Are We Really In a War?
As a world famous chess master walked through an art gallery in Amsterdam, he came across a contemporary painting that fascinated him.
In it, a young man was playing a game of chess with the devil. There was a look of glee on the face of the enemy and of panic on the face of the young man. The name of the painting was Checkmate.
As the chess master closely observed the painting, he felt uncomfortable – something about the painting just wasn’t right.
He called for the curator of the gallery and asked him to take the painting down. When that didn’t work, he requested to meet the artist. The artist agreed to meet him at the gallery.
Next day, the chess master arrived at the meeting with his chessboard and chess pieces. He set up the board exactly as the artist had arranged it in the painting and said, “Something is wrong with your painting.”
When the artist inquired as to what that might be, the chess champion stated, “You titled the painting Checkmate, but that implies that the young man has no more moves to make.”
Then the champion reached over to the board and moved the young man’s king one space and said, “See, now the devil is checkmated!!”
He then looked at the young man in the painting and said, “Young man, your enemy made a fatal miscalculation. You don’t have to lose. You win!”
Perhaps you may feel like the person in the painting sometimes. You feel as if you’re about to be checkmated by fear, worry, anxiety, guilt, discouragement, depression, loneliness, anger, temptation or any of a myriad of other issues.
Like a game of chess Satan is making moves in your life to take you down and cause you to have setbacks! He’s out to deceive, confuse, slander and harm you. The battle is real.
Your enemy wants to crush your dreams, paralyze your potential, steal your joy, hinder your destiny, destroy your relationships, build strongholds in your life, lead you into sin and take you to hell.
“Never think of Satan as a harmless cartoon character with a red suit and a pitchfork. Satan is absolutely malicious and evil, and he has great influence over this world. He is clever, cunning, and powerful and his unchanging purpose is to defeat God’s plans at every turn, including His plans for your life!”
– Billy Graham
Satan’s primary goal is to undermine the faith of Christians by getting us to doubt God’s goodness, love, forgiveness, protection, provision, and promises.
The believer’s real enemy is not in military uniform, and he doesn’t meet us on an identifiable battlefield. He uses ruthless and unconventional tactics such as deceit, disinformation and disguise.
While waged in the invisible, spiritual realm, spiritual warfare is manifested in the visible, physical realm.
The majority of pastors and churches, however, completely ignore or downplay spiritual warfare to the point that most Christians don’t even understand they’re in a war.
War of The Worlds
The phrase “spiritual warfare” never appears in the Bible. It is a theological and practical term describing the reality of the ongoing conflict of the Christian life and the spiritual battles that take place in the invisible, supernatural dimension.
The Bible allows us to lift the curtain on our visible existence so we can see the world as it really is. Through the lens of Scripture, we discover that not only is there an unseen world but it is a world at war.
Although these spiritual battles are unseen by humans, we can certainly feel and witness their effects in the natural realm.
The battlefield takes place in our minds, our homes, our offices, our churches, our marriages, our families, our finances, and in our spiritual lives – even in the political realm we need to recognize that spiritual warfare and the infiltration of dark forces are at work!
When you open the pages of the New Testament, it’s clear that spiritual combat is an unmistakable reality in the life of every Christian.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (Phillips) The truth is the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds.
Ephesians 6:11 (NLT) Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
2 Timothy 2:3 (NKJV) You must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 6:12 (TLB) For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies – the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.
1 Timothy 6:12 (NASB) Fight the good fight of faith.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.
1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT) Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
2 Corinthians 6:7-8 (TLB) With God’s power helping us in all we do, all of the godly man’s arsenal, weapons of defense and weapons of attack have been ours. We stand true to the Lord.
2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Ephesians 6:16 (TLB) In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
From beginning to end the Bible testifies to the reality of a personal being called Satan who is the enemy of God, the hater and opponent of God’s people – and a roaring lion with a diabolical mission to steal, kill and destroy us (1 Peter 5:8; John 10:10).
If you’re a Christian, you’re in the Lord’s army. All believers have been drafted. There’s no shortage of Scriptures that characterize the believer as a spiritual warrior and the Christian life as a battle.
Military terminology is used throughout the New Testament…
- The Word of God is compared to “a sword.”
- Satan’s attacks are called “fiery darts.”
- We are to use the “weapons of our warfare.”
- Divine protection is available in “the armor of God.”
- Christians are instructed to “wage a good warfare.”
- Faith is called the “good fight.”
We are in a war and that war is spiritual, invisible and supernatural. Our major enemy, with whom we are involved in mortal combat and battling against, is Satan and his demons.
In these last days, spiritual warfare is increasingly intensifying because the devil knows that his time is running out fast and his days are numbered (Revelation 12:12).
Satan Is a Defeated Foe
When I recently preached in London, I heard a story that centered on Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, marking the end of the Emperor’s last bid for European conquest…
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in Belgium, and it was the decisive turning point of the Napoleonic Wars.
The French, under the command of Napoleon, were fighting the allied forces of the British, Dutch, and Germans, under the command of the Duke of Wellington.
Back in England the people depended on a system of signals to get updates on the battle and find out how it was going. One of these signals was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral.
Late in the day, it flashed the signal: “W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N — D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D…” At that moment, a bank of fog rolled in making it impossible to read the message.
The depressing news of defeat quickly spread throughout the town. The people were absolutely devastated to hear of Wellington’s defeat and that their nation had lost the battle.
Suddenly, the fog lifted and the rest of the message appeared and could be read. The message wasn’t just two words, but four. The complete message of four words was:
“W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N — D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D — T-H-E — E-N-E-M-Y!”
Instantly jubilation broke out… It took only a few minutes for the good news to spread. Sorrow was turned into joy, mourning was turned into dancing; defeat was turned into victory!
The same thing happened at the resurrection of Jesus. At Calvary, when Jesus died on the cross, hope died in the hearts of His disciples.
After the crucifixion, the fog of disappointment, discouragement and confusion crept in on the friends of Jesus. Why? Because they had read only part of the message: “Christ Defeated…”
But on the morning of the third day, suddenly the fog of despair, doubt and despondency lifted and the entire world received the complete message:
“C-H-R-I-S-T — D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D —T-H-E — E-N-E-M-Y!”
That really is the great message of the resurrection of Jesus, that death is not the end: the empty tomb was Satan’s Waterloo.
Hebrews 2:14-15 (Weymouth) Through His death, Jesus rendered powerless him who had authority over death, that is, the devil, and set at liberty all those who through fear of death had been subject to lifelong slavery.
When Jesus died, He conquered the principalities and powers. He made a bold public demonstration over them and triumphed over them (Colossians 2:15).
- Where was it that Jesus crushed the head of Satan? At the cross!
- Where was it that He broke the power of the devil? At the cross!
- Where was it that He cancelled the power of death? At the cross!
1 John 3:8 (Darby) To this end Jesus the Son of God has been manifested, that He might undo the works of the devil.
1 John 3:8 (Phillips) The Son of God came to earth with the express purpose of liquidating the devil’s activities.
The glorious truth of the gospel is that the victory against Satan has already been won 2000 years ago.
At Calvary, by His complete work of redemption, Christ the conqueror freed humanity from the penalty, power and consequences of sin and gave them new life from heaven – life so new, so vital, and so liberating that it can be described only by the term “resurrection life.”
Colossians 2:15 (TLB) God took away Satan’s power and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.
The triumph of the cross was Satan’s Waterloo! And because of Jesus, His victory is our victory – we are now “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57).
Wearing The Full Armor of God
We are victors through Christ! We just need to start acting like it!
We are God’s redeemed people, the blood-bought church and Satan does not have any claim on us unless we give him an opportunity (Ephesians 4:27).
The way we keep that from happening is by putting on the whole armor of God every day so that we are equipped, ready and able to stand against the evil one and “having done all, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:13 (NLT) Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
As a believer in Christ, you are “born of God” and you have been given power, authority, and dominion to resist and overcome the devil (1 John 5:4-5).
The warfare believers must fight is spiritual, personal, intense and continual. It calls for faith, courage, determination and prayer, and therefore believers must stand in God’s ability and strength – using the full armor He has provided.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
10: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
11: Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13: Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14: Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15: and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16: In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
18: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
This war against Satan is not one that we have to go into unprotected. The apostle Paul clearly identified the believer’s spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:13-18 and each piece of battle gear deals with a specific area of our lives.
- The Belt of Truth
- The Breastplate of Righteousness
- The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
- The Shield of Faith
- The Helmet of Salvation
- The Sword of the Spirit
- The Weapon of Prayer
We put on this armor daily so that we are ready for the devil’s attacks. Every soldier knows that the time to put on armor is before the battle, not after an attack begins.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NLT) Let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
Remember these seven BIG truths…
- The Christian life is not a playground – it is a battleground of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12-13).
- God has equipped us to win in supernatural combat and given us supernatural weapons and supernatural armor to walk in victory every day (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
- Satan is no match against God. He is not God’s equal – he is not all knowing and not all-powerful (Ephesians 1:19-22).
- We have God on our side, and nothing can keep us from victory. We have been given authority, dominion and power over Satan and his kingdom (Luke 10:19; 1 John 4:4).
- Satan hates it when you know who you are in Christ and who Christ is in you! He is powerless and defenseless against the blood of Jesus and the name of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).
- It is the duty and responsibility of every believer to actively resist the enemy and enforce his defeat (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
- Jesus told us in Luke 10:19, “I give you authority over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
God has given us everything we need to battle valiantly and victoriously in one manual – the Bible.
Psalm 60:11-12 (AMP) Vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly, for He it is who shall tread down our adversaries.
Spiritual armor is useful only if we put it on! If we are defeated in the warfare, if we are wounded in an unprotected place because we are without armor, it’s not the fault of our Commander in Chief.
Don’t be a casualty of spiritual warfare. Get in the battle and stand strong against the enemy by wearing the full armor of God every day!
There’s Victory In Jesus
The spiritual battle in which you are engaged is real. In fact, this invisible war is the reality behind many of the conflicts you confront every day of your life. But there is no need to be anxious or afraid…
We do not have to live in fear of the enemy. So many believers are praying, “God, please give me victory over the devil.”
This is a dumb prayer that God can never answer! Because of your position in Christ you are an overcomer and you already have the victory (1 John 5:4-5).
As a believer, you are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26- 27). When Satan sees that uniform, he has to instantly stop.
When you affirm your authority through the blood of Christ, Satan and his attacks have to cease.
Remember: in your Christian life, you don’t fight for victory; you fight from victory!
You don’t say, “I am going to try to be victorious over Satan today and hope and pray for the best.”
Instead, you boldly say, “At the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ already conquered Satan and left behind a defeated foe! Christ’s victory is my victory! So today, I am going to walk in faith and victory – praising God and trusting in the power of the blood of Jesus to give me power over everything the enemy throws against me!”
That’s using your authority as a believer!