recently, a lady in church shared her story of spiritual warfare which sent shivers down my spine. While serving God in Cambodia as an English teacher, she stayed in a notorious part of the town where crime was prevalent. In fact, the place she called home used to be a brothel. Surrounded by barb wire, her abode was like a self-imposed prison. In her first year of her work in that location, she often heard gun shots at night.
One day, as there had been three murders over the past year, she felt led by the Holy Spirit to pray against the forces of darkness – that the streets would be safer.
So at five in the morning, she awoke and went to the balcony on the first floor of her home to intercede for the city and its people. To her horror, as she was about to sit down to wage spiritual warfare, she found a big, dead rat lying on her rattan chair. Because of her phobia of rats, she screamed and returned to her room shivering in fear. After what seemed a long awaited dawn, she asked a brother to help her dispose the carcass. Unfazed, she tried the next morning to pray but this time she was shaken to find another dead rat just inside the door. This almost put paid to her desire for early morning prayer.
Being determined, however, she stood her ground. The next episode was even more unnerving. As she was splashing cold water on her face to refresh herself before prayer, she felt a rat crawling around and over her feet. At that stage, she felt that such prayer warfare ministry was probably not her cup of tea.
Over the next few months, refusing to be intimidated by Satan, she persevered in intercession and prayed for her personal sanctification. Then she waited on the Lord for a revelation. One day, as she was praying and confessing her sins, she sensed the waft of a strange and sweet fragrance. She soon realised a spiritual breakthrough had come. Henceforth, she was able to intercede for others.
Spiritual warfare is real but, in our modern technological world, we tend to dismiss or downplay its significance. When faced with a person possessed by an evil spirit, some conservative believers call upon their charismatic friends to do deliverance ministry. But this should not be the case as all believers should embrace the full gospel and the victory Christ secured for us.
Satan: A Defeated Foe
The battle has already been won. Christ’s death at the cross paved the way for Satan’s defeat. “The Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the Devil” (1 John 3:8). Christ “disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities” and “shamed them publicly” at the cross (Colossians 2:15). Believers, now seated in the heavenly places with Christ, rest in an exalted position over principalities and powers (Ephesians 2:6).
The task for believers now is to believe and enforce the victory that Christ has achieved for us at the cross. How do we enforce this victory? Through worship, waging warfare prayer, sharing testimonies, proclaiming and affirming the truth, and commanding the evil spirits to leave by taking authority over them (Ephesians 6:10-11, Matthew 4:10, Mark 5:8, Revelation 12:11).
Sin opens the door for evil spirits to enter our lives. When tempted by the enemy, we need to submit to God, resist in the Holy Spirit and the devil will flee (James 4:7). Jesus rebuked Satan with the Word when tempted (Matthew 4:1-11). So when Satan puts negative, discouraging or destructive thoughts in our minds, it’s time to declare scripture to counter his lies and demolish the strongholds he has set up in our minds (2 Corinthians 10: 3-5).
Spiritual backlash – when we attempt to serve God and extend His kingdom – is a grim reality. But believers must be bold and persevere in spiritual warfare, not easily intimidated by Satan’s devices.