The Reality of Spiritual Warfare:

The Invisible War & the Victory of the Cross

by Berit Kjos

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while... you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuiness of your faith, being much more precious than gold ... may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ..." (1 Peter 1:6-7)

 "...the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed..." (Romans 8:18)

 "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:10-13)






Spiritual warfare is not a popular topic in today's churches. Few Christians are even aware of the raging battles in the unseen places. And even though 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 loyal angels to help, protect and guide us according to our needs and His purposes.[1] As He did with His servant Job, 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 small 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 His faithful servant before he finally saw the victory:

        "...the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?...
      So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"
      And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life."
      So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head....
      Then [Job's] wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!
      But he said to her, "...shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not 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. But we, too, will face challenges beyond our human understanding. And when we do, we, like Job, can trust our omnipotent Savior to guide us through the times of agonizing tests and anguish. Be encouraged by His words below:

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested....  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. " (Rev. 2:10)

Prayer and Preparation

My first experience with the forces of darkness took me by surprise. I knew virtually nothing about spiritual warfare back in the spring of 1973. But one evening I received a phone call from a distraught young woman. Karen, the stranger on the other end, 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 bondage that had enveloped her, I invited her to come to my home later that week. Then I started to pray.

Just two weeks earlier, I had joined the new "Compassion Corps" at our evangelical church. My first assignment was to "counsel" a young woman (Karen) with a three-month old baby. She had called the church for help and indicated 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 she called, I felt utterly inadequate to help her. But through my weakness God would show me His strength -- and His victory! 

        "...they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits..." (Matt 8:16)

Keep in mind...

Satan's lures have brought sickness, death, fear and confusion from the beginning of time. As Biblical Christianity spread throughout the Western world during the last five centuries, the spiritual darkness diminished. But now the tide has turned! Today's children face an unthinkable flood of corrupt enticements. Mind-changing schools, movies, occult games, seductive books, and mesmerizing music are fast banishing the good and welcoming the evil! And few are learning to resist the temptations! [3]

With our Bibles and some 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 their thrills are often short-lived, for when God withdraws His hand of protection, the people face unthinkable consequences. (Study the chart)

Today's "liberated" youth are immersing their minds in corrupt and occult realities. As we might expect, they have little or no tolerance for Jesus. Nor did the crowds that watched the trial of Jesus two millennia ago:

       Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But [Jesus] answered him not one word....
       Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.  And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. ...
       Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy....
      But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”
      Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
      They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”  (Matthew 27:13-22)

Karen fights 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 well 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 the 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. Then, with my Bible and concordance, I began my study on angels and demons -- confident that Satan's malicious trickery was no obstacle to God's power and protection.

      "Do not be discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chron. 20:15

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.

"His disciples asked Him privately, 'Why could we not cast it out?' So He said to them, 'This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:28-29

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 an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter 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 showed 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. It reminds 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 power, Karen was "winning" the battle. During the next few months, she 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.

    "...take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 
         "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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints..." (Eph. 6:10-19)

"...thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ!" (2 Cor. 2:4)

Endnotes that point to spiritual warfare

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 and 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

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.
"...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)

"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

The Nature and Tactics of Satan  |  Spiritual Warfare |  Reiki

Holistic Health | Unequal Contenders in the Spiritual War

  Victory in Christ