Spiritual Warfare   


Spiritual Warfare:  The World, the Flesh, the Devil & the Glory of God

Spiritual warfare for the Christian is about truth and falsehood, love and hate, good and evil, and the integrity of God's Word. These aspects are experienced in the realms of the world, the flesh, the devil and his devil spirits. Our weapons of warfare are found in the Wisdom of Christ: God's Word & Holy Spirit
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Why the World, the Flesh, & the Devil, in Spiritual Warfare?


Jesus brought before Pilate


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When did the world, the flesh and the devil become our enemies?

Spiritual Warfare and the "World"

     The moment a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and receives God's Holy Spirit, that person is instantly and literally translated from the kingdom of darkness of this world into the kingdom of God's light by God's Holy Spirit of truth. The Apostle Paul describes this process as the "mystery" revealed, which is "Christ in you" the hope of glory.

Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Col 1:27In whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

     God rescued us from the power and bondage of the world, the flesh, the devil, and supernaturally empowered us with the light of His truth, love, and Holy Spirit. The power of darkness is anything that blinds a person to the reality of sin, the true love of God, and the victory we have in Christ.  It is the power of darkness that blinds a person to his or her need for salvation, and from receiving God's free gift of Holy Spirit. God draws humanity from enmity towards Him to an illumination of truth that leads to salvation in Christ by the cross, preaching of His Word, and the conviction of His Holy Spirit. The world represents people, religions, governments, or worldly systems that oppose Christ. The world that rejects the truth of Christ is under the control or deception of the god of this world, which is the devil.  Scripture states,

1 John 5:19 "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one."

2Co 4:4 in whom the god [devil] of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.

Jesus Christ sent the Apostle Paul to preach for the following reason,

ActsTo open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

1Jo 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he who is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

Another aspect of our spiritual warfare is the flesh.

Spiritual Warfare and the "Flesh"

1Jo 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

     The second part of our spiritual warfare as Christians concerns the flesh. What is meant by the flesh? In this context, the flesh is the fallen, natural, carnal state in which we are born, or our sinful nature that seeks to satisfy its own lusts and expresses itself in our thoughts and actions in a way that opposes the spiritual nature and life of God. The Apostle Paul said,

Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

When we walk according to our fleshly lusts we are walking according to the law of sin from which we have been liberated in Christ.

      The inclination to sin is present in our flesh and we continue more or less to struggle in some of these areas. The flesh spoken of here is not about experiencing the good things that God has given to us for our enjoyment. In contrast, it is the part of our nature that is spiritually destructive, or wasteful to ourselves and others because it's fruit is spiritually dead. Whereas, when we walk according to God's truth we bear the fruit of God's Spirit (love, peace, joy, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance; against such there is no law, Gal. 5:23.

    If we sow according to the flesh we will reap dead works, but the fruit of the Spirit gives life to the soul. Abiding in the realm of the flesh renders us powerless against our spiritual enemies, the devil and his kingdom.  At this juncture, we are on his territory and not God's. When we received Christ, He gave us His righteousness and we are righteous because of God's gift to us. It is a gift of God's grace and no one can ever take that away from us. However, the manifestation of that righteousness in the life of a Christian is experienced only if we walk in the righteousness that He has already given to us, for the Lord calls us to righteousness.

Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Phi 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Crucified - In our behalf, Christ already crucified the sinful flesh to the Cross.  We take hold of Christ's victory over the flesh and overcome our selfish passions through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Some of our greatest conflicts will be experienced in overcoming our own fleshly nature. 

Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Gal 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

The life of God that is given to every believer is made manifest in our hearts and lives when we walk in the Spirit.  But if we live according to the lusts of the flesh we continue to reap corruption.

Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies. envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, . . ."

1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    The battleground between the flesh and the Spirit is between the life of the Spirit and the fruit of the flesh which is spiritual death, therefore our spiritual warfare also takes place in the realm of the flesh to be overcome by the power of God's Holy Spirit on a daily basis. This is also a battle between love and hate. The Apostle John states in the book of 1 John,

1Jo 2:9 He that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother, is in the darkness even until now.

1Jo 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.

Spiritual Warfare and the "Devil and His Devil Spirits"

     The third part of our Christian battle is the devil. The devil or Satan is the god of this world system and is called “evil” in 1 John 5:19 as demonstrated above.  The idea that the devil is the god of this present age in which we live is confirmed in the gospel of Luke, when Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  We read,

Luke  4:5 - 8: And he [the devil] led him [Jesus] up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, To thee will I give all this authority, and the glory of them: for it hath been delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship before me, it shall all be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.  

    This position of Satan was obtained when both Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, being tempted of the devil in the Garden of Eden.  The lure of the temptation of Adam and Eve was to be like God. Satan hates God and His creation and seeks to win humanity over for its destruction. All dominion over the earth was originally given to Adam and Eve, but because of their sin, all of humanity and nature itself fell under the destruction and power of the devil.  All of God’s creation, the plants, the animals, sea life, and of course humanity itself began to suffer and die. This account is found in the first 3 chapters of the book of Genesis.  The sins of Adam and Eve brought the curse of sin to all the earth, in which we have our redemption only in Christ.  It is only Christ, the Son of God, Who suffered the penalty of this curse to set us free and bring us back to God; therefore Christ is the only way in which we can be saved. 

    Satan, who is the author of all sin, sickness and death, was once a beautiful angel of God, but fell from his original position when he attempted to overthrow God so that he himself would be glorified as God. These records are found in the Old Testament in the prophetic books of both Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28: 12-19. Satan’s original name before his rebellion against God was Lucifer.

However, below is a brief summary of an account of Satan’s rebellion towards God found in Isaiah chapter 14, he said,

 1. I will ascend unto Heaven.
 2. I will exalt my throne above the angels of God.
 3. I will sit also upon the mountain of the congregation.
 4. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.
 5. I will be like the Most High.

     Instead, Satan was overthrown by God, however, he took one-third of the angels with him and he won power over the souls of humanity. Defeated in his quest to overthrow God, he decided he would attack God by overthrowing humanity, in which he did by causing Adam and Eve to also rebel against God. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world from the powers of darkness and the curse that fell upon mankind as a result of their sin, and will save anyone who calls upon the name of Christ.

     To be more than a conqueror in Christ over the powers of darkness, those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, must first understand that they are saved by grace and not by works. When we receive God’s Holy Spirit we are given spiritual life, a new nature, that no person on this earth can create for themselves by good works. We can never redeem ourselves or make ourselves good enough to be saved. This is a life giving gift from God and God alone, and is freely given to those who ask Christ to save them. Salvation is a one time act. (Click this link for more on salvation -What is Salvation & Can We Know if We Are Saved?

     By our understanding of the aforesaid, we can see that ultimately our spiritual warfare is against the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The Apostle Paul gives us this scripture in a letter he wrote to the Ephesians' church, he states,

Eph 6:12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

     Our battle against the devil is a battle against good and evil, the goodness and power of God against the evil and power of the devil. Therefore we are in direct conflict with the god of this world, "the devil." He has power over the world and the flesh and is our ultimate enemy. However, we are promised the victory in Christ!

Reflection:  Is it any wonder why Scripture says, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, 2Ti 3:12.  We are in conflict with sinful flesh, the world systems, and the god of this world, the devil.  But, God is more powerful than all of these.

1Jo 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

( Just click below to learn more about the "principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness" or "The Battlefield of the Mind")

Principalities, Powers, World Rulers of Darkness, and Spiritual Wickedness in High Places

The Battlefield of the Mind (Part I) Prepare Your Heart for War

Battlefield of the Mind II - Spiritual Armor of God in Spiritual Warfare

Click links below to read about 2 very important keys for spiritual growth and power: Knowing the goodness of God and staying in close fellowship with Him.

 The Good Shepherd

 The 3 promises of God for abiding in Christ Orig. Post (blog - 2005)



Pulling down strongholds with the truth of God's Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the operation of faith in our spiritual warfare with the world, flesh and devil!

1Jn 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

  By Magdalene:


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Revised 2010