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.

Snakes Alive!

My first real-life encounter with a snake came later, in another park. My husband Malcolm (aka 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

Spiritual Warfare Online Course

I have just launched 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.

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.

Related Posts:

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

How to Wage Spiritual Warfare: Specific Strategies You Can Use

6 Reasons Why Moving in the Opposite Spirit is Powerful

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries—a part of the David McCracken Ministries family.

74 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

    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.

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