The difference between deliverance and spiritual warfare is that deliverance is dealing with demonic bondages, and getting a person set free, whereas spiritual warfare is resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy’s lies (in the form of deception, temptations and accusations) that he sends our way. Deliverance involves the breaking up of legal grounds, the tearing down of strongholds (offensive spiritual warfare), and the casting out of demons. Spiritual warfare on the other hand, is dealing with three key things the enemy sends at us: temptations, deception and accusations.
This teaching will give you an idea of how spiritual warfare works. There are other teachings on this site that will go into more detail on certain areas of spiritual warfare.
Offensive vs. defensive warfare
Spiritual warfare comes in two ways: offensive and defensive. Offensive warfare is tearing down the strongholds the enemy has formed in your mind through deception and accusations, and defensive warfare is guarding yourself against the tactics or schemes of the devil.
The enemy’s three primary weapons
There are three things that we can expect from the devil. The Bible tells us that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against demonic forces. Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The three primary things we struggle against include:
#1 Deception: To deceive somebody means to make another person believe a lie or something that is not true. When the enemy sends deception your way, it is an attempt to deceive you into believing something that is not true, so you will fall into error. Strongholds are built through deception. A stronghold is formed when deception takes hold in a person’s mind. A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that stems from believing something that is not true.
From the very beginning, Satan deceived Eve into believing that God’s Word was not true. In Genesis 3:4, the devil told her that she will not surely die as God said she would in Genesis 2:17.
#2 Temptation: Temptation often follows deception. First the enemy tells us, “You won’t surely die!”, then he makes the fruit on the forbidden tree look good to us. Since Eve accepted Satan’s deception (his lie), now the tree that she was not supposed to touch looked good to her. She was tempted (enticed) to sin, because she allowed herself to first be deceived. Temptation is when we are enticed or encouraged to sin in one way or another.
In Matthew 4, Jesus was led out in the desert to be tempted by the devil. The devil tried to convince Jesus that it would be harmless to jump off a building. Often people will be so drawn to sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend when the enemy tries to convince them that it is all harmless and fun, when it’s not harmless at all, but an open door to the devil. Jesus saw through Satan’s deception, and resisted the temptation by speaking God’s Word. King David said in Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
When the enemy tempts you, he’s showing you the worm… but behind that worm is a hook. The Word of God helps you see the hook behind the worm.
#3 Accusations: The devil is known as the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). He is known to take a believer who has done an embarrassing or gross sin in their past, and continue to rub it in their faces and beat them down with guilt and condemnation over their past.
Dealing with deception
We have two weapons to deal with deceptions: the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14) and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) which is the Word of God. Both are truth, which is found in God’s Word, so why are they given two different names (a sword and a belt)? Because one is meant to be defensive (the belt), while the other is meant to be offensive (the sword). This means that the Word of God is both an offensive and a defensive weapon. A belt is something you wear to guard against an attack, while a sword is used to slaughter the enemy.
You use the belt of truth (God’s Word) to guard against the enemy’s deception (lies) he sends your way, while you use the sword of the Spirit (also God’s Word) to tear down existing strongholds (deception that took hold) in your mind.
In Romans 12:2, we are told to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” How do we renew our minds? By getting in God’s Word! In Ephesians 5:26, this process is referred to as washing of water by the Word: “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
Dealing with temptation
In James 4:7, we are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. But it’s not that simple; in the same verse, we are also told to draw near to God. Dealing with temptation is a two fold process of resisting the devil and drawing near to God. The closer you get to God and the more you become aware of His love, the less power temptation will have over you.
James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (The context of those verse is clearly speaking of temptation).
In the teaching Forgiven Sinner or Saint?, it shows you how the power of sin (temptation) can be broken in our lives.
Dealing with accusations
The fiery darts of the enemy in Ephesians 6:16 are accusations sent our way. For example, when the devil tries to accuse us of our past sins, we are to have faith in the work of the cross and know that they are forgiven and not to look back. Faith is what we use to put out the fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16). We are not to meditate about our pasts, because they have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17), and our sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17).
Ephesians 6:14, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (knowing your sins have been forgiven through your faith in the work on the cross), and having on the breastplate of righteousness (not our righteousness obviously, but the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus);”
Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), but because of the work of the cross, we can receive the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22, Galatians 3:6). Therefore when the enemy tries to remind you of your past, tell him it’s been washed away (2 Corinthians 5:17), your sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17) and you have the righteousness of God (Romans 3:22)!
There are other teachings on this site that will specifically help you wage war against the enemy’s accusations. They include Condemnation versus Conviction, The Power of Your Thoughts and Dealing with Guilt.
The tearing down of strongholds
A stronghold is deception that’s taken hold in a person’s mind. It’s an incorrect thinking pattern based on a believed lie. People can get incorrect perceptions of God by listening to Satan as he tells them how God doesn’t love them, etc. People can feel like dirty old sinners when they believe Satan’s accusations as he continually reminds them of their past (which has been washed away!). Strongholds are based on lies from the devil. They can come in the form of deception or accusations. Accusations always lead to guilt and the feeling of unworthiness, which weighs you down and tears you apart spiritually.
Since strongholds are built upon lies that we have been fed, the way we tear down strongholds is by feeding on the truth (in God’s Word), which is the opposite of what the enemy has been feeding us. If the enemy has been feeding us a lie, we need to stop eating the lie and start feeding ourselves the truth. The weapon we use to tear down strongholds is found in Ephesians 6:17, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” A sword is an offensive weapon and is meant to tear down and kill the enemy’s troops. Strongholds are the devil’s assets in war, and he uses them against us. Take up the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) today, and start slaughtering the enemy’s assets that he’s been using against you!