Growing in Prayer: Spiritual Warfare Part 1

by Lisa Hall, international prayer coordinator for TWR Women of Hope

“What is true?” and “How, then, should I live?” may be the two most important questions in life, for the answers will determine not only your life here on earth but also your eternity. Truth is not an abstract concept but rather a person. God is truth, John 3:33 says. As the Word who became flesh, Jesus took on human form and proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

In sharp contrast, the Bible calls Satan a murderer, the Father of Lies, the deceiver and accuser. God and Satan are at war, and we are right in the middle of the battle. The spiritual warfare that we face and the enemies we must defeat in God’s power are our fleshly desires, our worldly culture, and Satan and his kingdom. Because of our sin nature, we are all born into Satan’s kingdom. But because Jesus’ death and resurrection paid the penalty for our sin, all who believe and receive Jesus can be transferred into God’s kingdom of life and truth.

Satan knows that once you believe and receive Jesus, the Evil One cannot snatch you back into his kingdom, so his plan is to deceive your mind with lies. He wants you to doubt God and put your trust in something or someone else. But the truth is that our God is the only God. He is sovereign over all and has defeated Satan. We are assured of the power and position of Jesus because God raised him from the dead and “seated him at [God’s] right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name” (Eph. 1:20-21).

Our true identity is in Christ. Because of our position in Christ, we have victory over Satan as well. God has raised us up and seated us in Christ Jesus in the heavenly realms at the right hand of the Father. (Eph. 2:6). God has chosen us, adopted us, redeemed us, forgiven our sins and sealed us with the Holy Spirit. This is what is true of you as a Christ follower! Believe this news and stand on it. We act and live according to what we believe is true, so establishing truth is essential in our lives.

What a person believes in her mind affects her emotions, perceptions, will and actions. Our view of ourselves is often affected by what others say about us, by our performance and by what the world says is desirable. Do you feel like you don’t measure up to others’ standards? Believing what God says about your identity will protect you from the lies of the Enemy and the hurtful words of others.

Paul tells us in Ephesians to get rid of the attitudes and desires of our old sinful life and to embrace a godly life in Christ. It is like taking off old dirty clothes and putting on new clean clothes. We are to put off things like lying, bitterness, sexual immorality and greed. We are to put on truth, encouraging words, compassion and forgiveness. It is obvious we can’t do that in our power alone. So how do we change?

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24).

Renewing our minds is the key that God gives us for certain success. We must begin thinking like Jesus for our lives and actions to be like Jesus’. That means embracing the truth in God’s Word and confronting our sin. Where in your life do you feel defeated? What are the things that bring you back again and again to pray about and ask for God’s forgiveness?

The Bible calls these “strongholds.” As Ed Silvoso writes in That None Should Perish, “A spiritual stronghold is a mind-set impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept as unchangeable situations that we know are contrary to the will of God.”

Let’s start by being truthful about our sin, breaking its power by bringing it into the open and sharing it with someone who is trustworthy. The solution always involves renewing our minds with God’s Word of truth and standing in the armor of God. We will talk about these in Part 2 of this article.