I had a couple of big fears as a kid: 1) boa constrictors and 2) quicksand. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve happily realized that neither quicksand nor boa constrictors are the everyday struggles of adulthood that I thought they’d be (bills are much worse).
When I was nine, I became afraid of the devil and seeing demons.
Raised in a Christian home, I heard a lot of talk about spiritual warfare, how God and His angels fight against what Paul calls “principalities,” “powers,” “the rulers of the darkness of this age,” and “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
However, like my thoughts on boa constrictors and quicksand, my thoughts on spiritual warfare have changed. I believe a spiritual battle rages on, but it doesn’t always look like what I thought it would.
Sometimes it’s tempting to reduce spiritual warfare to someone being possessed by a demon or to think it’s only paranormal activity or something missionaries experience when they share the gospel with witch doctors. Spiritual warfare is those things but not just those things.
If the good news of the gospel is that God is love, He’s been faithful, and salvation is already achieved in Jesus, then spiritual warfare could be as simple as things that keep you from living in His love every day. Spiritual warfare could be the urge to doomscroll on your phone and become so discouraged with your life that you go shopping instead of to your small group. It could be the urge to find your value in your productivity at work so that you don’t make time to be still in God’s presence or be present with family.
Songwriter Andy Gullahorn once wrote a song called, “If I Were,” in which he croons about what he’d do if he were the devil:
No, I’m not the devil but if I was / I’d take God’s people and split them up / To keep their minds off who they’re called to be / . . . I’d make moms and dads who never stick around / Pain so bad you have to drink to drown / And guilt so I can kick you when you’re down / And I would, if I were. 1
Maybe you didn’t know it, but we’re all fighting battles. What does yours look like? Is it giving your guilt to Jesus? Is it putting your phone down? Is it finding a Christian therapist? Whatever it is, fight the good fight of faith.
- Gullahorn, Andy, Flashlyrics, https://www.flashlyrics.com/lyrics/andy-gullahorn/if-i-were-92.
Allie is a 2012 ARISE graduate and on-staff writer and communications assistant for Light Bearers. She is fascinated by the intersection of faith and the creative process and enjoys poetry. When she’s not watching a good movie with her friends, she enjoys narrating life with mediocre accents.