What is spiritual warfare and our defense?

Question: “What is spiritual warfare and what is our defense against Satan's evil spirits?  Spiritual warfare is the war we fight with Satan over the blessings of God, including our very soul.  How can we defend ourselves against Satan’s lies and deceptions?”

Bible Answers

Spiritual warfare is the war we fight with Satan, over all the blessings the Lord has given us, including our very soul. It is spiritual because our battle is in the spiritual realm and not in the physical realm.  It is warfare, because the enemy wants to kill or destroy us, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to fight to protect ourselves.   

A Satanic attack is a deliberate assault which is designed to cause spiritual, physical, material, financial, or emotional harm.  Satan desires to thwart the Lord’s purpose in believers’ lives, to rob them of joy and peace, and ultimately to deny God the worship due Him. Remember that Satan, your enemy, has only one intent, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). You are in spiritual warfare and you can either fight or surrender.


"Lie" is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive. …no lie is of the truth (1 John 2:21).

"Deceit - Deception" is an act or practice ... intended to ... mislead by a false appearance or statement. Deception is broader than lies and includes lies, it includes anything, whether words or deeds, that are intended to lead people to believe what is not true.

Satan is the father of lies and deceit.  Satan works hard to turn the Christian from God and to keep the unsaved from coming to God.

Satan’s main deceit comes through thoughts and ideas that he may give us directly, through others, or through a multitude of media sources.  Satan normally looks for the weakest areas in our lives to attack, often based on our greed and pride, which Satan then inflames.      

The Lord warns us to be on guard. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments (Colossians 2:4). Let no one deceive you with empty words (Ephesians 5:6). This deceit can be directly from the devil or through people the devil uses.  He also warns us, Do not deceive yourselves (1 Corinthians 3:18). People who don't want to face reality can persuade themselves to believe things that they know are not true.

The Bible says that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood” so we know that people are not the source of our opposition, even though Satan does use people to try to get to us. We know that those forces of evil that we fight against are the principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12).  

Who is the deceiver?  He is called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world (Rev. 12:9).  

One of the main objects of the devil is to change our belief of what God has said.  Eve is the first example of Satan’s deception. The devil is skilled in misapplying scripture (Mat. 4:6-7, Psalm 91: 11- 12). The servants or even ministers who unwittingly serve the devil, appear as servants of God, but deceive the uninformed Christian who does not know the word and fails to examine what they are told (2 Cor. 11: 13-15).  This is why it is so important to always test or compare what a pastor, minister, teacher, or church leader say by the Word of God (Mat. 7: 15-20, I John 4: 1, 2 John 9-11). Only by knowing the Word will we have a standard to test thoughts and ideas.

Most people fail to recognize the enemy’s daily attack, because Satan is very subtle and deceives us into believing that the deception is actually our own idea. Once we discern that we are being attacked, we must realize that we only have two options, we can surrender or we can fight in the authority of Jesus.  Through Jesus, we can be victorious.  

Three ways the devil attacks us

1.  The devil may attack us with Deception

Deception consists of using a lie to promote something that is not true. The enemy uses deception in an attempt to deceive you into believing something that is not true, so you will fall into error. As we believe Satan’s deceptions, they build one upon another until they form walls and the walls form a stronghold. Satan erects every stronghold he can in our minds to keep us from the true knowledge of God. Satan places a thought in our mind and leads us to believe that it is our own thought. This is a critical part of Satan’s deception, because most Christians would reject the thought if they knew it was from Satan, but accept it if they believe it is their own thought.

Satan seldom gives a person a direct lie, but rather gives a person a partial truth so that the partial truth sounds as if it is a complete truth.  He will keep returning and twisting the truth further until it finally is totally false, but we believe it to be true. This twisting process is not likely to happen in a day, but over an extended period. A good example is a frog.  If you put a frog in boiling water, he will immediately jump out.  By putting the frog in a pan of cold water and slowly heating the water, the frog will sit there contentedly until he is cooked.  Satan is normally subtle and takes his time in building his deception in our mind.

One of Satan’s biggest lies is “It’s no big deal, it doesn’t matter, others are doing it.”  It may be immoral sex, theft, dishonesty, drugs, or addictions. The lie leads to deception that leads to action.  We are deceived into believing that it is “no big deal”, but it is, it is sin that can lead to hell.

Often when a person is bound by a deceiving spirit, pride is the basis.  Few things are more subtle than a deceiving spirit that provides a thought containing both truth and error to build pride within us.  It is normally easy to see pride in others, but we are often blind to our own pride. If you are not sure if you have been deceived, ask God with all your heart and He will reveal the truth to you.  If you are not clear what a message from God is saying, be sure to press in and ask God for clarification rather than being presumptuous and interposing your human ideas on what God is saying.

We have a choice.  For some, The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1).

2.  The devil may attack us with Temptation

Temptation often follows deceit.  After Satan deceives us, then he offers a related temptation that looks good and enticing to us, because we first permitted ourselves to be deceived.  Temptation is when we are enticed or attracted to sin in one way or another. At first, temptation looks like a really delicious red apple, but only later do we find that the apple is rotten and it is spoiling our life.

Temptation may be lust of money, sex, power, drugs, golf, and so on. It is anything that we put ahead of God. Temptation is thoughts, intentions, or desires, which are contrary to the thoughts, intents and desires of Almighty God. If the thoughts, intentions, or desires are put into action, then at that point, sin has occurred.  A temptation is not a sin, but accepting rather than rejecting a temptation is a sin. And when sin is permitted to continue unrepented, it leads to (spiritual) death (Jas. 1:14,15). Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:17).

3.  The devil may attack us with Accusations

Satan takes past sins that God has forgiven and forgotten and continues to accuse us of guilt and condemnation. Accusations lead to guilt and feeling unworthy, which will weighs you down and tear you apart spiritually.

Satan has had a lot more practice at deceiving people than you have had at resisting him.  You can only win when you recognize the deception and stand in the power of Jesus.  

Three ways to defend ourselves against the devil

1.  Dealing with deception

So how do you counter a lie or deception? We counter, tear down, and destroy lies and deceptions with the truth. Where do we find the truth? We find the only absolute truth in the Word of God. Truth is based on the Word of God, because the Bible says that it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18).  What God says, we can take as truth.  We fight the devil’s lies and deception with the …sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

We renew our mind with the Word of God.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).  We cleanse our mind by cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).  However, if you do not know the Word of God, how will you know that a thought is not true? Fortunately, while you are learning the Word of God, you can still ask the Lord.  

When we are able to expose Satan’s lie to the truth of the Word of God, Satan’s power is broken.  When you know the Word, Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). As we pour the truth into our heart, the lies are flushed away.  You renew your mind when you Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16).

When you get a thought, ask yourself, “Is this consistent with the Word of God."  If not, confess, “In the name of Jesus, I bind that thought and cast it away from me.” That’s it, throw it out! Do not waste your time thinking about it or trying to reason with it.

Listening and reasoning with the things the devil puts in your mind is exactly what he wants you to do. It feeds his strongholds when you allow your mind to meditate on Satan's word instead of God's Word. Cut him off and say no to his garbage and turn to God's Word.  Meditate, think about, and dwell on the Word of truth. It will stop Satan dead in his tracks!

For example, if a spirit of depression has been attacking you, you may say “In the same of Jesus Christ, I break the power of depression and command it to go now.” Stand your ground against the enemy’s strategies with the Word of God and the mighty name of Jesus, and it will have to flee.  If you do not know what is attacking you, ask the Holy Spirit what or whom you are fighting against and how to best pray against it.

It may take time to develop your spiritual strength. That is why the Bible calls it the good fight of faith. Sometimes we have to steadfastly with perseverance take our stand against the enemy with the armor of  God (Eph. 6:11-18).

May we always remember the power we have in the name of Jesus.  for he [Jesus] who is in you is greater than he [Satan] who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

2.  Dealing with temptation

We are told to resist the devil and draw near to God. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).  As we draw near God, we fall more in love with Him and become less open to temptation.  Temptation always opposes the Word of God. If we question the deceit and rebuke it, we will be much less vulnerable to temptation. However, if we miss rebuking the deceit, we can still question the temptation and rebuke it in the name of Jesus.  We have a choice to go with the temptation or stand on the Word of God. When a temptation occurs, we can say, “temptation, in the name of Jesus, I rebuke you and tell you to get behind me now.”  

Happy is the man who doesn't give in and do wrong when he is tempted, for afterwards he will get as his reward, the crown of life that God has promised those who love him (James 1:12).

3.  Dealing with accusations

The devil tries to accuse and convince us that we are guilty of sins that we have repented of and says that we may as well give up because God will never love us. However, through Christ, we can block the effect of Satan’s darts. We can put on God’s armament. It is by the Word of God and faith that we quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6:16). We need to remember that Christ already paid for our sins and that our record is clean.  We can say, “Satan, you are lying, in the name of Jesus, get behind me, for God says …and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 10:17).

Causes of Lying and Deceptions

Ultimately all lies are conceived in the heart under the influence of Satan.

Consequences of Lying and Deceptions

Overcoming Lying and Deceptions

God hates lies and will not permit them in His presence. He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence (Psalm 101:7).

Armor of God

In war, we need to use protection.  The same is true of spiritual warfare.  The Apostle Paul gave us the picture of warfare in the spiritual realm and warned us to Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:11-12). Our enemy is not man, but he who attacks us is the enemy, the devil, who uses man.  In God, I can be armed and ready.

Ephesians 6:13-17 tells us, Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground [not deserting], and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the:

The Armor of God is God’s armor, not our armor.  Spiritual armor does not protect our physical bodies; it’s protecting our spiritual exploits. In effect, when we put on the Armor of God, we are putting on God, the gospel, the Word of God, and in faith, God is fighting for us.  The Armor of God then protects us from the devil’s attacks. Note that the armor of God only protects the front, hence the need to stand firm and not run.  But if we do not stand in the armor of God, we expose ourselves to the attacks of the enemy.

Isaiah 54:17 proclaims, No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.  Trust in God, count on the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, and you will prevail.

Greatest danger

The greatest danger and damage to Christians result from their failure to recognize that the enemy is attacking them. While some Christians finally realize that Satan has been attacking them, unfortunately, many Christians never recognize that their problems in life are really attacks from Satan. We just sit in the water, never noticing that Satan is slowly turning up the heat. Those who fail to defend themselves from Satan’s darts, open the door to all sorts of problems, mental depression, physical problems, family and personal problems, financial problems, and possible oppression and the need for deliverance. Satan’s attacks differ for each of us, for he will attack us at our weakest points.

Always be on guard.  Always ask yourself, is this thought of God? If not, waste no time, rebuke it and send it on its way in the name of Jesus.  It is much easier to cast a thought away the first time rather than waiting until it has established a stronghold in your thought life.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

It is very common for Christians to experience Satan’s fiery thought darts daily, but as we grow in the Lord we become better at deflecting the enemy’s attacks.

Keeping the air clear

Demons do not like anything having to do with God. Praise, reading scripture out loud, and playing gospel music repulses the devil’s evil spirits.  You can quietly play gospel music 24 hours a day.  While this does not remove demons from a person, it does help to keep them away. Sort of like mosquito spray.

You have a choice

There is a supernatural war waging for your heart and mind. For some of you, the devil is trying to oppose the words you are reading now. He wants to discredit them and cause you to ignore or reject them. The Holy Spirit is bearing witness in your heart and trying to get you to open up and receive these words. It’s spiritual warfare. Satan pulling on one side and God pulling on the other side and you are the tiebreaker.  You can follow Satan’s kingdom or you can follow God’s kingdom.  But remember, Satan does not play fair.  Unlike our Holy God, Satan will tell you any lie, deception, and temptation, to draw you away from God and into his world.  A world that may look to be of light, but really is dark, absent of God’s light.  If you believe, then you must be on guard, know the authority you have as a believer in Christ, and take action in your authority against the enemy’s attacks.  

Why is it easier to follow Satan’s kingdom than God’s kingdom

We start life in Satan’s kingdom and he has few rules for us to follow.  His main rule being, go out and do whatever you want as long as you do not make Jesus your Lord.  He not only has no concern about the outcome of your actions, he works hard to lead you into self-destruction.  God on the other hand does have rules to lead and protect us. God is trying to build us up in righteousness and purity for our good and for our salvation.  No action is required to remain in Satan’s kingdom, but we must make a choice to enter God’s kingdom.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).

Christians always need to depend on God for spiritual strength against Satan and his demons.  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might (Eph. 6:10).

Common Deceptions

Deception - The Devil is Not Real

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Deception - You Cannot Beat Satan

I give you authority to tread … over ALL the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).

Deception - The Bible is Not Literally True

But as for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s Word is flawless (Ps 18:30).

Deception - You Are Not Worthy

I am forgiven of all my sins and washed in the Blood. (Ephesians 1:7).  I am a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Deception - You're Too Busy To Work For God

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).  Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist (Proverbs 23:4).

Deception - It Doesn't Matter What You Think

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).

Deception - It Doesn't Matter What You Speak

Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech (1 Peter 3:10).

Staying free from deception is your key to victorious living. If the devil cannot deceive you, he cannot defeat you.  

Advancing with God’s Weapons

Our weapons of warfare are mighty.  We need to stop being pessimistic and fearful and realize the power that we have through Jesus.  As you break Satan’s power and bind him in Jesus’ name, picture the victory and Jesus and not the devil or the problem.

We are called of God to be strong in Him and to aggressively move forward in the power and authority of God through Jesus that God has given us to bind and cast away the devil and his kingdom.  

Any solder in any army must always look to the general to find out what is wanted of him, how they are to attack. We need to wisely look to our general, the Holy Spirit.

We need to surrender our life to the Lord and pray that He will train us, mold us, and shape us into His army that we may be one of those who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6), by coming against Satan’s lies, deception, and evil, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Next Section - How do demons affect our lives?

The Devil and Hell Satan drawing humanity

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