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When I first started writing, I noticed that I’d often get attacked at different stages of the process–especially when I was beginning something new. I’ve since studied spiritual attack and discovered there are many things we can do to be successful in spiritual warfare.
We’ll discuss those things on today’s episode of the Christian Habits Podcast, but I’ll also include the information below in case you don’t have time to listen to the podcast.
Examples of Spiritual Attack in the Bible
There are four different stories in the Bible about Satan influencing or interacting with people.We’ll go into these more in depth on the podcast, but I’ve listed the Scripture passages below so you can read these on your own.
- Eve – Genesis 3:1-8
- Job – Job 1:6-12
- Jesus – Matthew 4:1-11
- Peter – Luke 22:31-32
Types of Spiritual Attack
There are two different types of spiritual attack shown in the Bible–a physical attack and an attack of the mind. Here are examples of each:
- Physical: Satan attacked Job’s health, his crops, his animals, and his family.
- Mental: With Eve, Satan made sin look attractive and caused her to question God’s goodness and reasonableness and also God’s commands. With Jesus, Satan tempted Him to turn the stones into bread, throw himself from the top of the temple, and to gain all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. With Peter, Satan tempted him to worry about what people would think and to focus on his own safety rather than being there for Jesus.
What can we learn from people who were attacked in the Bible?
- Satan often attacks at the start of things. Eve was attacked at the beginning of the world. Jesus was attacked at the beginning of his ministry, and Peter was attacked at the beginning of a new phase of ministry–one without the physical presence of Jesus there. We’re like the people in the Bible–we often experience spiritual attack at the beginning of a new ministry, a new job, a new phase of a relationship (such as married life), or a new try at breaking free from a bad habit or sin.
- Satan often attacks when we’re weak. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says,”Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” Prowling lions don’t go for the strongest animal in the group. They go for the one who is weak. The one who is separated from the group. The one is vulnerable to attack. So at different stages in our lives when we’re super discouraged or alone or sick or weak in some way, that’s when we’re most open to attack. We see this in the Bible. Satan attacked Jesus when he was hungry from 40 days of fasting. He attacked Peter when Jesus was being tried and it looked like everything was going south for their ministry.
- If Satan attacks, it’s not a sign that you’re a bad Christian. Sometimes when we’re struggling with temptation, we think, oh, I’m such a bad Christian, but this isn’t true. Jesus told us we’d have trials in this life and Romans 3:23 tells us we’re all sinners. The truth is, we’ll be tempted until the day we die, and we’ll give into temptation until the day we die. Yes, we need to work on growth and gaining victory in our areas of sin, but we also need to realize we won’t be perfect until we see Jesus face to face.
- Satan often attacks people who are strong in their faith. Satan is an equal opportunity attacker. He’ll attack us when we’re weak, but he’ll also attack us when we’re strong as he wants strong people to become weak. Just look at the people Satan attacked in the Bible: Peter, Eve, Job, and even Jesus. Those were all people who were strong in their faith and had close walks with God.
- Satan uses lies and condemnation as a weapon. Revelations 12:10 tells us that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. John 8:44 tells us he is the father of lies. He uses lies and condemnation as weapons. That’s why it’s so important for us to renew our minds–to get those lies and condemnation out of our system!
- Sometimes you’ll suffer for a long time and not feel close to God. When Satan attacked Job, Job suffered for a long time. He started out strong but then he wavered. That often happens when we go through a trial that seems to last forever. It may be easy to stay strong in the beginning, but when it goes on and on and on, we begin to lose hope. That’s when we need to persevere and stay steadfast–keep going to God and His Word for help even though it’s hard to do.
- You’re not the only one going through this. Sometimes we feel all alone and think we’re the only ones going through trials, temptations, and struggles because we don’t see our friends struggling. But 1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us to resist Satan, staying firm in our faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by our brotherhood (and sisterhood) throughout the world. So even if we don’t see the suffering, it’s happening. People don’t always broadcast their struggles so don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’re the only one.
How to Fight Spiritual Attack
Although it can be discouraging to experience spiritual attack, it’s also a good opportunity to grow. If we want to grow, though, we need to fight. Here are some ways to resist spiritual attack based on the four examples of spiritual attack in the Bible:
- Use Scripture. That’s what Jesus did. Every time Satan gave Him a temptation, Jesus answered with Scripture. So whatever area it is that you’re being attacked in, try to memorize some Bible verses to help. That way, when those thoughts come into your head, you can hit them with Bible verses.
- Try not to feel sorry for yourself. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves when everything is going wrong, but just think of Job. After the first wave of bad things happened, Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job didn’t understand the whole picture (it was Satan that destroyed everything, not God), but he had the right attitude. He continued to trust God and worship Him even when things were going wrong.
- Don’t leave the church. I think it would have been easy for Peter to leave the church after denying Christ because he probably felt like a failure. It also would have been easy for Job to leave the church because his fellow believers were so judgy when they came to help him (Job 4-23). But here’s the truth: we need each other. Our only choice is to fellowship with imperfect Christians and to be an imperfect Christian ourselves. There is no perfect church, but we still need the church. Wild animals who leave their packs are vulnerable to attack, and we’re also more vulnerable to attack when we’re not in regular fellowship with other believers. Close relationships with people you can share everything with is important.
- Don’t beat yourself up and say what a terrible Christian you are. Revelations 12:10 tells us that Satan accuses the saints. So try not to beat yourself up when you give into temptation. We do that when we say, “Oh, I can’t believe what a bad Christian I am because I did that.” Just confess your sins and move on, believing Romans 8:1 that tells us there’s no condemnation in Christ and 1 John 1:9 that tells us He’ll forgive us if we confess our sins.
- Don’t believe everything your friends tell you. Remember Job’s friends? They weren’t speaking God’s words to him. It’s good to ask for advice and read Christian books, but we need to be careful to sift everything we hear (including anything I say or write) through what we’ve heard in the Bible to see if it lines up with truth.
- Don’t hide from God. Often we feel like avoiding God when we’re struggling with sin or doubt. We think, I’ll get myself fixed up first, then I’ll go to God. That’s exactly what Satan wants us to do, because that keeps us from getting the help we need from God. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us that Jesus understands what we’re going through because He’s experienced all the same temptations! He wants us to come to Him for help.
- Renew your mind, fighting lies with truth. The sooner we go to God for help and perspective on our daily troubles the better. I find that when I go to Him right away when I’m feeling a little upset during the day, He helps me get over it quickly–but when I wait until the end of the day when I’m completely discouraged, it’s far harder to get over it because my mind has been inundated with lies all day. If you need help with ways to renew your mind, check out the renewing of the mind tools tab at the top of this website.
- Spend more time with God than usual where when you’re in a season where you need it. Jesus had all kinds of all-night prayer sessions with God during His ministry. My guess is that He needed that extra time with Him. If we’re going through an intense trial or temptation, we also need more time with God than usual to stay close to Him and also to grow and mature as Christians.
- Resist. Years ago, I took a woman’s self defense class. The teacher (who also happened to be our pastor) told us that if a person fights back, most attackers will flee–but surprisingly, a lot of people don’t fight back. When we’re spiritually attacked, it’s essential to fight back. James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil and he will flee. We need to make the effort to resist even though it’s much easier to go watch something on Netflix or have a bite to eat.
- Follow the tips in Ephesians 6:10-20. When I recorded this podcast, I was thinking of tips learned from watching Eve, Job, Jesus, and Peter during their spiritual attack. But one of the best sections of Scripture for spiritual attack is found in Ephesians 6:10-20. Check those tips out for more help.
One last thing I’d say is that not all temptations and struggles come from Satan. In my Bible study Rally, I list all kinds of reasons for trials and temptations. That said, we don’t really need to know where the struggle is coming from because the solution is the same regardless. Go to God for help. That’s something we can all do. Check out the resources below the following image for some Bible studies that will help, plus you can check out the Bible study tab at the top of this blog for printable Bible studies.
Spiritual Warfare Resources We Talked About on the Podcast:
- Bible verses (see at the bottom of this blog post)
- Spiritual Warfare Bible Study
- Spiritual Warfare Bible Verse Personal Application Chart
- Renewing of the Mind Tools Tab (see the colorful tabs at the top of my website)
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Bible Verses about Spiritual Warfare
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (ESV) For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
James 4:7 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
John 8:44(ESV) You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
2 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV) But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV)Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Thanks so much. God bless you
Barb Raveling says
God bless you too, Katie!
yes thank you so much God bless you.
Barb Raveling says
You’re welcome, Pat!
AJ thomas says
Thank you for this timely post. I found your Bible study resources this year and have limped along Taste for Truth. Every time I have prepared to live within my boundaries, some attack or another has happened (thank you 2020.) The last was my position at work was turned upside down and I needed to work more along with my refrigerator going out and getting a replacement was not an easy process (again, thank you 2020). Sadly, it took me two weeks to realize I was under attack and allowing the circumstances to rule over me. This podcast sums up all the attacks I have been under. I have been fighting, but today there will be a greater fight as I use the full armor and the perfect strength of my God. For I am weak and He is strong.
Barb Raveling says
Hi AJ, 2020 has been a crazy year, hasn’t it? What a year for discouragement and I agree, spiritual attack as well. Praying God will help you with your armor – Love your last line. You may be weak, but He is strong!