12 Signs Of Spiritual Warfare

Is what you are experiencing spiritual warfare, or ‘just life?’

For many months I blithely walked around my favourite local park, enjoying the gardens, the scenery, and my time out, oblivious to any dangers that might be lurking in the shrubbery.

Then one day I read a newspaper article about a boy who had been bitten by a snake in the same park just a few days before, and had been taken to hospital.

We are Kiwis living in Australia. We don’t have snakes in New Zealand. We can walk in the bush in our ‘jandals’ without a care in the world.

On my next visit to the park, I was on high alert. Tense, and on edge, I watched the path and was alerted by every rustle in the bush. There seemed to be an awful lot of rustling! I did not enjoy the walk that day.

Sure enough, I soon settled down and was back to taking pleasure in my walks. However I took some basic precautions; not veering off the paths and ensuring that I had my mobile phone with me if I was walking alone.

Balance in Spiritual Warfare

In Luke 10:19-20, Jesus said,

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Like my response to snakes in the park, there are two errors that we can fall into with regard to spiritual warfare. One is to ignore it altogether (2 Cor 2:11) and at the other extreme, to make too much of it.

Balance requires us to always step back and discern whether what we are experiencing is spiritual warfare, or just something happening that is physical and emotional, or a combination of both.

Our goal in spiritual warfare is not to draw or pay attention to what the devil is doing. It is to focus on God and pay attention to what HE is doing—and not put up with less than His best.

12 Signs you may be Experiencing Spiritual Warfare

Here are some signs of a spiritual battle taking place. Being alert to these can help you weigh up whether or not a situation is being affected by spiritual warfare.

1. Changes for the worse (especially sudden or severe) in areas of health, finances, relationships

Important note: When we are sick or when bad things happen to us, it is not always the devil that causes it
·It may be just physical
·Sometimes it is just life
·Sometimes (e.g. financial or relationships) it is others’ or our own wrong choices.

2. Temptation to sin—beyond the normal

Temptation originates with our own weakness and ungodly desires (James 1:13-15) but the enemy can use situations and people around us, to apply extreme or sudden pressure on us in these areas.

3. Pattern of recurring negative events

Note that this can also be indicative of a curse in operation.

4. Atmosphere – of pressure or oppression

In Rom 14:17, the Apostle Paul tells us that the Kingdom of God consists of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When we are robbed of these things, we need to pay attention. What happened?

5. Severe discouragement

We need to particularly pay attention when the first signs of discouragement strike. Discouragement or confusion should be like an orange flashing light, alerting us to the possibility that we are in a spiritual battle.

According to Rick Joyner, the progressive ‘sting of witchcraft’ is: discouragement, confusion, depression, loss of vision, disorientation, withdrawal and despair leading to defeat. These are the signs we need to pay attention to when on the alert for spiritual warfare in our personal lives and ministry [1]. One example of this in operation is Elijah’s response after he was threatened by Jezebel. (1 Kings 19)

6. Crippling condemnation

The conviction of the Holy Spirit is specific and brings conclusion through repentance, but condemnation is cloudy.

7. Intimidation and Fear (I Can’t)

This is especially so when the fear is pressuring you to stop moving in the direction of God’s revealed will for your life, or that of your family, ministry or church.

8. Confusion

The enemy thrives in confusion. We think it’s us. Everything gets hazy. Confusion is often an attack on our minds, but it can also be apparent in relationships where communication becomes distorted, perverted and misrepresented.

9. Anything that brings pressure to bear AGAINST God’s revealed will for your life

10. Pressure (beyond the normal) on important relationships

11. Battle in the mind – negative ‘tapes’ playing

Our mind (and that of others) becomes a central battleground (2 Cor 10:5), where the enemy tries to sow messages that are contrary to the word God has spoken to us or revealed in the Bible underscoring feelings such as failure, fear, condemnation, hurt, or even attack and accusation of others.

12. Distinct start time,

With spiritual warfare, there is usually a distinctive time of onset. If you have an ongoing history in one of the above areas, e.g. fear, relational or sin issues, it is probably not warfare. It may be personal ‘baggage’ that you need to deal with.

The Battle Won

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, [Christ] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Col 2:15)

The good news is that Jesus has won the battle for us on the cross. We can apply the authority He has given to us and enter into His victory.

In the next blog post I will begin exploring some ways to deal with spiritual warfare once you have discerned it taking place in your personal life, church or ministry.

If you have any ideas about other signs of spiritual warfare or personal experiences, we would love to hear your response in the comments section of this post.

Snakes Alive!

My first real-life encounter with a snake came later, in another park. The Hunk and I were exploring a trail when we came across a poisonous brown snake barring the way to our destination.

My intrepid husband crept closer to the snake doing his best Steve Irwin impression (‘Crikey! Isn’t it a beauty?)

I, on the other hand, dug my heels in and refused to progress any further, even when the snake veered off into the undergrowth. What if it was there again when we returned?

It seems that some things never change!

[1] Rick Joyner, The Surpassing Greatness Of His Power, 1996, Whitaker House:New Kensington


Related Posts:

Responding to Spiritual Warfare Pt 1: Identify the Enemy’s Strategy

How to Wage Spiritual Warfare: Specific Strategies You Can Use

Your Prophetic Word and Spiritual Warfare


© Helen Calder Enliven Blog

On team with David McCracken Ministries

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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35 thoughts on “12 Signs Of Spiritual Warfare

  1. I stumbled onto this page looking for information about spiritual attacks, and found it very informative :) I am wondering specifically about a specific time of attack being perceived physically, during the time of attack, as a stomach ache type of feeling (although different from a normal stomachache, more like a very negative feeling of butterflies or nerves).
    I believe this has happened to me more than once and I’m trying to learn more. Any insights?
    Thank you, God bless :)

  2. Hi there,
    My thoughts are that feeling spiritual warfare as a discomfort in the stomach area is quite possible. Jesus said that rivers of living water would flow from our ‘innermost being,’ and the Greek word ‘koilia’ has a literal meaning including stomach: see http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/koilia.html

    So it is commonly believed (and those of us who have an intercessory gift have experienced) that there is something significant spiritually about that part of the body – perhaps it is the place our spirit resides.

    So I don’t have a problem with the possibility that you might feel a warning check or discomfort in that area when spiritual warfare is occurring. :-)

  3. very informative. i am going through a spiritual attack. my relations with my sisters are so bad. my finances are in disarray and frankly i am at a loss at how all this seems to be happening all at once.

    i will continue to pray

    God bless

  4. hello i stumbled across this website not to long ago(today) and the first comment about how the what specially time its around 3:00 am it happen more had a fair share of experience with attacks and pyshcially attack i suffered a back injury last year because a severe attack it can also be link to something you not be aware of, or a link to family,issues or any other thing i do encourage i learning more only resently because so much you and what my friend told to say it i remember something in a book about that saying in the name of jesus and my friend said is in the name of jesus go back to where you came from (hell) that where you discover as well where might come from :)
    hey also to elsa when get to a severe i know it so hard when get where do loss hope but that when learn from god that be there and get victory with going though and even that attack just know as well i got told at church but a pastor who does prophecy is that stuff is happening mean god at work how awesome is that.

  5. I stumbled on this website looking for symptoms of spiritual attack. I feel so tired during the day and night. I may want to wake up and pray but I would feel tired and sleepy but when I go back to bed, I don’t fall asleep. I’m really battling, my studies and career are suffering, I don’t know what else I can do. However, during the day I can pray fervently.

  6. At a family party, I experienced a vision? (for lack of a better word) of writhing snakes in a ball and I a sense of heaviness and unhealthiness. I felt an urging to leave this place and I did not stay long( about an hour.) There is co-dependence and addiction in my family.

    That was over a year ago and now it seems difficult to communicate or connect with them . We are not on the same page.

    I know the Lord appointed me a spiritual interscessor and warrior and He has been humbling me and developing my discernment.
    I would like to understand the snake significance to learn His guidance better. Thank you

  7. Hi Darlene, I encourage you to pray further about what the interpretation of your picture means. That it is a ball (circular) seems to reflect the co-dependence you mentioned, and the snakes could speak of spiritual bondage. That you are observing it, and feel disconnected is good in that you are free yourself from it.
    This could be the time to seek God about how He would have you minister His life to your family. Whilst being distanced spiritually from the bondage, you can still be an expression of God’s love and personal care for your family.

  8. Last night I was attacked again it was no question it happpened. Several demonic spirits attacked me in my dream.
    In the dream I was with friends from church and we stumbled on a worn down outdoor assembly area where major witch craft was taking place. I woke up after being accused she is confused a strange women said with balck dirty hands. I was still half asleep but started praying boldly even in the dream I prayed. I opened up my book of prayers to breakthroughs and contined to pray at that point I physically had a blister on my lip. Followed by the demonic dreams. This also happened last month same swallen lips and blister on upper lip that experience also had demonic dreams before it appeared. I’m still a young christian and would love spiritual advice if you could contact me it would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Hi, I am writing, because I am finally doing something about my life that seems to have been cursed. It has been going on most of my life, but over the last 10 years, it seems to have turned more directly to me in causing many physical problems. I feel the worst has been the last 5 years since my new wife and I came together. She is like an angel, and I feel this could be the cause for the attacks, as if some “thing” does not want me happy in life. There is just so much to tell that I can’t write it all here. I also feel like I am being “prevented” from seeking help. My mind and thoughts are clouded when I try to do anything positive for my life, but are clear whenever I think negatively about things.
    I am not particularly religious, and I am a bit of a skeptic, which has kept me from seeking help as well. I do have a strong belief in a higher power, or “GOD” so to speak, and I consider myself a Christian, as I believe in Christianity, I just don’t go to church.
    To make long story short, my residences I have lived in all my life have tend to be “haunted”, and now I believe it follows me. My wife is now convinced, and she does not believe in anything like this, or religions, spirits, etc.
    I just don;t know what to do. Our house is a Rectory to a church, and leads me to believe it could be a place where many spiritual battles has occurred with the priests that lived here prior since the earl 20th century? I am guessing, but I can’t discount the fact that I had experiences all my life as well. I have accepted the fact that I may have spirits following me, but it has effected not just me in this house. My wife has had many nightmares of terrifying things since she moved here, and never experienced them before in her life. She is from Russia, never watched scarey movies, never has negative thoughts, and is an absolute angel. Recently, her brother visited from Russia for 2 months. He has never been to America. While he was here, even the first night, he told us of horrible nightmares he had about eating people, and sick things. I mean really, really horrifying things. That was when we told him of my wife’s experiences also, which were similar. I have had night terrors many times in my life, but this is highly unusual for people that stay here to have them.
    Please help, I have no idea what to do, what to believe, where to go, how to go about this, or what I should do next. There is so much to the story and my life, I am just convinced lately that I have to do something about it. My life is spiraling down, and I have no control.

  10. Hi Paul, I am sorry to hear of the problems and spiritual opposition you have been experiencing.
    I urge you to revisit your faith in God – pray and cry out to Jesus. Seek help from a strong Christian church or ministry where there are people who can come alongside you and pray. No one has to put up with the attacks that you and your family have been experiencing, there is help, and there is a better way.
    I pray for you right now, that any confusion will clear and that you will have the strength to find the help that you need and be led to the right people.
    As Christians, we know there is victory in Jesus – there is a verse from the Bible in Colossians that speaks of His power over spiritual forces and what He has accomplished through the cross:
    ‘When you were dead in your sins… God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’
    (Col 2:13-15)

  11. There are unpleant things I’d been dealing with lately myself; such
    as irrational phobia/anxiety. my nerves will begin to behave uncontrllably “out of the clear blue” and for no apparent reason. But among other afflictions, my relationship with my parents has seem
    to be rather harsh. I know it may sound somewhat silly for me to say that they’d been on my case and yelling at me in all, since it happens to about all kids. But I am strongly under the impression that this may be another attack, since, honestly, they will often fuss at, and me make me feel like I don’t think. Is it possible that I am being attacked in this manner.

  12. hi i am writeing looking for answers to what is going on in my house.first off i lost both my sons in a car wreck last may and thats when things started happening in my house.I have a tremendous roar in my house at all times i live alone and i seem to be the only one that can hear it the strange thing is that it follows me everywhere i go on top of that i have these small creatures that you cant see but can feel them crawl on my bed when im in it i wake up in the morning completely exhausted and drained ive captured pictures of these things and have learned not to fear them but i cant seem to get rid of them i pray all the time but nothing seems to help could these be paranormal i believe them to be demons im very confused on how to rid my life of them i am open to any suggestions.

  13. Hi Howard, I am so very sorry to hear of the difficulties you have been through and the loss of your sons, and also the strange spiritual things that are occurring.
    I do believe that we don’t need to put up with this kind of harrassment – as Christians we have authority to stop the demonic activity as we pray in Jesus’ Name.
    You don’t mention whether you are a Christian, but finding a good church where you can get some help in this area (if you haven’t already) may be a good idea. Enlisting help from people who understand spiritual authority who can come alongside you. Hope this helps.

  14. Hey im 17 and i have always been religious and prayed 2 months ago my bro left to go to the military and the night he left i had evil thoughts , images ,voices and i have never been a bad person in my life and its been 8 weeks and i dont know when the devil will flee i pray 6 times a day and pray with jesus and god to tell them to help and let the truth about who i am get me back to my happiness , i just want my life back and the lies and bullshit to go away i have been going above and beyond for people amd doing good works and i truth god and jesus that the will give me my life back . Any advice or past expirences ?

    • Hi Christian, I’m so sorry I missed your comment and am just catching up. It sounds as though you could benefit by knowing more about the Christian faith and what Jesus has done for you, and also having a Christian leader pray with you. If you do not have a church that you attend, look for a Christian church nearby that is of good reputation and believes in the power of God and prayer. I pray you find the peace that is yours in Jesus Christ.

  15. Good day
    Im a born again Christian and I live with my mother, Monday I came across something so disturbing early in the morning at 4:00…I saw footprints of an animal inside the living room and we don’t have pets or any of dog, we don’t even own a dog.I can’t stop thinking about this, is it an animal living inside our house and I know its not of God’s nature because its intruding.my mom at times hears sounds while we sleeping.

    urgently need help please reply.

  16. I praise our Lord and Saviour Jesus for this precise blog,I find it well iforming and quit enlightening.I am no more ignorent concerning spiritual warfare

  17. I am a part-time seminarian who works full time. I have been attending classes for two and a half years, and I am a third of the way through my degree. I have slowly hardened as I have attended school; I know what is happening, but I feel like I can’t stop it. My wife says I am not even the same man anymore, and she’s right. I am judgmental and cold, and I can’t live up to my own standards. I feel that the demonic realm would love nothing more than to see me give up on ministry. Am I making excuses for myself, or could this be true warfare against me?

  18. Hi Jeremy,
    In answer to your question, there will always be an aspect both of spiritual warfare and of personal responsibility.
    But what is most important right now, is for you to know that you are empowered to break free of where you have been. Holy Spirit is already at work in your life, awakening you to what is taking place in your spiritual condition, and alerting you to spiritual warfare.
    (These could well be signs of spiritual warfare… ‘feel like I can’t stop it’ and pressure to ‘give up on ministry’)
    If your desire is for change – and it sounds as though it is – I suggest making a move on two fronts…
    1. Spiritual warfare prayer, personally, you and your wife, and the help of others who believe in you and with you.
    2. Position for a fresh encounter with God. You mention the words ‘judgmental’ and ‘standards’ which indicates that your faith is being threatened by performance (this can be a religious spirit, but more often than not our soul’s craving to please God through reverting to works). So it’s important that you don’t respond with a to-do list of ‘good works’ :-) just a hunger to know Him.
    Especially a revelation of God as Father and His grace. I share something of my own journey in these articles and encourage you to reflect on this:
    http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/08/31/1-father-2-sons-3-positions/
    http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2010/09/05/no-longer-an-orphan-how-i-discovered-the-fathers-love/

    (P.S. If you are still struggling, don’t feel condemned if you need extra help—prayer ministry, counseling, whatever it takes… go for it. God’s extraordinary grace, He uses others to help us break free.

  19. So about a year ago i was freed from certain sins. One being porn. But it was a struggle for only a short while many years a back and never again was it a struggle. However lately i feel the enemy trying hard to bring that particular struggle back up. And I will admit I fell back into it recently, but everytime i looked at porn ot felt as though it wasnt me and when i finally realised what was going on I stopped. Is this an attack?

    • Hi Suzie, it does sound like an attack – I mention in the article above that sudden or extreme pressure in the area of temptation can be a sign of spiritual warfare. The main thing is that you obtain the means to overcome it and find peace. If spiritual warfare (and the insight that it is a temptation that is external from you) is what gives you the breakthrough, that is great, praise God! If there is an ongoing struggle in an area like this I always recommend finding someone who is a ‘safe person’ i.e. who will journey with you with grace and without condemnation but who will keep you accountable and pray with you. May you continue in His freedom. :-)

  20. It is awesome. One afternoon I was hit by lightening, was not hurt. After two days, an old man was found sleeping in my bed next to me. Again two days later ayoung girl was sleeping next to me with some sports on her face. All these incidents I used the athourity that my father gave me (Jesus).

  21. Thank-you for this post. I read your blog before and liked it on facebook and decided to consult your website because of what I am going through. Sure enough, the most current blog post related to what I am experiencing…a feeling of defeat in a battle but not the war. I try to find a balance in the spiritual warfare that I am going through. I am newly Christian and how this came to be is reminiscent of horror movie. I discovered I was the “healer” in my generation from one of my bloodline’s heritage. It explained a lot of the supernatural experiences I’ve had my whole life and my curiosity with occult subjects. Through wanting to do what’s right and a sudden thirst for the Truth, I developed a relationship with Christ simultaneously while I was pursuing being a healer…because I was told this “gift” was Christ based. Yet, Christ made it known to me that what my family practiced was witchcraft hiding behind Christianity and was truly demonic driven. I kept on asking myself why I wanted to be a healer. Why? To be special? To have some kind of power that makes me special? To control things? It didn’t make sense because we are all special to Him. My coming to Christ was bittersweet and horrifying for I briefly tried using a spirit guide for maybe a week…which I quickly realized was a evil being who has been around in my family for decades. I broke all ties with Satan and threw out all books and related materials to occultism. Then, I could not sleep. I don’t know what my family did in the past but I felt as though Satan was attacking me because of breaking some kind of long pact with him. I nearly went insane but through the power of Christ I overcame. Christ saved me on the Cross and He saved me from my ancestry. The problem I am having now is I still have prophetic dreams and experience synchronicities and psychic moments. I told God He could take that away from me if it is wrong and yes, I do feel like it is a part of me because I have lived with it all my life but I do not want to see a “ghost” or demon again in my waking life. I DO NOT want any of these supernatural things that occur to be from anyone else but God. He knows that and I pray that He keeps me free from it. I know it relies on my faith and that, I assure you, is strong. I’ve just been so deceived, even as a child, and I do not want to forsake my Savior for even experiencing these things. And yes, I know right now, I am experiencing a different kind of warfare then the one I had when I came to Christ. I lost the love of my life to someone else…and I know he is demonically influenced even though I did not focus on that because like you said, find balance. Now I have a cracked rib. My work and my neighbor were robbed. This all happened in the last week. The messages I’ve received is that he will come back. He is someone who helped lead me to Christ and I feel like I can not let him drown in his alcoholism and lust but it’s his battle too. But everything rational points to that he is gone and I should move on. It would take a miracle for him to become sober and for him to come back. And yes, I believe in miracles but I don’t need one to believe in my Savior. I don’t want to feel this sorrow and I know everything is how it should be at this moment. Is this just the time to regroup and gain more insight from the Holy Spirit for I feel like I lost this battle and Satan is bringing these things around me to spite me and rub it in my face. He doesn’t win and he can’t have me so he takes away this person I love so much hoping it will make me return to my old ways. I don’t even know why I started to write this now except that I feel inclined to reach out to somebody who may more vividly understand what I have been through. God bless.

  22. Hi Helen, Thank you for your genuine concern for people and encouragement. I just wanted to share that I have been through stuff too – heavy weight on chest, hearing screaming at night in my head, feeling electrocuted upon waking, having something invisible walk up my bed, etc. And I wrote about this and what I learned on my blog. Please check it out if you want and let it be a resource to help others. It is so much harder to go through this kind of stuff without support from people who have been through it. This is why I share my story- to help others – and why I appreciate your ministry. You can find my story at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com, in the ‘Child of Mine: Chapter 22: In Jesus’ Name’ post or a shorter version at myimpressionisticlife.blogspot.com in the ‘Supernatural Stuff and spiritual armor’ post. Thank you.

  23. Hi Heather, thanks so much! I just found the page you mentioned and was amazed to read that you experienced the ‘waking up to demonic screaming’ thing, exactly as I had one time! I have never come across that with anyone else before, so thank you.
    I think the hardest thing from those years was not having anyone to talk to about what was happening. Praise God, we do not need to journey alone.
    I am completely free of that harassment now and the occasional ‘skirmish’ is quickly dealt with. :-)
    (For anyone else interested, Heather’s blog post is here http://myimpressionisticlife.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/isi-16-supernatural-stuff-and-armor-of.html

  24. I absolutely agree that the hardest part is having no one to talk to, not only because I wanted the support and help but because it is such a powerful, faith-changing experience. And it is hard when no one wants to discuss it with you or believes you. Thank you for your support and for understanding, and for your bold ministry. God bless! (i also have only occasional ‘skirmishes’ now, usually when I share my experiences with others or try to open people’s eyes to the spiritual battle going on around us.)

  25. Great article!

    To all those under attack, I would suggest the book:
    Healing the Wounded Spirit by John and Paula Sandford.
    There are lots of examples in there of spiritual attacks and defense.

    As well, seek out a deliverance ministry with strong leaders, with gifts such as discernment.

    I call the group prayer, “gang warfare”. The nasty people sometimes do bad things as group, and so I expect it can take a group to counter the attack. It can be tough to do singlehandedly.

    In chess, it’s quite rare to win with a one piece attack; easiest when you have many strong pieces outnumbering the opponent’s king.

    HTH

  26. I am Rev.Dr.Lalmawilien,Director,Ministry of Healing and Community care.In 2003 God spoke to me,lay your hand upon the sick and the sick will become well,and also have the authority upon the demonds. In 2006 God spoke to me again ‘Conguer the by my power ‘ From this year I entered in the spiritual warfare field.Many evil spirit posessed came to me they were delivered by the wonderful power of the Lord Jesus.Having many problems becouse of the black-megiciants they get well.See,may be a demon posessed,may be evil spirit possessed and also black-megic caught, they are well.When I call by the power of God who practised black-megic,or demons they appeared before me,even the possession also can see.We can talk to them in any language.I can send them out by the power of God.I realy interested in your ministry. Within a few years over 19 thousands has been delivered.Evil spirits,demonds in the form of different pictures may be inside the room,may be on bed possible to see when I call by the power of God.

    • Praise God for His delivering and healing power, Rev Dr Lalmawilien! Thank you for leaving your testimony here. :-)