Levels of Conflict
In our study of spiritual warfare, one area that we need to be aware of is the different levels or types of spiritual warfare that are going on in our lives, in the spiritual realm, and in the world around us.
I believe there are three main levels of spiritual warfare:
This is the constant ongoing conflict between the forces of God and His angels, and the forces of Satan and his fallen angels, or demons. On this level, we, as human beings, don't ordinarily have a lot of influence. Through the Bible we know that this level has been an ongoing battle since the original fall of Satan, also known as Lucifer. A reference to this level of spiritual warfare can be found in Daniel 10:13 where the angel sent to Daniel says, "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia." The "prince of the kingdom of Persia" was not a human prince, but one of the fallen angels who rebelled with Satan.
Just as Satan is called the "prince of the power of the air," so also are there other angelic "princes" in the heavenly realms. Michael is referred to as "one of the chief princes." By the above verse, we could also infer that the nations of the world have certain spiritual beings influencing them, due to the reference to the "prince of the kingdom of Persia." In another example of this, Daniel 10:21, and Daniel 12:1 would seem to suggest that Michael is the prince over Israel and the Jewish people. Even though we won't ordinarily do battle at this level, there may be times when we will be called to, and so we should always be aware of the fact that it is there.
When most people talk about spiritual warfare, this is the level they are speaking about. This is not surprising since this is the level that we are the most aware of on a day-to-day basis. This is the level where we can experience the temptation, oppression, deception, and other forms of demonic influences that we are aware of on a conscious level. Since the rest of the Spiritual Warfare section will be focusing mainly on this level, I will only mention it in passing here.
This is probably the least talked about level of spiritual warfare, although I believe it is probably the most dangerous and insidious. By using the word "environmental" here, I'm not referring to our ecosystems, or natural resources. I'm talking about our moral and spiritual environment; the society and culture we live in every day. Every day we are bombarded with images and values contrary to what we know is godly and holy:
For more examples of this take a look at The
Dead Frog Report.
(Part of THE RAPTURE INDEX)
Did this happen overnight? Of course not. This has been a gradual change that's been taking place over decades. For example, what do you suppose would have happened back in the 1950s if, right after Ozzie and Harriet, the network decided to broadcast a show like one of today's soap operas? There's a good possibility that the local television station might have been burned to the ground! So it had to be a gradual process. Another example: When All in the Family was first broadcast, it was considered to be racy, and risque. It dealt with issues that had long been considered to be taboo on network television. Some people were shocked at what they saw. Now, All in the Family is considered to be "the good old days" of wholesome TV shows. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching it also. I'm just showing how our "moral barometer" has been adjusted through the years. What was once risque is now looked back on as family entertainment.
This trend is not exclusive to television, it's just that television is where the change is most easily seen. But if we take a good hard look around, we can see it everywhere in our society. It is reflected in our entertainment, in our news coverage, in advertising, in our music, in the best-seller book lists, etc.
As Christians, we need to take a good hard look at our own values and morals, and what we consider to be acceptable in our own lives, and see how it rates with what the Bible tells us that God considers acceptable. I'm afraid a lot of us won't like what we see. I'm not excluding myself. I'm just as guilty as anyone in this area. What used to shock me on television, I now just shake my head at, or sometimes don't notice at all if I'm not paying close attention. The point is, if we allow our moral standards to be lowered or compromised, then Satan has gained a major foothold in our environment and in our lives. We must always be careful not to allow any "chinks in our armor" to open up, because Satan will target them without fail and without mercy. To keep our armor strong, and our "moral barometer" on track, we need to study God's word on a daily basis.
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there by any praise, think on these things."
Now that we've laid the groundwork, the next page will take a look at discernment. Too many times in our lives, we tend to automatically place the blame for every bad thing that happens to us on Satan and his workers. The fact is, just because something bad happens to us, we shouldn't immediately assume that we are the target of spiritual warfare. This is where discernment comes in. This is when we should ask ourselves, Is it really a spiritual attack?
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