I’ve been cautious about addressing the topic of spiritual warfare. There are two main reasons: The first is that, in my experience, there has been a gross preoccupation with the devil and his works. For some, there is a demon in every teacup. My estimation is that this focus on spiritual warfare and what the devil is doing has been fear-based and therefore unhealthy. His activity, with this mindset, can be so easily magnified out of proportion with the power and authority that Jesus possessed and has delegated to his followers. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matt 28:18). Does that leave room for anyone else?
The second reason is I’ve had the benefit of the example of leaders who live with a constant expectation of good because we serve a great big God who has our best interest at the centre of his heart. I have often seen leaders, full of faith, celebrating the goodness of God even in some very difficult circumstances. Without negating the reality or the effect of the spiritual battle, they have chosen to be preoccupied with what God is doing rather than what the devil is up to. Bill Johnson puts it like this: “We don’t deny the existence of problems, we just don’t give them a place of influence.”
Let’s remind ourselves that the devil is a created, finite being. Scholars agree that the Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-14 passages allude to Satan and to his eventual demise. He was an archangel like Michael and Gabriel, full of beauty and wisdom but because of pride, wanting to become “like the Most High” he was stripped from his place of honour and cast to earth. Yes, he has a measure of power still but he is no match for Jesus. He is a pawn in God’s hand.
The revelation of the Father gives us perspective
When our hearts are secured in the love, goodness and bigness of our Heavenly Father, then we begin to develop a proper perspective on this issue. During the Toronto renewal, when so many of us were being impacted by the revelation of the Father’s love, one of the worship leaders, wrote a song entitled, Great Big God! It was a song that captured a proper perspective on the bigness of God and the smallness of the enemy. (Have a listen and let the Spirit plant this truth in your heart).
Have you ever considered that the pressures of life you might be feeling have nothing to do with spiritual warfare? Could it be that your loving Father is chiselling the image of His Son on your soul? So, instead of railing at the devil, it might be better to let God do some gardening in your heart.
Holy Spirit, help us discern what you are doing in our lives so we can cooperate with you to form Jesus in us.