The topic of spiritual warfare is ignored or minimally addressed in most churches. When it is mentioned, the context is typically muddy, the practical advice is minimal and people are left with little help on when, where and how to do this warfare. How can you fight an enemy you cannot see?
Part of a Christian’s walk is to walk by faith and not by sight. We are to live life from the inside out, to not conform to the ways of the world and be transformed by the renewing of the mind. When it comes to “seeing” things in the spirit realm, many people are confused because they have not been taught well in the church.
The bible says that we are to be alert to the enemy’s schemes as they work their plans to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Paul tells us in 1 Cor 12:10 that one of the spiritual gifts we are to operate in is discerning of spirits. Many Christians get taken out because they do not see what they are fighting and therefore are easy prey!
Children of God, we are supposed to “see” and understand in the spirit world, including the demonic realm! If we do not, we will be flattened and destroyed. God’s people continue to perish because of their lack of knowledge and growth in this area (Hosea 4:6).
You may be asking if we need to see demons (or angels) with our natural eyes. The answer is no, however many people do see these creatures in the natural. In a similar way, no one sees radio waves but we “know” they are there because of the resulting sounds that happen when we turn a radio on.
How can we know if we are discerning the spirit realm?
- You can identify their fruit in people’s lives. We are told to observe the good fruit of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives (Gal 5:22-23) but the same applies to the demonic realm. Someone who is bound up in fear, addictions, perversions, depression, anger and the like very probably has these spirits working in them. These people need deliverance from the torment; counseling or medications are not the complete answer.
- You “sense” them in various places and people. We all have been in places or around people and just know that there is a dark presence at work. We call it various names but our spirit is discerning the presence of evil. It typically takes spiritual maturity, training or other gifts (word of knowledge for example) to know what the names of these spirits are. It is an important part of our counseling and deliverance ministry sessions. In a similar way, we are often able to sense the Holy Spirit in someone at just the first meeting
- Hearing the voice of God involves discerning His spirit. Bookstores and the internet are full of resources and teachings on how to hear God’s voice and know that He is the one talking. This is also the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits at work in us when we know that it is God, and not our flesh, that is speaking.
- Identifying the source of thoughts you have. The demonic realm is able to put thoughts in our head in the same way that the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Is every bad or wrong thought from demons? No, but many of them are and when we discern that we are better able to resist the demons so they will flee from us (James 4:7).
What instances have you seen in your own life where you discerned spiritual enemies at work? Were you able to see it ahead of time or only after the fact?