The Reality of Spiritual Warfare: 

The Invisible War & the Victory of the Cross

by Berit Kjos

"When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick." (Matt 8:16)

"Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases." (Luke 9:1)

"... be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Spiritual warfare is not a popular topic in today's churches. Few Christians today are even aware of the raging battles in the unseen places. And while angels and demons are mentioned throughout the Bible, few contemporary pastors are exposing the nature of these spiritual forces from a Biblical perspective.

Hidden from our earthly eyes are two kinds of spiritual warriors: God's faithful angels and Satan's malicious demons.  Our sovereign Lord uses His armies of angels to help, protect and guide us according to our needs and His purposes.[1] He uses the “fallen angels – Satan’s demonic rebels – to punish the wicked, to test and strengthen our faith, and to demonstrate His uncompromising justice.[2]

Of course, that short and simplified explanation only provides a glimpse of the ongoing battle. But remember this: when the devil rages against God's faithful people, our Shepherd always wins! The Book of Job illustrates it well. Notice how God allowed Satan to test and torment Job before this faithful servant saw the actual victory:

       "...the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?....
      And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
      And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
      So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
      Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
      But he said unto her.... What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." (Job 2:3-10. See also Job 1:8-22)

When Job's trials finally ended, God richly blessed His faithful servant. Like Job, we, too, can trust our omnipotent Savior to guide us through times of agonizing anguish. Be encouraged by His words below:

"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."  (Rev. 2:10)

Prayer and Preparation

My first experience with the forces of darkness took me by surprise. In the spring of 1973, I had joined the new "Compassion Corps" at our evangelical church. My first assignment was to counsel Karen, a young woman with a three-month old baby. She had called the church for help and told the staff member that she was a Christian. She said she suffered from fear, anger and depression as well as mental and spiritual confusion. So the church office gave her my name and phone number.

When Karen called me, I felt utterly inadequate to help her. This distraught young woman had immersed her heart and soul in a satanic cult: a dark spiritual reality that was virtually unknown to most Christian churches. Unaware of the terrifying occult forces that had enveloped her, I invited her to come to my home later that week. I prayed that through my weakness God would show me His strength -- and His victory! 

Using my Bible and concordance, I began my study on angels and demons -- trusting that Satan's malicious trickery would not be an obstacle to God's power and protection.

Keep in mind...

Satan's lures have brought sickness, death, fear and confusion from the beginning of time. That spiritual darkness seemed to diminish during America's first centuries, but the tide has turned! Today's children  face an unthinkable flood of corrupt entertainment. Mind-changing movies, occult computer games, seductive books, and mesmerizing music are fast banishing the good and welcoming the evil!

With the Bible and a few reliable history books we can trace the ups and downs of this movement. We see that when nations dismiss God, the masses are "free" to seek enticing substitutes. But the joy is short-lived, for when God withdraws His hand of protection, the people face dreadful consequences. (Study the chart)

Today's "liberated" youth are now immersing their minds in occult "virtual realities" that entrap blinded captives across America. As we might expect, they have little or no tolerance for Jesus and His followers.

       "...they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.   Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him....
      But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
      Pilate saith unto them, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?"

all say unto him, "Let him be crucified". And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, "Let him be crucified." (Matthew 27:16-23)

Fighting the Forces of Evil

A few days after her initial phone call, Karen and I were sitting in our kitchen and praying, asking our heavenly Counselor for guidance. He led us for the next seven hours as Karen shared her traumatic personal history, read Scriptures, extended forgiveness to all who had hurt and abused her, confessed her own sins as God brought them to mind, and then praised the God who had begun to heal her. Though she had not yet mentioned her occult connection, she left full of joy, God had indeed touched her, and her heart was singing.

The joy didn't last long. That evening she called me in a state of panic. Her home was in chaos. The baby was screaming, her husband was threatening suicide and she was terrified.

God then prompted me to ask if she had been involved in any occult activities in the past. "Yes," she answered. She was aware of the evil behind that dark seductive power that had been tormenting her.

I knew little about demonic oppression and spiritual bondage, but again God prompted me to ask some questions. First, had she kept any of the objects and symbols that still linked her to the cult?  We asked our Shepherd to help her remember, and she began to list all the objects and clothes in her house that had been used in ritual worship. We prayed that He would guide both Karen and her husband as they sought to do their part in cleansing their home of all occult connections.

When Karen called back the next day, she had completed her search and discarded all relics from her years of bondage. We thanked God, but my concern had deepened. Matthew 12:43-45 and other Scriptures suggested that she might face more battles before she would walk freely in God's victory. Remembering Mark 9:29, I suggested we fast for three days.

Andy, my wise husband, suggested I call our church for help. So I did. The only available pastor was supportive but could offer no advice. He prayed that God would lead me, and we both trusted that He would. Meanwhile I continued in prayer, study and fasting.

"...the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead....  But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.  And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?  And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:26-29)

Some hours later, the phone rang. A woman I barely remembered meeting at a Christmas gathering introduced herself. She told me that God had prompted her to call me with some advice. She had found my name and phone number on an old Christmas list. A bit skeptical at first, I listened, praying that God would guard me against deception.

"Open your Bible to the blank pages in the back and write down these instructions," she said. "You need to know how to lead someone through deliverance." 

How did she know about Karen?  Neither Andy nor I had told anyone other than our associate pastor. When I told her about my need, she shared my awe at God's amazing ways.

Following her instructions, I wrote three pages of notes. Then we prayed together, and she added an interesting comment. "If you are fasting," she said, "drink juice as well as water. You will need it."

Wow. That was good news. Half a day after starting the fast, I had felt waves of nausea.  God knew something I didn't at that moment: I was pregnant with our third son and desperately needed something more than water in my stomach.

Three days later, on a Thursday, God led us through the steps He had given me through the insightful woman. This time, Karen left my kitchen with the certain knowledge that God was her Savior, King, Lord and Shepherd.

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."  (Colossians 2:15)

A week later

But Karen's battle was still not over. That Sunday night, Dr. Dick Hillis, then the General Director of Overseas Crusades International (OCI) -- spoke at our church. By God's amazing plan and timing, he described the demonic oppression, possession and deliverance he had witnessed on the mission field from 1933 to 1961 in Asia. Then he stressed this warning:

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.  And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.  Then goeth he, and teeth to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24-26)

I took God's words to heart. Karen had already memorized some key Scriptures in preparation for spiritual warfare. But we needed to discuss the Armor of God and make sure we were both covered by His protective life.

The next three days went well, but on the fourth night she called again. Her frightened voice exposed the intensity of her battle. When she tried to describe the scary, hideous demons that were pressing in through "the door" of her mind, I, too, could sense the dark presence of evil. Those images reminded me of the gruesome faces now popularized in today's corrupt, mind-changing movie and video entertainment.

Preparing for more nighttime calls, I put some bedding next to the dining room telephone and prayed for God's continual guidance.

By God's grace and power, she was "winning" the battle. Through the next few months, Karen learned how to resist her demonic oppressors through prayer and Scriptures. Hungry for His Word and presence, she grew fast in Christ and became strong in faith and spirit -- ready to fight the spiritual battles we all face in these challenging times. Christ had set her free, and within two years, she was teaching Bible studies and encouraging other women in their faith.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 
       "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.   And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:   Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints...." (Ephesians 6:10-18)

"...thanks be unto God, which always caused us to triumph in Christ!" 2 Corinthians 2:14

 God's Army of Faithful Angels

      Once in a while, God pulls back the curtain and allows us a glimpse into unseen heavenly realms and the mighty forces of our Lord. In 2 Kings 6:11-17, we see the Syrian king planning an attack on "the king of Israel." But the king's wise servant knew enough about Israel's prophet Elisha and his supernatural gifts to be concerned. "Elisha tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom,” he warned the Syrian ruler.
     That didn't seem to worry the invading king. "Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him..." he told his servant....“Surely he is in Dothan [central Israel]. Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city."
     But God had prepared a far greater army: "...when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was [the Syrian] army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?”  
     So [Elisha] answered, “
Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

     And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." (2 Kings 6:15-17)

"When I cry out unto Thee, then shall mine enemies turn back; This I know, for God is for me.... In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid..."   (Psalm 56:9-11)

"In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"   (Psalm 56:9)

Relevant Information about Spiritual Warfare

Freedom from Oppression: Steps to deliverance from occult bondage

The Nature and Tactics of Satan  |  Spiritual Warfare

Holistic Health (click on polarity)  |  Reiki

Unequal Contenders in the Spiritual War 

Victory in Christ

1. Angels: Genesis 3:24, 19:15, Exodus 3:2, 23:20-23, Judges 13:18-21, Zechariah 1:12, Matthew 16:27, Luke 1:19, Revelation 12:7, 22:16
2. Demons: Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalm 106:37, Mark 5:9; Luke 4:41, 9:1, 9:38-42, 10:17, James 2:19
3. Tempter: Temptation: Matthew 4:1-7, 6:13, Mark 14:38, 1 Corinthians 7:5 and 10:13, James 1:12-14, 1 Thessalonians 3:5