Spiritual warfare is a fairly new term to me – it could have just been a year since I first heard it. And it has always been a very scary phrase to me. Just the word war conjures images of dramatic fighting, violence and pain.
The adjective, “spiritual”, makes it worst. It makes me think that the war is fought against something that is dark, terrifying and elusive. Something you can hardly grasp nor identify tangibly.
So what is Spiritual Warfare? I like in particular this description of spiritual warfare taken from Fr. Robert J. Carr.
Do you ever think of yourself engaged in spiritual warfare? Often times those words bring up thoughts of exorcisms and heads turning around three hundred sixty degrees. However, in reality fighting temptation and living the gospel are themselves forms of spiritual warfare.
Therefore, believe it or not we actually engage in this battle everyday. Further, do not forget that the prize is the most precious treasure we possess, human souls. Our own and those of others.
And we cannot kid ourselves. Spiritual warfare is very real and could be very serious (we often diminish the seriousness of our sins but that is a whole new topic). But the whole idea is not to dwell on the difficulty and fear of spiritual warfare, but to recognize that God is bigger than any of that.
In necessity, in spiritual warfare, a response is needed. More specifically – a response to cooperate with God is needed.
What if war actually looked more like this?
Sometimes I fall short of that as well. When I feel strongly tempted by something, a draw to sin, I start fighting this battle inside my head. (You know those cartoons with the mini angel-you and mini-devil you debating over what to do – yeahhh that’s exactly how I feel). I often end up with a headache and no further from sinning. Perhaps it is just as simple as to turn to God and ask Him for guidance and strength.
Tips & Tricks
- Be constantly aware of your weaknesses – as the evil one is sly and will attack your pain points.
- Pray & fast – so as to deny yourself of your selfish and disordered desires
- Repent & rectify
It is also important to recognize that losing in the spiritual warfare doesn’t always entail doing something. If not, we would not be reciting how Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate every Sunday in the Creed when Pontius Pilate decided to ‘wash his hands’ off the matter.
Sitting on the fence gets our butts poked.
So in conclusion, be hyper alert to little voices in your head and to know if they come from God or from somewhere more sinister. God’s call is always a call to love.