Oftentimes, spiritual warfare is seen as an attack from the outside. Some larger outside force attacks with the intent to cause personal harm taking the form of financial failure, marriage infidelity, natural disasters, rebellious children, economic depression, war, or dissension in churches. And sometimes, this is spiritual warfare.
But sometimes it is not. Rather, these events are direct consequences of yours or others actions and desires. The greatest battle for spiritual warfare is not the larger than life events; instead it is in the smaller thoughts and feelings stirring inside.
Thoughts. Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly to better evaluate your thoughts.
- What do you think about? How much time do you spend thinking?
- Do you replay conversations over and over in your head?
- Do you fantasize about how to get even with someone?
- Do you image achieving a great result to vindicate yourself?
- Do you focus your thoughts on one area of our life (i.e. work) at the expense of another area of our life (i.e. family)?
- Do you wish for someone else to experience the same pain as you?
- Do you dream about winning the lottery?
- Do you focus on your past failures wishing you done it differently?
- Do you call yourself a failure, loser, or other self-depreciating statements?
Each one of these thoughts is actually part of your spiritual battle. More appropriately named distraction. These negative thoughts distract you from thoughts that are good, pure, just, and holy. Eventually your focus moves off God and onto more worldly desires. Some of these desires seem innocent such as winning the lottery and giving the money to family and charity. But this simple fantasy sows seeds of dissatisfaction in your current financial state and seeds of envy for those who have such luxuries.
Feelings. Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly to better evaluate your feelings.
- If it feels good, do you do it regardless of whether or not it violates your standards?
- If it feels good to buy a new piece of clothing, do you do it even if you don’t need it?
- If it feels good to flirt with someone, do you do it even if it jeopardizes your marriage?
- If it feels good to have a drink or two or three, do you do it even if you risk becoming drunk?
- If it feels good to mouth off to someone, do you do it even if you risk damaging the relationship?
- If you don’t feel like reading the proposal, assignment or book, do you do it anyway?
- If you don’t feel like parenting your children today, do you do it anyway?
- If you don’t feel like dealing with your grief, do you do it anyway?
Feelings or emotions can drive you to do an action or not do an action in spite of your thoughts. However, just like thoughts can lead you astray, so can feelings. Intense emotions such as fear may propel you to do something to supress the uncomfortable feeling instead of confronting it. Or discouragement may cause your to do nothing at all. Feelings are not bad. God created them. But feelings which drive our behavior without a thought can be destructive.
Spiritual warfare is not always the big things happening around us; sometimes it is the little things happening inside of us. Take an inventory of your thoughts and feelings to see if they need a cleansing. After all, most historians will tell you that the greatest battle is the one you are fighting right now.
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