Fiction Based On Facts (Myths of Spiritual Warfare)
All fiction finds its root in the reality of facts. The prolific author, C.S. Lewis, built an entire world of fiction based upon true spiritual realities. His books have given us incredible revelation of spiritual truths through fictional characters, stories, and his writings have now become movies. However, with that same creativity we take the risk of creating myth upon myth until reality is lost.
Spiritual warfare finds its roots in Biblical truth. But over the years people have taken verses of the Bible and built myth upon myth until now I believe the reality of these truths have been distorted or even lost. Before I present the myths lets build a foundation.
There Is A War, We Have An Enemy
In Revelation 12, John was caught up in the Spirit and saw a war that had broke out in heaven between Michael and his angels and the Dragon with his angels. The ancient serpent, that dragon, we know him as the devil. The devil, the deceiver of the whole world was cast down to the earth. According to 1 Peter 5:8 we know that the devil is on the prow like a roaring lion seeking someone he can devour. His very name means “adversary” or “one who opposes” and “the devil” means “slanderer.”
We know there is a war-taking place in the Spirit realm for the soul of man. Satan is our adversary along with his demonic hierarchy in the unseen realm found in Ephesians 6:12. The vast majority of this world is held in bondage to Satan and is totally unaware. Jesus said of Satan in John 14:30, that he was the ruler of this world. What does he do as ruler?
- Blinds the mind of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4)
- The spirit at work in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2)
- He is an accuser (Rev. 12:10)
- He is a tempter (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5)
- He is a deceiver (Gen. 3; Rev. 20:3)
We recognize our adversary and the fact there is a war. But I want to submit to you that the path we have been taught to overcome has become very mythical. I want to uncover some myths of warfare before we seek to provide answers.
Taking the High Places
This could be one of the most embarrassing teachings I have heard concerning the subject of spiritual warfare. You are a far ways off from Biblical truth if you need a physical location to overcome a spiritual enemy. But for years there were men and women who taught the body of Christ to get as high as possible in order to gain an advantage over the enemy. For some that meant a mountain, a skyscraper, and even a helicopter. We must take the high places!
There is a simple answer for why this teaching is irrelevant. There is no higher place for the believer than to be “seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6) That seat is “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” (Ephesians 1:21) This can save you money from renting a high rise or a helicopter. Jesus paid to high a price for you to waste money on an inferior position. Take your seat far above the enemy where the powers of darkness become your footstool.
More Demonic Activity In These Last Days
Many people believe that Satan is unleashing new spirits that we have never faced before as Christians in these “last days.” I have two questions for people that believe this. Does Satan have the power to create? Can demons be fruitful and multiply? The answer is no. Satan fell with a third of the angels of heaven and that is what he still has today. Which still leaves God’s kingdom and us as believers with two-thirds on our side.
Many would say that it is more evil today than it has ever been. But every generation says that. We no doubt have plenty of opportunities for sin with the increase of technology and access to almost anything in the world by our phone. But there have been more evil days. Have you ever read “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”?
During the days of the early apostles Christians were regularly attacked. Believers were burned to death at the Circus Maximus in Rome. For Nero’s birthday or any special holiday, he used as an excuse to have an afternoon for Christian martyrdom in the coliseum. Capacity crowds would gather to watch wild animals eat Christians alive. Some Christians were even used as human torches to give light for Roman workers during the night. There have been more evil days.
We are the church Jesus said the gates of hell could not prevail against. The church has been growing and multiplying for 2,000 years and we go from glory to glory. If we have been going from glory to glory since the day of Pentecost then we should be experiencing more power today than any other generation.
Misinterpreting Verses on Warfare (Scooby-Doo Effect)
The word “war” or “warfare” are used a few times in the New Testament. However, each time they are used has no connection to the devil but rather exhortations for us to conquer the flesh and take charge over our minds. Let me explain.
It’s what I call the “Scooby Doo Effect”. Many of you grew up watching this classic cartoon show featuring four teenagers, Shaggy, Fred, Velma, Daphne, and their talking Great Dane “Scooby-Doo.” Each episode is about solving mysteries that involve supposed supernatural creatures. After several minutes of twists and turns they discover not a supernatural being, but a dysfunctional person wearing a mask.
I am not trying to belittle the reality of warfare but many who are always fighting and chasing down an enemy are blaming the devil for everything, making their life and ministry look like this cartoon. The problem is not the devil; their dysfunction is evidence that the mind needs to be renewed. My hopes are that you will see that people can use the demonic as a mask to cover up the fact they refuse to renew their mind by the word of God. If we are to take any advice from the “Scooby-Doo” show, let’s pull the mask of spiritual warfare off and actually walk ourselves and others into the renewed mind.
Here are some scriptures to show how “war” and “warfare” are to be understood in the life of the believer.
2 Timothy 2:3-4 says, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No one engaged in warfare entangles himself in the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
Paul is using the example of a soldier to illustrate the way a believer should act during suffering or hardship. The example is to be single-minded and committed to pleasing the one who called them. This has nothing to do with the devil, but rather that we remained focused upon Jesus as we go through the trials of this life. Quit giving the devil credit for every difficulty.
Another example would be 1 Peter 2:11, which reads, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,”.
This verse has no connection with the demonic, but rather the fleshly lusts within the human nature. Can the enemy try to influence our minds and our fleshly nature…absolutely. But beloved, we give the adversary too much credit. Look at the verses in context and you will find that you don’t need any help doing bad. Your greatest enemy is not the devil it’s you. James 4:1 says “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” Another verse about war and the common denominator is the fleshly desires within, not the devil.
Don’t Let The Illegal Conversation Continue
We could continue to expose the myths but I feel I have given you enough examples that you can use as a reference point to expose any teachings that are contrary to what the scriptures shows us as truth. But God’s original intent for man brings us to the reality of our existence and provides answers for how we are to respond to the enemy.
God’s divine design was to take man that was created in His image and place them in a garden. Their commission was “be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” (Gen. 1:28, NLT). God never once mentioned that outside of that garden of perfection was a fallen angel with his angels that hated Yahweh and all that He had created. I believe God desired for Adam to walk with Him and through intimate fellowship and dominion man would cover the earth with the glory of the Lord. Through devotion alone it would produce natural dominion that gave the enemy no place.
With each step of obedience to the original mandate the garden’s borders would expand and Satan would lose more territory without Adam’s knowledge. Adam did not live in the reality of an adversary, but lived in response to the Presence of Jesus. Yahweh did not give Adam instructions for warfare, but access to His Presence was all that was necessary. It was when man started having conversations with inferior beings that problems arose in the garden.
Eve’s conversation with the serpent led to man’s agreement with God’s adversary and thereis is where spiritual warfare finds its roots concerning the human race. Thankfully, 2000 years ago Jesus came to another garden with the sin of Adam and hung it on the tree so that we could be restored back to the original mandate of devotion to Jesus. I believe Yahweh hates warfare more than anything else because it’s what took away the walks he had with His beloved in the cool of the day.
I believe that most of the modern day teaching of spiritual warfare is nothing more than the continuation of an illegal conversation Eve had with the serpent in the garden. Jesus gave us access back to the garden of God’s pleasure, so why waste your time entertaining conversations with the enemy when you have access to such a high degree of Presence!
This overemphasis on spiritual warfare is actually an insult to the finished work of Christ, His blood, His grace, and His Precious Holy Spirit. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for you to continue a conversation with the serpent. He desires to take a walk with you as He walked with Adam in His garden. I believe I hear the Lord calling, “Adam, where are you?” It’s not because He doesn’t know where you are, but it’s to see if you know where you are.
Paul was concerned for the church of Corinth in this same regard when he said, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:2-3, NKJV) Paul was convinced that there is an enemy, however he wanted the focus of the believers to be of “singleness of mind.”
Paul’s concern was for what another translation would call, “simplicity and purity of devotion.” (2 Cor. 11:3, NASB) Our overemphasis on the demonic world and spiritual warfare is robbing us of simple and pure devotion to Jesus. Yahweh is calling for His sons; Jesus is calling for His bride, to come back to the garden of devotion. Don’t be like Martha distracted with much serving, and don’t miss the call to the bedchamber of intimacy because you are too busy on the battlefield. This is the hour of great dominion. Our dominion doesn’t come from being proficient with our sword, but rather from our unwavering commitment to one thing: devotion to Jesus!