The truth about spiritual warfare


“If your spiritual warfare has you breaking a sweat you are fighting the wrong enemy with the wrong weapons.” Phil Drysdale


We are in a battle of that there is no doubt. However many Christians don’t realize that the war is already over, the reason there is a battle is the fact that we are still fighting!

Colossians 2:15 tells us that on the cross every power and principality was defeated and disarmed. The enemy has been defeated. The demonic has lost all power.

However we fight on. The truth is that while the devil is certainly still fighting away on this Earth he needs mankind to empower him because he has been stripped of all power. Because of that the highest level of spiritual warfare we need to engage in as believers is to remind the devil that he has lost. Simply standing firm in our healthy beliefs of what God has said over our lives will strip the devil of every power he has in our lives.

Even the famous passages about spiritual warfare hammer this truth home. There are two primary ones. 2 Cor 10:3-5 – Verse 3 says “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh”… so they are of the spirit right? Well yes in one sense, but read on, verses 3-5 continue to say that our warfare is not fought in the spirit but rather in our minds. We must destroy arguments, opinions and anything against the knowledge of God.

What about Ephesians 6, we have to put on our spiritual armour and fight right? Well no actually. We are told to put on our spiritual armour and stand. We are to withstand the enemy, standing and having done all we can to stand we must… stand.

Where did we get fight from?

In fact even the items of armor are not things we earn but rather free gifts. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God (Jesus not the Bible) – all these things are Jesus, they are a gift to us and He fights our fight for us, in fact He already has, He’s simply enforcing the result.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you for your victory over the devil, that you came and did what we could not do ourselves. I pray that you would help me today to stop fighting and striving against the enemy and instead stand firm on who you are and what you have done. That I would be confident of Christ in me who fights my battles for me.

This devotional is an excerpt of my book “Renew Your Mind in 30 Days”, a collection of my 30 most popular devotionals re-written and added to. Designed to help you experience transformation in your life as you renew your mind. You can work through the entire 30 days of mind renewal as a free course via email by signing up here.

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  1. the sword of the spirit..the word of God…
    I guess that go with 2 Cor 10:3-5 and also when Jesus was using scripture when he was being tempted of the devil…

  2. Personally, I think there is passive warfare and aggressive warfare. Passive is more the ‘renewing yr mind’ warfare, which we do by loving those who are hard to love, and actions that show we are doing warfare by the act of peace in stead of violence, that sort of thing… but then there is casting out demons etc, healing the sick, which i call more aggressive warfare. If we look at the life of Jesus, we see him doing both. I dont think the war is over. Yes the enemy is defeated, but you have the whole ‘already done’ work of Christ, and the ‘not yet’ of the eschaton, the church is to be about what Jesus was about. As such, the church is to be an extension of what Jesus was doing. What would you do if you encountered a person with a demonic spirit? What does ‘standing’ look like in this instance? If we just believe that its all in our minds, wont we then be very passive Christians that do not fight the enemy on any ground? And i am not meaning we see demons behind every bush sort of thing. I also believe that Christians now have full power and authority over the devil, but the unsaved do not, as they are not ‘sons’ with the right of sonship, and do not even realise there is a battle going on.

    • Seeing people healed and delivered from demons is never a “hard” work, it couldn’t really be described as warfare! I mean scripturally the entire process rarely requires more than 3-10 words.

      We must remember as well that Jesus was operating with people who were still living at a time where the devil was empowered and so things have changed since then… Jesus died and rose again, the covenant changed from old to new.

      I love seeing people set free from demonic influence and being healed but 9/10 (and I’m being generous) that’s going to happen by seeing them renew their minds not by fighting with demons.

      • I hear you,although there has been times in my life when the fight was to stand,laboring to find that rest. AS MY BELIEF SYSTEM comes more into alignment with JESUS finished work thereby more Stand less fight..LoL.Lord you know my very thoughts before I speak them.You are Awsome Phil,keep on keeping on BELOVED,in the BELOVED.

        • Thanks for sharing Lisa! I know what you are talking about – that standing can feel harder than fighting sometimes! :)

  3. You do have to know your authority in Christ to cast out demons! You also cannot have any strongholds, footholds, or open doors in your own life or you will have no authority in those areas. I believe there are far more demons cast out of places than there are people. Of course with people free will can get in the way as sometimes we like to hang on to stuff we shouldn’t.

    • I like to look at it this way, the only way you are going to have a demon is to not know your authority in Christ, who you are in Him.

      So I just teach who people are in Christ and they are going to get set free all by themselves :)

      As you said, people love to cling onto who they aren’t and what they shouldn’t have (demons) so casting them out isn’t a good idea. If they of their own will want them it’s not our job to get rid of them, its our job to get them to a place where they aren’t just going to invite more back once we leave.

      Love you Kip – hope you are doing well. Thanks for sharing :)

      • So are you saying we shd not cast out demons then? I understand the Old Covenant/ NC thing, but didn’t Jesus lump casting out demons alongside raising the dead, healing the sick etc…. so why shd we think that it is not necessary anymore? I do tend to agree with what you are saying, but it’s finding the Truth amidst everyone’s opinions that I find the hardest thing to do!

        • Not at all – I think it’s great to get rid of demons. I think this happens best when we help people realise who they are in Christ. But whatever the method, no demons is a good result :)

          My comment on not getting rid of demons for those who want them there is that there is just as much biblical evidence of Jesus saying don’t do it as there is Him saying do it.

          It’s much like trying to heal the sick when people want to be sick, you might see a temporary result but typically these people just get sick again. Their identity is wrapped up in their sickness.

          In the same way many people’s identity is wrapped up in their demon. I think however there are many people who have become wrapped up in their demon but don’t want to be and are actively looking for freedom. If they aren’t there then this is the place we want them to get to before doing anything about demons, in my opinion.

          Love you Tracy, great thoughts and questions as always :)

  4. I like the overall point because I think Jesus defeated and bound Satan. I think any good system of eschatology should account for that. The gospel went to the Gentiles, and that’s huge. Along with the gospel and true faith comes freedom and countless other blessings.

    To be honest, I still see spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, including not only defensive armor, but an offensive weapon, which is the sword of the Spirit. The shield must also be used in an active way if it is to be effective. The assumption is that some entity wants to come at us to wound us and knock us over. That’s why we must take heed that we stand firm and make use of our shield and sword.

    • Hi Martin,

      Don’t get me wrong, all of these are active things… my point is they aren’t US.

      The sword of the Spirit is there to fight some serious battles and kick some serious butt… the problem we have is the sword of the Spirit is Jesus… NOT us wielding a Bible.

      It again points to us letting Jesus work through us… our job… to stand, just to be a passive instrument of righteousness… a branch bearing His fruit.

      That’s my thoughts at least, hope that helps clear up where I’m coming from.

      I’m not saying all the armor is to sit in the corner and do nothing… I’m saying all the armor is Jesus! :D Therefore even if it is active, we aren’t!

  5. As refreshing as ever Phil….and so freeing…”it’s for freedom” eh?
    Stay well my friend…was just talking about some of this the other day,how we quote from New Testament and present it as the New Covenant,which hadnt happened until Jesus was crucified..THANK YOU JESUS…Im a fighting free gal…fully satisfied as you say Phil…keep them coming and when you have done all stand ha ha ha…

  6. Martin made a good point about the sword… sorry.. not trying to knock you down Phil, I love your posts. Just trying to figure it out as usual. :)

  7. The imagery in Col 2:15 is of a ruler being utterly defeated. In that time, they’d take the losing ruler, cut off his big toes so he couldn’t balance, cut off his thumbs so he couldn’t hold a sword, and drag him through the streets of the city so all the people would know he was totally and completely defeated. Women and children would spit and throw things at him. This is the picture that is painted about how defeated the devil is – he’s a joke.

    Concerning exorcisms: My favorite story is of two associate pastors who were casting out demons from someone in the pastor’s office. The possessed person was seizing, puking, and doing all the things that possessed people do. After about 2 hrs, the pastor walked in and said, “This isn’t happening in my office.” He sat down, told the possessed person to sit up and simply asked, “Do you want to be set free?” to which the reply was, “Yes!”. The pastor then began to tell that person about the grace and unconditional love of God. There was NO MORE rebuking. NO MORE fighting. Rebuking and fighting didn’t solve the problem – the knowledge of the LOVE AND GRACE of God did.

    • That certainly is a powerful image Joshua! Gives us a real good image of how powerful the devil is supposed to be!

      And as for that story – that’s my kind of deliverance!

      I’ve seen the same thing play out many times in the different churches I’ve been in… certain demons don’t need more harsh yelling or more puking… they all need the same message of grace preached to the person.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Another great story of God’s love – Pastors went to Africa for a mission trip. On their arrival, they were met by a witch doctor who told them that they would die – all his spells had killed the previous preachers who’d come before them, and they should turn back. They continued.

    When they got to the meeting, their were priests and witch doctors standing in the back chanting. The associates asked, “Should we run them off. They’re a distraction.” The pastor said, “No, if we run them off, then the people will believe they actually have power. They don’t have any power. Jesus has power.”

    That night, when they went back to their tent, they found voo-doo trinkets outside that were to curse them. The pastor said, “Let me have those.” He put them under his pillow and slept like a baby.

    By the end of the trip, several priests got saved, the people witnessed how powerful the witch doctor was (he wasn’t) , and the glory of God showed through because of the love, grace, and mercy that pastor showed. The pastor never had to rebuke, fight, or cast out the devil – HE JUST LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I love it!

      Wendy Backlund has this amazing quote that makes me laugh – “Most Christians are more sure of a witch’s curse than a pastor’s blessing” – I love it when we see people secure of who they are in Christ and not afraid to walk in it!

      Thanks again for sharing!

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