crossroads cartoon with copyright

Recently, my husband Malcolm and I were leading a training session on spiritual warfare, when one of the participants asked a very insightful question. He said,
‘How can you tell the difference between spiritual warfare and God testing you?’
That was such a great question that I wished I had thought of it beforehand! We were running short of time, but I have since given this a lot of thought, and this is what I’ve come up with so far:

It’s very difficult to tell the difference between spiritual warfare and God testing you because both are generally taking place at the same time! The key is to know what God’s purpose is and embrace it, and what your adversary’s purpose is, and turn the tables on it! This is, of course, easier said than done.

God’s purpose in spiritual warfare

God allows tests & trials and these do include seasons of spiritual warfare. In these times, His purpose in allowing the attack is to purify our faith and strengthen our spiritual authority (see 1 Peter 1:6-7, 5:8-9, Rom 16:20).

He also allows us to go through temptations that serve to highlight our weaknesses (we tend to have blind spots when it comes to our own ‘stuff’) so that He can show us MORE of His grace and love and transforming power.

For example, in Luke 22:31-32, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter went through denial and failure, but he was a better, more humble man for it and was greatly used by God in leading people to Jesus.

The enemy’s plan in spiritual warfare

Whilst God’s plan in testing is for us to come through the trial as bigger and better people, stronger and closer to Him and each other, satan’s strategy is that we get stuck in the trial.

He wants us to give up, hold back, remain hurt, and be afraid. He will mask his messages with our own thoughts. We need to be especially aware of the battle that is taking place for our minds. It can be helpful to step back objectively and review the ‘tapes’ that are playing in our thoughts. It is only as we identify what these are that we can address them by wielding the sword of God’s word—Bible verses that speak God’s truth into our situation.

As prophetic people, it is vital that we understand the difference between God allowing us to go through a season of testing, and the enemy seeking to rob us of our prophetic gifts and ministry call. Both usually happen at the same time. But we can definitely turn spiritual warfare to our advantage because Jesus has already won the battle for us.

I dislike spiritual warfare, especially when it’s affecting those I love, and who would enjoy personal failure? However, I’ve learned to see the benefits in both.

I’ve just skimmed the surface here, but if you have any more thoughts in response to this question, I would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment!

The information in this post is excerpted from the e-book, ‘Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts.’ If this post has ministered to you and you would like further help in the development of your prophetic gifts, click here to review the book.

Spiritual Warfare Online Course

I have just launched my first new online course, ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’ and I warmly invite you to join me!

This course includes around 30 mini-lectures on video and is full of Biblical wisdom and strategies to help you overcome in time of battle. There is also a downloadable full transcript in PDF version.

And once you’re in, there is no expiry date, so you can continue to journey with me through upgrades and increased course content in the future.

The Bible has great news. If you have discerned signs of spiritual warfare, you do not have to be weighed down by spiritual oppression or put up with pressure and attack! Find out more about the course, ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’ here.

See also Prophetic People and Spiritual Warfare in the Church and Prophetic People in Testing Times: Signs of Trial

©  Helen Calder   Enliven Blog

In the David McCracken Ministries family

13 thoughts on “Prophetic People and Spiritual Warfare: What is God Doing?”

  1. What is never tested can never be proved or disproved. I remember reading in psychology, some very interesting theories about our subconscious (Freud anyone??) and I could really not believe some of the outlandish stuff that many years later was still a valid enough statement to be written in 21st century textbook. Turns out, the reson most of Freud’s theories are still widely discussed is because they can’t be tested and therefore neither proved or disproved. Luckily for us, we live a faith which can always be proved. On the downside, like anything that can be proved, it has to be tested.
    I had a yucky year last year, it was a Job year, only in the midst of it, it didn’t always feel that way, I sooked, I cried, I sulked, I was silent with God.Here was He, His word telling me He had a hope and future meant to prosper and not harm me and here was I stomping around like a petulant two year old, stuck in the testing forgetting everything He ever promised me. I didnt realise it, but God was wanting to purify me like silver in the flame, but I was letting the enemy keep me where I was.
    Boy was I annoyed when I figured it out!! And there was God patiently waiting while I finally had my Homer Simpson “D’oh!” moment.
    Sometimes, we can get angry at God, when we know it’s Him, that He’s testing us, but what we need to do is PRAISE Him for it, to me, when it’s getting messy, I realise now, it’s a sign that God’s preparing us for something bigger. And of course the enemy is gonna jump on in, He doesnt waste his firey darts on the ineffective, but on those he sees called to a bigger purpose.
    At college last semester, I studied Old Testament and surprisingly loved it way more than I thought I would… But something hit me when we read Job – God pointed Job out to satan!! Say what??!! He pointed Job out to satan. He let the enemy have his way with Job for a bit…cus God being God knew He could Romans 8:28 it. Yeah, the devil had his fun, but what happened to Job? Read the last chapter…
    God has purpose and even uses the devil for His good purpose!
    when I realised I’d been set into the flame (or Jobed if you like), my circumstances didnt change, not straight away, but my perspective did. suddenly the flame seemed exciting, sure I wanted out, but only to see what was waiting on the other side!
    So yeah, I’m a James 1 kinda girl now, and I like fire… sometimes doesnt feel like it but I do. Can we all be spiritual Pyromaniacs??

  2. Malcolm Calder

    I love your comment Helen on….The Hunk. Hmmmm nice. Cool thoughts. I have always found that a “Test” has pressure, decisions, temptation and sometimes even heartache but in the end hopefully wisdom and truth prevail. Warfare on the other hand seems always to have the “Unusual” attached to it. The out of the ordinary factor which wants to such the spiritual life out of us….for good. like you say Helen, satan wants us to be “stuck” in it.
    In the end the outcome for both …..should be the same as we wrestle with the situation, we do have the Holy Spirit and…the Name of Jesus as the truth “in it” is uncovered and brought to bare.
    Harri, I love your Spiritual Pyromaniacs comment…John Wesley said…”If the Church is on Fire the lost will come to watch it burn!!”

  3. Great post Harri,

    I can’t say I ever look forward to the test. There is something in all of us that will settle for the short cut if we can. It was probably a major factor in the fall. Knowledge and wisdom as a consummable rather than learnt through diligence and experience.

    But I sure do love the other side.

    John Wesley also said “I set myself on fire and the people come to watch me burn.” But this fire isn’t pyrotechnic. It is pure unadulterated passion. It fuels us for the test and the triumph.

    I’ll have some of that.

    Ray Keefe

  4. How can we tell if it is a test or an attack?

    I don’t think it actually matters.

    Both cases should lead us to prayer, the use of our God given authority in the Spiritual realm and seeking to give God the central place in everything we are and do.

    So either way, the kingdom of darkness loses.

    What a thought. If we let God be God and serve him faithfully, even the attacks become a setback for the enemy.

    Ray Keefe

  5. Harri, love your processing, I sure have a lot of ‘D’oh!’ moments myself.

    Ray, I like your thought about both leading us to prayer. That is exactly right, and wow, turning spiritual attacks into enemy setbacks… hmmm that sounds so good I think I will find a place to use that in my writing somewhere!

  6. I have come across spiritual warfare. I have heard them fight, or so I think. It is hard sometimes to decifer what is your mind and what is real. But i’ve had expiriences i dont even think i’m able to talk about. Some might think i’m crazy but i know i’m not. A part of me is looking for answers, but the other half just wants to let it be. All i know is that it is REAL and there are battles going on all around us. These are not good times, I can feel it, I just choose not to dwell on it. Though I would suggest to find your way with god. It’s the only way you’ll make it to the light. god bless 🙂

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