5 Signs You are in a Spiritual Battle (and how to overcome)

Has anyone ever said to you, ‘Do you want the good news or the bad news first?’ In that moment, you hope that the good news more than compensates for the bad news!

spiritual_battleThis is the approach Peter takes in his first New Testament letter. ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ (1 Pet 5:8) After sharing the bad news, he adds:

  • You are able to resist
  • You can stand firm in faith, and
  • You are not alone (see 1 Pet 5:9)

This good news does not just alleviate the bad news—it completely overturns it! The truth is that you are victorious through Christ. However, being alert means that you need to pay attention, so that you can identify when the enemy is at work.

There are going to be times when you are faced with opposition from people, or human institutions, or systems set up by people. And those things are applying pressure against you.

Perhaps you can relate to this now.

Paul reminds us to discern with our spiritual senses when this occurs. For although the conflict appears to be from a human source, there may be a demonic power behind it.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…’ (Eph 6:10-12a)

That word ‘schemes’ in the Greek is methodeia. It means ‘to follow craftily, frame devices, deceive’ and is also translated ‘wiles’ or ‘lie in wait.’ [1]

It is this very trickery that causes us to believe that the source of our battle is a person or human in origin, when it is not.

5 Signs you are ‘not fighting flesh and blood’

‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…’ (Eph 6:12a)

The Greek word Paul uses for ‘struggle’ can also be translated ‘wrestle’. It is defined as:

‘Wrestling (a contest between two in which each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck)’ [2]

This metaphor gives us some insight as to the signs and effects of a spiritual battle taking place: [3]

  1. You feel stifled; it feels as though there is a stranglehold coming against you
  2. You are being held back, or pushed back in some way
  3. You are on the ground (feeling disabled) and you don’t know how you are going to get up
  4. You are tempted to feel as though you are a victim
  5. You are feeling knocked around or beaten up

The struggle is against God’s purpose for your life, your marriage, family, work or ministry, and you may even be tempted to give up.

As soon as you become aware of the true nature of the battle, you can turn it around.

At the very moment you discern the true source of that warfare—that it is not a person, a system, or an institution—you can shift the battle into the spiritual realm.

How the Battle Turns

‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)

Kingdom EncounterInterestingly, James makes this statement in the context of human conflict (see James 4:1-6). Are you looking for a person fighting with you to change, in order for the battle to shift? According to the Bible, the turning point of spiritual warfare is not when the other person changes.

The turning point comes when you recommit personally to God, coming under the authority of the One who has ultimate authority.

Submitting is whatever the Holy Spirit shows you to do—and can involve many things including:

  • A conscious reaffirming of Jesus’ Lordship in every area of your life
  • Coming back to a position of faith and believing God’s Word
  • Repentance, so that any ‘foothold’ the enemy has had in your life is broken (Eph 4:27b)
  • Repositioning in your thinking
  • An attitude of worship
  • Recognition that the battle is a spiritual one and that your place is with Jesus, ‘seated in Heavenly places’ (Eph 2:6)

Now, you resist—and that enemy must flee. Because submitting to God and actively resisting makes you dangerous.

Finally, the best news of all:

‘The Lord is a warrior; the LORD is His Name’. (Ex 15:3, NIV)
‘The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.’ (Isaiah 42:13a NKJV)

There is a revelation of Who your God is, that you will only receive in the midst of a conflict.


[1] https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3180&t=KJV See also Eph 4:14 KJV

[2] https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3823&t=KJV

[3] For more signs, see my article 12 Signs of Spiritual Warfare

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, 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 a spiritual battle taking place, 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 Post:

© 2016 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

47 thoughts on “5 Signs You are in a Spiritual Battle (and how to overcome)

  1. Willie

    Hello Helen, I am in a battle for the last 14 months. I am knocked out by the legal system and have no other choice but to surrender to thr forces against me. I pray that Father will forgive me as there is nothing else I can do. I have resisted fiercefully, but cannot get victory. I now leave it in Fathers hands.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Willie, sorry to hear that, praying for you right now for peace and strength. Being yielded in Father’s hands is the best place to be. Believing with you for His Divine intervention to turn your situation around.

  2. Francis

    I thank you for this article because I am going Theorieuthrouh spiritual warfare sensing a prophetic Calling

  3. Cheryl

    Thank you Helen for this great read. I have a great battle for my life in the past two years. I had such a difficult time explaining the war to anyone because I knew it had to be a spiritual one. All I knew was that I sensed the was a very large cannon pointed at my head and wanted me dead. Spiritual battles don’t make sense in the physical world, so finding someone to help me battle was such a struggle. But, Praise God I would not give in. I made it through the battle by the Grace of God. Reading your article is a relief to my soul because these battles are real.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Cheryl, this is such a truth… ‘Spiritual battles don’t make sense in the physical world’. What a great testimony you have. You are positioned to help others who are struggling into the experience of Jesus’ grace and victory.

  4. Wendy

    I must continue to stand on the word of God & rest in him no matter what confronts me, for he will fight all my battles. The fight is not against flesh &. blood, but principalities & things I cannot see. I will continue to worship him in spirit &. truth, rest in him,repent when I make mistakes, and be alert at all times wearing the armor of God.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      I love that, Wendy, He will fight all our battles. Your thoughts remind me of the story of Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chron 20 ) Very inspiring!

  5. Daniel

    Am a young man that has been called to ministry by God but I have since been stiff necked. God has seriously warned be that nothing else would work out in my Life until i answer the call. Thanks be to God recently I decided to obey God but I am still asking him for the way forward only to be hit by discouragement and spiritual lukewarmness. Please pray for me.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Amen, what a truth. He is OUR warrior, He is MY warrior. Touched my heart too, Philip

  6. Jean Marc Doufta

    I am always blessed when receiving your teachings. Thanks alot Helen or the teaching of today.
    and may the Lord’s anointing upon your life increase! I respect that anointing!

    Shalom !

  7. thuliswa

    Hellow Helena
    Thank you so much for today article,you just read all of me,I sometimes feel like I’m not good enough
    Thanks for reminding me the truth

    This again

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thanks Thuliswa, and yes, you are more than ‘good enough’ in His sight! You are blessed, you are chosen, you are favoured. God is at work on your behalf.

  8. Daryl

    Hello Helen,

    I just wanted to say thank you for your dedication to the work of the Lord and these awesome articles you post periodically. As praying man who loves the lord I often find myself under spiritual attack and many time cannot discern the who, what, where, or why. Not sure if it’s suppose to be like that but i often find myself very tired and certain times of the day and feeling a certain pressure on the right side of my temple. I been praying for God to reveal what that is and why it happens at random or when I come into the presence of certain people. Your articles from what I read are always rhema words for my situation and I appreciate you for that. God Bless and I will keep you in my prayers.


    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Daryl,
      thanks for your encouragement and prayer, I appreciate that!
      Your description reminds me that some people are more sensitive to the spiritual realm, and you may have a gift of discernment operating, too. If the tiredness and pressure is happening regularly, you could pray about what to do in those times, and have a strategy in place… e.g. meditate on certain Scriptures or listen to worship, etc. I mention that because I am about to put a strategic uplifting and faith building song playlist together myself, for that very reason.

  9. Amanda

    Hey Helen! I’m stuck in one place there is no moving forward on rejects as if there is a stable block that is standing in my way of going forward in what ever what I do. At some days my spirit goes down as if there is no hope or I’m loosing faith.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Amanda, sorry to hear you are feeling stuck. I am praying for you right now, for uplifted faith and for breakthrough.

  10. Dr Petty Makoni

    Thank you for this teaching. What has come up to me is that we, through God fight the force of darkness behind and not flesh and blood. My question is- It is quite clear that there are satanic agents in the form of human beings- they are willing to be enemical (rebelling against God) and they do things to hurt or harm you be it in an institution/family or as individuals. Hence, the feelings of hurt, pain and discouragement because a satanic agent (willing tool of the devil) makes the wrestle real – Haman had to hang on Mordecai’ gallows, which he had erected for him. When we confront situations, as a problem solving tactic, we actually confront people, systems, structures etc – knowing too well God is fighting the demon in them. Witches for instance know they practise witchcraft on people – when caught they suffer the consequences – the Bible is clear, suffer the witch not to survive and Christ gave us authority to tremble over all the power of the enemy. There shall always be a continual war between forces of evil (satanic) and forces of goodness (Godly). This disparity causes conflict for as much as evil resists, it will be overcome by good. Paul says we are appointed unto these persecutions ( real pain inflicted), but our God is faithful, he avenges.

  11. Sadan Johnson

    It was a timely mail on my In-Box in the times of struggle. I could turn it around. May God bless you to be a great blessing.

  12. Conny

    Dear Helen,
    what an article! Now I see what has happened to me all the time in a different light. What you described is exactly what has happened to me since my prophetic mum died. I am in constant struggle when one thing seems to be solved the next is right there on a different level. I would like to stop the battle and turn everything around. Finding people who employ me is one thing getting a real grip on my life with Jesus authority another. I am happy that Jesus healed my ear and the relationship with my course coordinator is good again, my students are also ok, by the way most of them are Japanese this semester and my health trouble and everything started right after I had explained to them why we celebrate Easter and Christmas and that is because we believe in Jesus as our saviour!
    Lots of Love and Psalm 27

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Conny, it’s good to hear about your ear being healed, and that your course coordinator is good. May you experience the fullness of Jesus’ healing and may any pressure coming against you cease, in Jesus’ Name.
      I love Psalm 27!

  13. Michael

    What stood out to me is how you laid out each step in ultimately defeating the enemy: we have to understand that the adversity we are experiencing might not be of human influence but the devil at work. Then we must discern if that is truly the case and we must not forget turning to God and resisting the enemy we will prevail.
    Excellent read!!

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thanks Michael, such a big subject, isn’t it! Only room for a bite-sized teaching on a blog article, I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂

  14. jose ramos

    Amada profeta,sigo orando sin cesar,a pesar de no ver lo que vi en tiempo pasado,respecto a mi llamado profetico y apostolico,que el E.S. me ha dicho espera Jose. Sigo esperando a pesar de que son muchos años ya.Saludos y oro por usted.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hello Jose, I am sorry to hear of the waiting and waiting. I do believe that you can BE those things God has called you every day, even when the promotion has not opened up to you yet.
      **Prophetic – speak words of encouragement from God to others every day
      **Apostolic – be a Spirit-led influencer (leader) every day, be a good steward of the responsibilities you have, manage well and arrange things in Godly order
      **Find ways to serve others who have these callings
      God sees these things, and the desires on your heart. This may look ‘small’ to people but it God’s eyes, you are ALREADY great in His Kingdom.

  15. Nancy

    Hello Helen
    Your teachings have helped me get through a lot of things. Sometimes I had to ask if I was really called to the prophetic because my life has been about battle after battle. I even thought ” is this all there is to my calling? Sadness, pain, unending tears? “. But I thank God for you and for using you in my life. Thank you for reminding me that the struggle is against God’s purpose for my life.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Nancy, I’m glad you are finding the teachings helpful. Sounds like you have been through some hard times. May all Father’s favour towards you, and the richness of Heaven that is available to you, be a revelation in your heart today. <3

  16. Dessary Botes

    Thank you so so much!!
    Your teachings are so inspiring to me.
    May Yahweh bless you, your family and you ministry and keep you!
    You are such a blessing.
    Bless you
    Kind regards

  17. Bonnie

    hi Helen, good to know you! I am from Hong Kong and I’ve read your blog for 2 months. I am so thankful and blessed by your teaching, not only do I understand more about the spiritual gifts in biblical basis, but also in a strong sense of God’s love and kindness which strengthens me a lot on Father’s heart and intimate relationship.
    Recently when you have a new post, I would have a knowing inside just before I start to visit your blog, it’s so amazing! The Lord speaks to me through your teaching and I always felt it timely, touching and encouraging! I bless the new change of your ministry and I long for the online course! May the Lord Jesus Christ blows fresh wind of Spirit upon Enliven Ministry bringing newness and wonder to you!

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thank you so much, Bonnie! Your encouragement means a lot to me.
      It’s been many years since my husband and I visited Hong Kong – a very special place and dear to God’s heart. May you receive a fresh visitation of the Spirit upon your life and all of those around you!

  18. Stacie Sutton

    Merry Christmas Helen~many blessings to you and yours this holiday season! How DO you DO this?? Spiritual Warfare INDEED! In fact, I feel as if you wrote this entire post for ME!!( HI willie I see I’m not alone_God Bless you Willie and I hope we both get some peace!) I am so undone by everything in my life and just today I read the last words of King David in 1 Chronicles and realized that I truly was not humble enough, hadn’t fully surrendered, wasn’t ready to let the Holy Spirit take over completely and mad as hell at God. I’m suffering from depression due to a car accident 3 years ago, my resulting head injury, the fact that I’m still out of work and have three kids at home. I did read this post when it first came out but things got really crazy around here and I couldn’t respond to it then. I take hope and direction from everything you send and your posts have been a true lighthouse in the perfect sand storm of my adult life! I just wanted to let you know that you are a real gem and I thank the Heavenly Father for the words, grace and perseverance of YOUR work coz I for one need the life raft you provide! Much love and well wishes in the new year~Stacie

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Stacie, Merry Christmas!
      Before I get into my busy prep for Christmas Eve family dinner mode… I’m glad you are finding the blog encouraging and that makes me smile too. I pray you experience a release of healing, and that 2017 brings a breath of fresh air for you, of new possibilities ahead. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me too. <3

      1. O.A

        Hi Helen. Thanks for this piece. I am currently facing a marital battle. The devil really does not want me married and anyone that I bring seems not to have the consent of my parents, who are deeply into fetish things. I know, without doubt that it’s a battle as result of their involvements with the occult. The current relationship that I know started on God’s consent now gives indications in dreams and through a friend that has a prophetic gift that a break up seems to be the next thing. We actually decided to do so , considering all indications but I need this man in my life. Do you think God’s mercy can still intervene in this, despite all the recent spiritual signals we have had? How can we go about it?

        1. Helen Calder Post author

          Hello O.A, thank you for leaving the comment.
          I do not have any knowledge of the cultural or legal issues involved. But I do encourage you to pray and use your God-given spiritual authority – I also encourage you to be in consultation with wise Christian leadership, your own church and pastors is a good place to start.

  19. Anon

    Hi there,
    Needing prayer warriors. Last year I had revelation that children in my village were being taught witchcraft. To my horror I found that the nursery I had enrolled my son in was teaching Halloween and witches spells for an entire term. This had an uncontrollable effect on him. I was about to complain when I was hit with a 24 hour psychosis accompanied by taste affliction. It was children in need day. I was sectioned and a rainbow shone over the hospital every day for four days. I was released in 7 and immediately took my son out of nursery and placed him in another school. I felt compelled to complain to ofsted about his former nursery. When I did, in the January, I was struck with another psychosis. I was trapped in the mental hospital for 7 weeks where I learnt by what nurses said and did that nursing staff were pagan and there were several Christians being severly mistreated and held in this appalling system. On release I complained about their mistreatment to the hospital. In sept and oct I faced more spiritual attacks on my home and family. My husband has opposed my faith to the point of throwing away childs bible, turning Christian tv or radio off that I listen to, deleting things ive recorded. In December he asked for a divorce and had me sectioned when I was well! Praying God will appear to him for a saul to Damascus conversion.

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