As part of my study in scripture this year I’m following along with the Growing4Life Bible Reading Challenge. My blogger friend, Leslie, does a new challenge each year, and you can find all the details here: https://growing4life.net/2023-bible-reading-challenge2/.
This week as I’ve read through Mark 1 several times, I keep coming back to a couple of verses I highlighted:
Mark 1:23 – Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!”
Later in the chapter, there is a second reference to demons:
Mark 1:34 – And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
Just a few observations about the unseen reality of spiritual warfare that exists in our world today.
#1 – Demons like to go to church and blend in.
A demon-possessed man was attending church with the rest of the religious. Apparently, no one noticed until Jesus came into the synagogue and began teaching with authority. There’s no reference to a disturbance before He arrived. It doesn’t say this man saw Jesus enter the synagogue and followed Him in to make a scene; he was already there. It was only the powerful, authoritative teaching from the mouth of God that exposed the unclean spirit. In the presence of God, he could no longer stay hidden or quiet.
2 Peter 2:1-3 – But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
#2 – Demons know very well who Jesus is.
The demons immediately recognized Jesus as “the Holy One of God.” Before rebelling against God and choosing to follow Satan, these same demons (fallen angels) had been in the presence of Jesus for untold millennia. They knew exactly who He was, and why He came.
James 2:19 – You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
#3 – Demons know they will be destroyed when God’s timeline is complete.
The fallen angels who roam this earth know their time is limited because God has a plan for human history. It has an ending. Satan has been given the kingdoms of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4) but his rule will end one day, and he and all demonic forces will be cast into the lake of fire. The demons know this. When Jesus appeared, they thought their time was up.
Matthew 8:28-29 – When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
#4 – Demons will do whatever they can to keep God’s plans from succeeding.
In the early stages of Jesus’ ministry, He desired to stay “under the radar.” He often told those He healed to keep it to themselves, and in this passage, He exercised His power over demons by not permitting them to speak “because they knew who He was.” Obviously, demons have absolutely no ability to thwart God’s plans, but it doesn’t keep them from trying. In the same way, demons are actively working overtime to blind the eyes of those who would believe in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
What’s our takeaway?
Spiritual warfare exists. Demons are real and often appear as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). They can blend right in, posing as faithful church attendees, but only until the authority of God’s Word exposes their true nature. Demonic activity is intentionally and strategically designed to keep you from believing the Bible is true, that God is real, that you are a sinner, and that Jesus came to pay your sin debt and redeem you.
What is it in your life that “convinces” you that God isn’t real, and the Bible is a myth? I can guarantee you that the source of that confusion is spiritual warfare. Anything that keeps you away from Jesus finds its roots in hell.
Even the demons know that one day, time is up for all who reject and rebel against God. Let us not be so foolish as to think we are smarter than spiritual beings who have stood and gazed on the face of God. And for those of us who have experienced the grace and mercy of God that opened our spiritual eyes, may we continue to proclaim who Jesus is, and why He came, so that others may be set free.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 – The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
3 thoughts on “The Reality of Spiritual Warfare”
Thank you, this put spiritual warfare in different perspective for me.
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Thanks for reading! I’m so glad our God is all-powerful and the enemy has no ability to harm His children, except as He allows for our good and the growth of our faith!
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